Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

Crap! My new book’s title is dead in the water!


I should have known some famous creep would nab it before I could get my novel out! Zach Braff, director of Garden State, has a new project called “Wish I Was Here.” I’m crushed.

At least my title is the more grammatically correct, “Wish I WERE Here” (proper use of the subjunctive mood, Zach; get with it!).

Since the villain here is a movie, a narrative, and not something like a painting or song, and since it’s current, I think I need to come up with something else.

Any ideas?


20 comments on “Crap! My new book’s title is dead in the water!

  1. ioniamartin
    June 24, 2014

    There are so many book titles and movie titles that are exactly the same or very similar out there, I’m not sure it would matter. Actually, it might help people find your book in search results. Not your fault if they make an error whilst searching:)

    • Kevin Brennan
      June 24, 2014

      I think I’d worry that I’d get a cease and desist claiming I was using the movie as a marketing vehicle. Or that I was creating the impression that this is a novelization of the movie. Tricky stuff…

  2. Charles Yallowitz
    June 24, 2014

    Was going to make the same point that Ionia made. Since you aren’t using fictional words and an identical plot/characters/setting, there shouldn’t be a problem.

    • Kevin Brennan
      June 24, 2014

      Shouldn’t, but we have to anticipate the worst. I don’t want to get my butt sued!

      • Charles Yallowitz
        June 24, 2014

        You know I have 3 songs on my Ipod entitled ‘Numb’. One by P!nk, one by Disturbed, and one by Linkin Park. Only if the title has an exact name or place (fictional usually) can a lawsuit happen. At least that’s what I’ve been told.

      • Kevin Brennan
        June 24, 2014

        There’s the legal thing, but there’s also the impression people would have that I swiped the title. You wouldn’t name a book “Game of Thrones” would you? (Or any variation thereof…)

      • Charles Yallowitz
        June 24, 2014

        Good point.

  3. sknicholls
    June 24, 2014

    Tittles aren’t subject to copyright law. You could take that title, or worse, after you publish, someone else could take that title. Sucks. I know you wanted to be unique.

  4. 1WriteWay
    June 24, 2014

    If your novel was titled Game of Thrones or Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, I’d say you have a problem. But Wish I Were Here? Would Pink Floyd sue you because it sounds similar to Wish You Were Here? I’ve seen books with the same exact titles (Relentless, for example). Is your plot anything like Zach Braff’s movie? If the only thing you guys have in common is the title, and the title is not exact, do you really think Braff would give you a hard time? I know I’m not being helpful and I suppose you could sue me if you take my advice and then Zach Braff sues you … but then we would all boycott his film for him being such an ass.

    If you really feel you need to change the title of your novel, then comb through and find another phrase from the book (I’m assuming that “wish I were here” is in literally in the novel) that could encapsulate it. The first time you mentioned the title, I immediately thought of Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here, not because I thought you might be ripping it off, but because the sentiment is so intriguing. I’d hate to see you give up that title.

    • Kevin Brennan
      June 24, 2014

      You know, I don’t mind someone making a connection with Pink Floyd. It’s different when someone goes, “Oh, he ripped off Zach Braff.” I can’t handle that!

      It’s really not a legal issue, the more I think about it. It’s more of a “what do potential readers think when they see this title?” thing. More people will see this movie than will encounter my book, so the deck is stacked here.

      As for combing through the book, ironically “Wish I Were Here” does not appear in the text, and the text doesn’t seem to be coughing up a lot of alternatives. Sue and I are brainstorming. Lots of good titles are already taken…

      • 1WriteWay
        June 25, 2014

        Stranger Than Fiction … oh, wait, that’s been taken. I am no help. I’m lousy with titles. I just read your one-line description of the novel on Susan Toy’s website. So the protagonist is aware of being in a novel. Is she aware immediately, or does it slowly dawn on her? How about something like, I Start Here … I like short titles. They are easy to remember and leave something to the imagination. Anyway, good luck and I don’t blame you for not wanting any mistaken association with Braff 😉

      • Kevin Brennan
        June 25, 2014

        I agree about short titles. I’d take a one-word title if I could come up with just the right one. Futility? Mired? Moribund? (My mood is showing…)

  5. Phillip McCollum
    June 24, 2014

    Well my vote is for “Bacon Wishes and Ham Hock Dreams” but I really have no idea what the book is about.. am I close??

  6. P. C. Zick
    June 25, 2014

    I agree if it’s only one that close, you should go ahead with yours. It’s when there are so many, your title gets buried in the search results.

  7. ericjbaker
    June 25, 2014

    Ready? I give you this for free:

    You Are (not) Here

    Not bad, eh? More marketable too.

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This entry was posted on June 24, 2014 by in Writing.
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