Before deciding on The Vegas Diaries as the title for my new book, I had trouble thinking of options that appropriately captured the story. Here are a few of the titles that didn’t make the cut:
1. Booze, Boys and Bad Decisions
I absolutely loved this one, but felt like I couldn’t get away with it. If a comedian used that title, it would make sense. The average reader would probably think: Here’s a bunch of fun stories about crazy nights out and lessons learned while dating and being single . . . and they won’t be too serious, because, hey,she’s trying to be funny. She is a comedian after all. I don’t feel like it would have worked out that way for me, though. Maybe I’m paranoid and let haters into my head too much, but I felt like people would see the title with my name attached and think, Oh my god, what a slut! She’s acting like a victim! She’s blaming boys for all her problems! And now we know she’s a raging alcoholic, too! Of course, my intention was always for the title to be tongue-in-cheek, but I just felt like at the end of the day, it wouldn’t go over. Sometimes I feel like people think I’m incapable of ever having a sense of humor and that everything I say is SO SERIOUS. It’s funny how everyone has different ways of interpreting things and how delicate communication really is.
2. Diary of a Neurotic, or Emo Spew
No, I didn’t seriously consider either of those titles but they went through my head during my least confident phases in the writing process. I’ve heard several writers say that they go through mood swings through the duration of a project. At certain points during the writing process, they’ll be really enthusiastic about what they are doing, while other times massive self doubt will creep in. I definitely went on that roller coaster with this book. I saw it so many different ways. When I was enthusiastic, I thought of The Vegas Diaries as a story or a journey. When I was having doubts, all I could see were the parts of the manuscript where I was pondering my feelings or musing about why I did what I did. I started to wonder, Why am I putting this out there? It’s too personal! Who will want to read this anyway? Maybe it’s only interesting to me, or this book is completely self-indulgent! I don’t think I’m the only writer to feel that way about his/her work, but that doesn’t make me any less nervous.
3. If I Only had a Date
This was the title used for the book’s proposal a that was submitted last year. It tapped into the Wizard of Oz theme I wanted to use and fit the earliest concept. Back then, I was thinking of writing a “dating book” that was kind of the anti-dating book. A bit of that still survives in one of the chapters of The Vegas Diaries, a chapter where I try to put to use the advice given in some of the most popular dating books, and how it failed miserably. I almost immediately went in a different direction when I started working on the book. I felt like a chapter-by-chapter account of romantic misadventures had been done (My Horizontal Life, Drinking and Dating, etc.) and I didn’t really feel good about it, or frankly, like I even had enough material for fourteen chapters. Since the slant of the dating idea had never really about the boys, anyway (it was about my own personal blunders and what I learned from each relationship) I changed it to something more real and less concept driven, which is the story of me finding my self-sufficiency and rediscovering my identity after getting out of a long relationship. Another reason I didn’t think the title would work is that because I am married now, it would be weird to be out promoting a book called If I Only Had a Date. I felt like it would sound like I am still desperately looking for one!
4. Beach Read
I didn’t really want to call it Beach Read, but that was a thought that flew into my head when I was frustrated and couldn’t think of a title I liked. Fun, escapist books are promoted as “beach reads”, especially if they are released in summertime. It’s a term I like a whole lot better than “chick-lit” which is so sexist it makes me cringe.
5. Having it All
The thing we all strive for, but no one really achieves all at once. Except maybe J-Lo. She has something like 5 jobs, twins, a cute boyfriend, and is hotter at 45 than she was at 25. But for the rest of us mere mortals, it’s more like, you can have it all, just not all at once. In my case, I can look back at particular moments covered in The Vegas Diaries and say, ‘wow, I had everything I could have possibly wanted at that moment, but I was still unsatisfied and looking for problems!’ Our consumer driven culture programs us that way. Everything isn’t enough.
6. The Showgirl Diaries
I thought this sounded vaguely racy, yet kind of retro and quaint at the same time. However, everyone seems to have a different idea of what “showgirl”means, so that one didn’t make the cut.
Because it seems like all the characters in this book are drinking, all the time. Don’t hate. It’s Vegas.