Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Same Name Game

Have any of you been noticing lately how many books have the same title? I was flipping through the September issue of Ebony magazine and saw that Walter Mosley's new Paris Minton/Fearless Jones novel will be out next month and is called Fear of the Dark. The title sounded so familiar. Then I remembered that another mystery writer, Gar Anthony Haywood's debut mystery, which introduced his stellar private eye Aaron Gunner, was also called Fear of the Dark.

Currently, I'm listening to the audio book for Jonathan Kellerman's latest Alex Delaware mystery called Gone, earlier this summer I listened to the audio book for Lisa Gardner's thriller also called Gone. As a matter of fact, I'm currently working on a thriller that was tentatively titled Gone. I've since changed the title.

Remember last summer when two books called Bliss were published? One by Danyel Smith and the other by Fiona Zedde? Two completely different books but with one thing in common. The female main characters of both books escape to an island paradise to seek answers to the problems plaguing their lives. And four years ago an author named Garbrielle Pina wrote a mystery also called Bliss. Don't know if an island was featured in that one.

Both of my books, The Company You Keep and Tangled Roots, share titles with other books. Author Neil Gordon's The Company You Keep was published in 2003 and is a about an ex sixties militant who's new identity is uncovered and goes on the lam for a long ago bank robbery. Mystery writer Taffy Cannon's book Tangled Roots was published in 1995 and is the second book in her series featuring trial lawyer Nan Robinson.

My editor came up with the title The Company You Keep, which was originally The Pleasure of His Company, and I came up with Tangled Roots, which had originally been The Braider's Tale. The original title for my third book, which is about the murder of an actress, was One Dead Diva. My editor thought it was too harsh so it was changed to Diva's Last Curtain Call. Personally, I suck when it comes to thinking up book titles. I wonder what authors and publishers would do if book titles were copyrighted? I guess we'd be forced to think more creatively.

Angela ; )


Shawn said...

Ok, I finished reading the company you keep (reference my comment on your myspace page) and enjoyed it much. I just had one small issue with something towards the end but I loved the book. It was such a good read I really hated to put it down each night.

Keep up the good work.

Angela Henry said...

Hey Shawn! Welcome to the blog. Thanks for stopping by. Glad to hear you enjoyed the book overall ; ).


Angela Too! said...

Okay. In regard to this posting specifically. You think same titles are something? How awful is it to have same COVERS!!!!!


Tastes Like Chicken by Lolita Files came out a few years ago and now Byron Harmon has released a book with the same cover called Crabs in a Barrel.

On top of THAT... a writer by the name of Symphony released a book title Crabs in a Barrel last year.

How bout that? feel free to use in a future blog or part two of this post! Nice post!

Dakota Knight said...

Hey, Angela, I actually like the title, One Dead Diva. Catchy. For my mystery-in-progress, I wanted to use the title, Perfect Stranger, until I looked on Amazon and saw how many Perfect Strangers there are out there! I haven't seen any books with the name of my upcoming book, SOLA, but I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Dakota Knight said...

Oh, and the cover thing is CRAZY! I've seen either covers or pictures sliced up from other covers on different books. Maybe now that people are talking about it, things will change.

Angela Henry said...

Angela & Dakota-

Hi. Actually, I was going to do an upcoming post on the cover thing, too. It's like publisher's art departments are all pulling from the same pile of stock photography. And even if it's not the exact same cover, it's the same themes over and over again. So far I've been lucky.

CaliReader said...

It really is getting disgusting. ARe the people publishing African American books lazy or just cheap? Because to add to what Angela too! said Marlon Sanders novel called The Other Man just came out with the same title as Chocolate Sangria by Tracy Price-Thompson.

I've heard that the African American imprints just buy stock art from a pool and don't even bother to check to see if it was previously purchased. Why is that?
It needs to be addressed because it's disrespectful to us as the consumer that they don't take the time or care to have original artwork on the cover.

It makes me wonder. And it makes me angry.

calireader said...

I'm sorry. Not the same title but the same COVER.

That is...

To add to what Angela too! said Marlon Sanders novel called The Other Man just came out with the same COVER as Chocolate Sangria by Tracy Price-Thompson.

I've seen this several times in African American books and it disgusts me.

Angela Henry said...

I knew I'd seen that cover before! I just couldn't remember where. Yes, it's a shame books can't get more original covers. One problem is most authors have no control over their covers. We have to take what's given to us.

Anonymous said...

No say?!?! On your own cover???? That's ludicrous. Your name is on the book. Wow.

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