In Search of Title
Written by
Nino Gugunishvili
January 2020
Written by
Nino Gugunishvili
January 2020

       The book is finally written, read, edited, proofread, edited again but the title?  The one you had and        considered brilliant, suddenly seems wrong, so cliché and plain, you start frantically searching for the new one, examining the books you love in hope of getting a hint, but in vain. All the good titles are already taken, printed on appealing, beautifully designed glossy covers, perfectly matching the essence of the stories, urging you to grab these books and start reading them all at once. You’re jealous! Can’t someone come up with your book title for you? Just for once? Not long, not very short, either, not pretentious, and not too simple? Please?! Your muse waives you an elegant goodbye, blows you a kiss and flies away to a long awaited winter vacation to somewhere unidentifiable, leaving you lost, angry and drenched.

       Searching for your own book title can be nerve-wrecking I must say, because A) No one knows what  your book is about better than you, and B) If you’ve chosen a self-publishing route, you don’t have a team of publishers, editors and experienced marketers behind. Truth is you’re on your very own. You’ll learn great many things along the way, and prepare yourself for small triumphs and bigger setbacks, but before you hit the ‘publish’ button you’ll need a title.  

    For my debut novel, I came up with the title by the end of writing it, and for me it was a perfect match with the story.  Friday Evening, Eight O’Clock summed up everything that was happening in that book; it symbolized the lifestyle of the characters, and the many adventures they found themselves into. But, Friday Evening, Eight O’Clock was fiction, whereas my yet untitled new book was a mix of semiautobiographical short stories/essays. Part fiction, part creative nonfiction, it was on the verge of genres, and was much more personal. The first and only title I had was: Everything Personal, but the more I thought about it, said it out loud, or wrote it, the more I didn’t like it. It sounded too self-centered, and way too narcissistic.

    I continued searching for the new one, but nothing better than the first version came to my mind. I imagined my muse sending me a postcard from a snowy French Alpes, with a laughing grimace. The search for title continued with no tangible results, until one night, in a reoccurring dream my deceased father told me again, one simple phrase, which was: ‘You will have a black Labrador’.  

    I first saw that dream long before I started writing the new book, last March precisely, and convinced my friend to get a chocolate brown Labrador-Retriever shortly afterwards. Then I wrote the story about her getting a dog and included it into my new and nakedly untitled book, thinking that was it, the story was there, told, ready for someone to be read. But for almost a year I was seeing that dream and hearing that phrase again and again until it didn’t finally downed on me, that I had a title!

    Don’t be misguided; You Will Have a Black Labrador is not a book solely about dogs. It’s about growing up into who you are, through childhood, it’s a tiny tribute to the people surrounding you during various important stages of your life, and I also think it’s about love, loss and hope and yes, it’s about everything personal.

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  • Your title both intrigued me and made me laugh out loud! I pictured it as the magical message you discovered when cracking open a crisp a fortune cookie.