Thursday, May 17, 2012

give me a title and i will shoot you.

My Ma, the gloriously white-haired woman I'm often with, used to ask me, "Is that a threat or a promise?"
Hopefully this post is the latter. But either way, I want to walk away from this post with a title and I need your help. So threat or promise, I will shoot you if you're the one to help me.

Here's my BIG-O PROBLEMO: I have a book I want to query, but I have NO title. I used to have the world's greatest title, but then another author who is far cooler and better paid than I had an epiphany to use a title that's just like mine. She has an agent. I don't. 

So I need a title. 

Here's the DEAL-O: If you provide a title that I like the most, I will shoot you. (See pic below. That's my best Shooter McGavin.) I am offering a free headshot photo shoot to the one person that provides me a new title for the book that I describe below. 
Enter as many times as you like. I'll pick a title in one week. Hopefully it will be yours. If it is, you win the shoot. If you live out of state, you can schedule your head shot for when I'm in your neck of the woods, or you can fly to Utah. Or, be generous and give away your prize. It's up to you.

My Book in a NUTSHELL-O: 
Seventeen-year-old Milla spent the last eleven years at the Youth Training Facility--a private school that prepares kids to become CIA operatives. But when she fails the CIA entrance exam, she's devastated to find out she's going to be Released to live as a Civilian. A nightmare, since the only home she's ever known is with the CIA.
When a face from the past shows up and offers Milla a place in the DOA, a deep-cover operation for the Department of Defense, she signs up. The catch is she isn't one of the team until she passes Induction--training for all new recruits. Sounds easy enough until missions go awry and training kicks her butt, as well as breaks a few bones. To make matters worse, Milla finds herself in the middle of a mole hunt. She must figure out who she can and can't trust at the DOA Compound, and how the hot combat trainer is involved in all the mole mystery, before she's Released from the program, or worse, her life is compromised.

**The old title was: Deceive Me (Which is too similar to Shatter Me and Destroy Me)

DISCLAIMER-O: In the off chance I have an epiphany of my own and come up with my own title, I'll still choose the title I like second best to my own. Then that person will still win! 

Thank you!


Weaver said...

What an interesting story premise.

You can't say what your original title was? Would it be possible to add another word to it or drop a word from it, so it wasn't identical?

I started school in a DOD school in Seoul, Korea. DOA made me think "dead on arrival". lol

Iain said...

Initial thoughts are...
1) The best book you'll ever read, so buy it now as it's written by Erin!
Hmm... not sure if that's too long. if so, how about the following:
2) The spy within.
3) Spy v Spy
4) A mole in sheep's clothing
5) DOA: The Freshman.
6) Spyschool: Graduation day.

Deana said...

Oh crap this is hard! I stink at titles. Let's see...
School of Hard Knocks...well maybe not
What about: False Impressions

Told you I stink:) Good luck!

Cathy said...

Erin, I checked the thesaurus for names that mean the same thing as mole. So here are some titles that could work and mean the same thing.

1. Sleeper
2. Watcher

Then there's using the mole itself in
3. To Find a Mole
and my kids suggested
4. Whack a Mole

Skippy Bo Bippy said...

There are some good buzzwords in your description, 'Induction', 'Release'.. can I assume that those are out? Cause I think Induction is sorta cool on it's own.

Since it's a YA thriller/mystery/romance (I'm guessing there's romance).. most books in that genre are short titles it seems.

I'd venture something like those 2 I already mentioned, (Induction), (Release), and then maybe (Spycraft) or (The Recruited)

Jennie Bennett said...

I'm with Deana, way way hard. Hummm.. it depends on the feel you want but it could be something like Mila and the DOA (probably too cutesy) or Homeland security and the giant mole.

I am really bad at this. Okay, one more - The truth about (insert really cool phrase here.) okay I give up...

Laura said...

1. Lost Defenses
2. Course Adjustment
3. In Spy of Everything
4. Training for the Impossible
5. Blood, Sweat and School

i'm erin. said...

Iain, I just laughed out loud at the "Mole in sheep's clothing." Great suggestions.

Kevin, I like Induction a lot.

writing and living by Richard P Hughes said...

Milla's Deceit

Jessie Humphries said...

Wow, Erin, spies creep me out. Good luck with that! ;)

Sara B. Larson said...

So, does that mean it's ready to send out?? You finished your edits? Way to go!

Hmmm, titles. There are some good ideas here already.
How about:



The Initiate


um... I've only had 3 hours of sleep. I'll keep thinking. ;)

Unknown said...

