A Surprising Measure of Subliminal Sadness

Stata in velvet

Probable book cover for Welcome to…(copyright my brother, Richard Shandross)

I awoke yesterday thinking about my book title. For ages I’ve thought about, dreamed about, knew I would call it “Welcome to the Sickhouse.” Then suddenly, I had another idea.

My story Welcome to the Sickhouse always seemed a natural title for the book. But naming your book after a story requires that the story be, if not the best, then close to it. Was it? Frankly, I’m not sure it is. Besides, the word “sick” suddenly started to make me feel, well, uh, kind of queasy. ☺

I think I have a bunch of good titles in my book, but again, were any among them the best? I’m too close to judge. And my writer friends all have their favorites – but none of them are the same story. What to do?

I decided to forget the titles and instead look inside the stories. One line. That’s all I needed. Just one line that would make a good book title.

I scanned story after story. Then, lying inside one story called Last Call, was a description of one of the main characters: a lesbian who the waitresses call JD because that is one of the two drinks she always orders. And “when she had too much to drink of either, a set of deeply recessed lines around her startling sea-green eyes, along with a surprising measure of subliminal sadness, rose abruptly to the surface.”


Possible book cover for A Surprising Measure….

And there it was, my new title: “A Surprising Measure of Subliminal Sadness”

Would you be intrigued? Would you look inside?

I need feedback. I’ve asked these same writing friends (who all have different favorite stories in my book), but only one answered, as I think the others are simply too busy writing to look at their emails. ☺

So opinions please! Welcome to the Sickhouse, or A Surprising Measure of Subliminal Sadness? Would of either of these titles make you want to buy the book?

35 thoughts on “A Surprising Measure of Subliminal Sadness

  1. A Surprising Measure of Subliminal Sadness would garner my attention. I’m so looking forward to reading it!

  2. “A Surprising Measure of Subliminal Sadness” – good title. Then your first sentence has to be a mind-catcher – I read the first sentence and decide there and then whether to read on or put it back on the shelf.

  3. PS I like your idea of using a line from the interior.
    Alanis Morrisette did so with her incredible album titled “Jagged Little Pill” – a line from within, not a song title.

    From: Nancy Gronlund
    Sent: Monday, June 17, 2013 9:05 AM
    To: ‘s.j. powers’
    Subject: RE: [New post] A Surprising Measure of Subliminal Sadness

    I like, simply, “A Surprising Measure.”

  4. Not knowing anything about your book makes it difficult to choose a title. But A Surprising Measure of Subliminal Sadness is very intriguing. Makes me curious to know more.

    • Thanks for letting me know Eliz! Maybe because it’s a new title I’m liking it more than my previous title – and I’ve gone through a few in the past – but it does seem to have grabbed attention.

    • Interesting. Thanks for your suggestion!
      I’m keeping my options open. But so far the new title seems to be the fav. Now if only I’d put out several options…..oh well.

  5. I, like Kelly, was scrolling down my FB page and saw the title to the blog. I had to stop and read more. The title certainly drew me in.

  6. Wow yes. I know that because when scrolling through my Facebook I saw the title of the blog post and was immediately intrigued to read said post. I have not read all the stories of your book but the title sure reeled me in here!

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