Help Me! I Need to Choose a Title.

This post is a bit off subject, in that it relates to my first book, but I am posting it because I need some advice – and soon!

From almost day one I had a working title for my first book that I thought I was happy with. The publisher has told me that they have reservations about it – namely that it is a bit old-fashioned. Unfortunately we haven’t come up with an alternative title that fits the tone and content of the story, and has mass market appeal.

The book is a 44,000 word humorous adventory story aimed at boys in the age group 9-11 years.

Here is the book blurb: “When Michael finds a strange object buried in his garden, he unwittingly uses it to implant a hostile alien life form into his grandmother’s body. Michael must convince his friend Elvis that there really is something wrong with Grandma and enlist his help to thwart an evil alien plan and rescue Grandma before time runs out for them all.”

My title for this story was, “How I Alienated my Granny.”

The other suggestions for this book have been:

  • My Granny, the Alien
  • Invasion of the Granny Snatchers
  • Granny and the Space Invaders
  • The Adventures of Mike and Elvis: Granny vs The Aliens
  • My Grandma is an Alien (discounted because it has already been used)
  • Aliens Stole my Granny

The things that I think my title needs to have are:

  1. Boy appeal – which translates roughly to using an action or boy interest word in there.
  2. Reflect the humour and adventure in the story

Please tell me which title you prefer or suggest your own in the poll below. And thanks for your help!


7 thoughts on “Help Me! I Need to Choose a Title.

  1. Hi Suzanne,

    It strikes me from the content that you need to discount some of the suggestions for obvious reasons.

    ‘How I Alienated my Granny – would have adult appeal, but not the age group who wouldn’t understand the play on words. I do love it though.

    My Granny, the Alien – Good

    Invasion of the Granny Snatchers – The blurb doesn’t really talk about Invasion or granny snatchers, so not 100% keen on this one.

    Granny and the Space Invaders – Similar argument, space invaders is different to Granny invaders.

    The Adventures of Mike and Elvis: Granny vs The Aliens – Long and a bit boring. Change it around, may be better.

    Granny vs The Aliens: The adventures of Mike and Elvis

    My Grandma is an Alien (discounted because it has already been used)

    Aliens Stole my Granny – But technically they didn’t steal her.

    You could try:
    Aliens Invaded My Granny: My fault!
    Granny Invaders: And it’s my Granny.
    I made My Granny an Alien – Possible, although I feel it’s a bit long, and it doesn’t give the essence of the story.

    Book titles are so hard, especially when you are aiming it to children. Anyway, there are my ideas.

  2. Titles are so hard! I totally can relate to this issue. I like your original idea…but can see why the publisher had issues for that age group. Do you think that “Granny” is better than “Grandma”? I know very few kids who use “Granny” these days…

  3. granny and the space invaders is most interesting to me. maybe some adjective before ‘granny’ to entice boys that this won’t be your typical granny story.

    remember the movie title: Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead

    i’m sure it wasn’t the first title, but this one won the teen boy fans (well, it also starred Christina Applegate) too.

    best of luck

    • Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. I had a discussion with the publisher and they have discounted any of the titles that imply that Grandma is the principle character. She is in fact the main antagonist and in some ways a secondary character. They have taken into account a number of comments such as Gretchen’s here, that the term ‘Granny’ isn’t used much now. With the book out next month (April) we are back to using a modified version of the working title ‘How I Alienated my Grandma’.

      There was some good feedback that the ‘How I or how to…’ type titles have been popular, e.g. How to train your dragon, How I Met your Mother, etc

      I guess we will see how it goes. The good thing about being in the digitial age is that it is relatively easy to change things later on if they don’t work out.

  4. I’m behind the times answering this post, and I’m terrible with titles, so why am I commenting? In the US, a title with Elvis automatically says “slightly bizarre and probably funny”. No disrespect to your supporting character. Personally, I would consider something ambiguous with Elvis like, “Granny, the Alien, Elvis, and Me.” OK, that’s awful, but you get the idea. ‘Hope it sparks something for you.

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