About Me

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Victoria, Australia
I am an author of Young Adult Fiction books. I worked as a teacher in the Pacific Islands for seven years. Whilst in the Solomon Islands I taught PSSC English before the ethnic tension in 2000 forced a change of plans. I love Pacific literature, art and music. You can find me on Facebook at Beth Montgomery Author.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Misleading titles

I recently borrowed a book from the library because I thought the title fitted the theme of this blog perfectly. The book is called Tuvalu and it won the Australian Vogel Literary Award a few years ago. The story is about a young man teaching English in Japan and having problems with his love life. 

Tuvaluan kids. Source:anniekatec.blogspot.com
     I was disappointed to find that the topic of Tuvalu, a string of islands in the Pacific, doesn't even come up until page 243. Even then, it's only to refer to it as one of the main character's dream destinations, a place she realises she'll probably never visit. I was horrified that this proud little nation could have it's name used in such a trivial way. What a misleading title! Why not call the book Australia, seeing as it was set in Japan? It makes just as much sense.
   So how do titles come about? Often what the author has as the title gets altered during the publishing process. My book The Birthmark had the working title Lilith, but the publishers weren't keen on this and changed the title and name of the protagonist. This is quite common.
   Titles can be derived from a phrase in the text such as with Once Were Warriors, or can be the name of a place or object that is prominent in the story. But however they are derived, publishers try to get the best title out there to attract sales. It's as simple as that.
   When you're writing a story for an assignment, often the title is something you worry over. Don't! Just get on with the story and come back to the title at the end. Then the title may be more obvious. Oh, and try not to make the title too misleading.


  1. Don't you know that the government of Tuvalu has requested the government of Australia to MOVE the whole population of Tuvalu to live in Australia, as they think their islands are going under water due to climate change.

    Australia helps people requiring urgent assistance, but why should Australia with only a small population of 20 million people accept the WHOLE population of islanders who have their OWN culture.

    Its not only Tuvalu, the government of "the Maldives" also requested the same thing for the same reason. "the Maldives" has a very strict "Muslim culture", why would Australia want to accept 250,000 strict Muslim islanders?

  2. An interesting comment but it's not relevant to the post which was about misleading book titles.