I like



DOA: INDUCTION (if you are going with a series)

Good luck finding the right title!

prerna pickett said...

this is way hard...What about The Operative Within?

Angela Brown said...

A title for a book about a spy's life gone awry, hard, especially since being a spy is all she knows. It's like her life is like one moment of deceitful devouring after another.

Okay, so here are my attempts:
Dying to Deceive
Living to Lie
No Truth for Spy Lives
Second Chance at Death
Spy, Lie, Love
Milla: The Unauthorized Journals of a Spy
Devouring: Consumed by Lies

Yeah, okay...that was hard so I can see how you're going to have your hands full coming up with a great, catchy title. I love what your story is about.

Jenny S. Morris said...

I've got nothing. LOL. I like Induction or Released. Released because she was released from the CIA and if she doesn't pass induction she'll be released again.

Jenny S. Morris said...

OH and Kick-Ass story premised. LOVE it.

Melanie Fowler said...

Oh, you books sounds fantastic! :) Here are some ideas, I'm not going to lie, I kinda like the mole idea, but here are a bunch, just for you.

1. The Mole in DOA
2. Mole or Death
3. Kicking the Deceiver
4. Betrayal in the DOA
5. Mole Spy
6. Spy Deceiver
7. Operative Milla

If I think of any more I'll let you know :) Good luck!

Patti said...

Okay I totally suck at titles, but how about Under cover, or Under ground

Katie Dodge said...

Here's mine:

Operation Induction

I feel like I could pick a better title if I had read your book.So send it to me. :)

Amanda Olivieri said...

It's been said already, but I like Released :D

Leslie said...

ha ha, love the whack a mole idea!

Okay, I don't think there's any possible way I'm gonna come up with anything better than what's been posted already so here are my idea blips:

Deceive me once...
The Spy Life
Dying to Spy
The Deception of My Life
The Beginning of Deception
Beginning of Betrayal

Seriously, that's a tough one. Good luck!

Jeigh said...

Gah, Kevin and James totally beat me to it! I like INDUCTION or DOA. Or how about just THE ERIN SUMMERILL BOOK OF AWESOME! Pretty sure that would sell like hotcakes.

Jeff Hargett said...

This is tough without having read the book. Often, good titles come from quotes or prose contained within the pages. However, here's a few to ponder if you choose.

Deception's Snare
A Clandestine Affair
Innocence Recruited
From Six to Spy
Agent of Innocence
The Merits of Deception

I'd love to keep going because dreaming up titles is fun, but I've got to get back to work.

Good luck!!

Ru said...

Oh jeez, people have already said INDUCTION. I also liked RELEASED, but I'm a big fan of one-word titles for some reason. (Plus, won't it be fun to say RELEASED is released? No?)

Also, the song I'm listening to just said "boom boom," which I will take as a sign that you should title your book BOOM. Thanks, universe.

Cassie Mae said...

How about, "I Can't Think of a Title, But Read My Book Anyway."

No? ;)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I think the Whack a Mole should win!
Sorry, you're asking the guy who couldn't come up with a title for his second book. (My publisher had to name it.)

Unknown said...

Redbirds' Release

Unknown said...

Redbirds' Flight

Unknown said...

Code Name: Redbird

Tara Tyler said...

Living with Disappointment





The Alternate

Plan B

I could go on and on, like a program! yes, me nerdy!
and you already owe me a headshot, ha ha! jk!
have most awesome weekend, erin-son!

Tara Tyler said...

wait! those above are really good! gave me a couple more ideas

Spy or Die

Unintentional Spy

A Change of Plans

Last Chance

ok, thats enough. good luck!

Charlie N. Holmberg said...

All right, I did a little brainstorming based on your nutshell-pitch, and now you get to sort through my brain vomit. Hopefully something might trigger a better title in your own head! (Though If you chat with me about your book for five minutes, I bet I could come up with more/better titles!

The Deceived
Deep Secrets
Uncommon Ties
Lies Beneath
(an) Unlikely Intelligence
Deadly Chances
The Secret(s) of Rats
Armed and Almost
There Lies Deception
Second-hand Meat

Carrie Butler said...

Whoa. What a great concept, Erin! :D Hmm..

- Classified
- On the Inside
- Of Dates & Deception

Lan said...

Why is it that as writer's we can spill out a 100,000 word book but always seem to get stuck on the title? There are some great suggestions above. I'm not good at titles either but here are a few I can think of:

1. Catch and Compromised
2. Set Me Free (A play on the CIA's motto)
3. Caliber (I assume there's lots of gun play?)

Hmm if I think of any more I'll let you know!

Allyson Condie said...

Um, I totally want to win this, because I need you to shoot my family (since we have a new addition and need a new pic to go in Mark's awesome frame). Also, if I don't win, can I book you anyway??

While I like THE INDUCTION (sounds like she's off to be induced to have a baby!), here are my other suggestions:



Sounds like a great story, by the way!!

Allyson Condie said...

Okay, a couple more:



Emily R. King said...

I can't think of a title for you, but I had to tell you I LOVE your pics. Next time I'm in Utah, you're doing my head shots, babe. Done and done!

Ruth Josse said...

Oh, it's so hard to know without reading the book! I mean, does it have a fun voice? Then I'd suggest something like, SPY SCHOOL DROPOUT or something like that. If it's an all out thriller then maybe something like, INITIATION. Good luck my dear!

Madalyn said...

Here goes nothing:

The Lost One
A Life of Lies
The Taste of Deceit (instead of "defeat" ;))

That's all I've got at the moment.

Aquamarine Amethyst said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aquamarine Amethyst said...

This book sounds amazing! my title ideas are:

1. Milla, Deceived
2. Secret Agent Milla
3. From CIA to DOA
4. Project Milla

If I come up with anything else I will do a new post. Good luck with getting published!

Precy Larkins said...

Man, I stink at titles. So I'm not going to contribute. I'm just gonna say GOOD LUCK! And your new profile pic is LOVELY! :)

Iain said...

Just had another thought...
Spyral of deceit.

Angela Cothran said...

It took me two freaking years to name my MS! I'll probably be bad at this :)

Deep Cover
I Spy
Cut and Run

LOL! This is so hard.

Stevee Nini said...

-Don't Be Deceived

-Going Astray


Unknown said...

Hey- I'm from Authors' Think Tank. Love your premise. Very cool! Someone might have mentioned it already, but I like RELEASED. Good luck to you!

Kevin and Robin said...

Can't wait for it to be published! I read a couple suggestions for "Induction." That makes me think of labor and delivery. Maybe it's just a phase of life I'm in.
What about:
1. Code M (for Milla)
2. ...
3. ???
Can't think of anything else. Good luck!!

Shallee said...

I'm crap at coming up with titles. I don't have anything to give you, I'm afraid, but you've got some great suggestions. Your story sounds really fun!

Adia Thonton said...

I was thinking of a couple titles based on the deception aspect

1) So the Truth Will Be Revealed
2) In the Shadows
3) Hide and Seek
4) Non-Disclosure
5) Shadows
6) The Hunt
7) Man Hunt

I hope you like one and good luck I'll be excited to read the book.

Small Town Shelly Brown said...

How I Failed my CIA Exams and Still Saved the World
(too long? ;)

Induction (but I'm sure that's already been said)

Sleeping with the Sleeper (that was just to make you laugh, did it work?)

The Operative Word

Catch the Redbird (I have no idea why Jennie said Redbird but I'm gonna go with it)

Wrapped in Lies

Deception Training

DOA School

I'm not particularly good at this. Not when I started looking at all the great suggestions you already have.

Janet Johnson said...

Ooh, I'm terrible at titles too. I liked INDUCTION until I read what Allyson Condie said about pregnancy. Yep, now the title is ruined for me.

So hmmm . . . UNCOVER or maybe combine a couple above . . . OPERATION WHACK-A-MOLE but that probably sounds too humorous. Did anyone say THE RECRUIT?

Anyway, best of luck finding a title you like!

Ticklemedana said...



the Rookie


Leslie said...

Since you haven't blogged in a while and we need more Erin randomness, I nominated you for a Stylish blogger award!

Stacy Henrie said...

Don't know if you're still taking title nominees but here's a couple more.

To Catch a Spy
Spy Hunt
How to Catch a Spy
My Life as a Secret Agent
Deceive Me Not

melissa stephens said...

Hey Erin,
love the story can't wait for it to come out.
how about Programmed, no return, or subterfuge

Robin said...

Great premise!

Someone already said it, but Induction could be a great title. Off the top of my head:

Mole Hunt
Spy Girl
Deep Cover
Espionage 101

Elana Johnson said...

I still think you can use your other title. I mean, seriously. And hey, there's nothing wrong with invoking a well-known title and riding that wave...

And you make a great Shooter, girl! said...

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