Welcome, Jenna Grodzicki, author of WILD STYLE: AMAZING ANIMAL ADORNMENTS! When I first saw the book, my first thought was, great title! And that doesn’t come easy. It’s often the source of much agony for me. Here Jenna gives you a behind the scenes peek at how that title came to be.
AND Jenna is also offering a GIVEAWAY! Just leave a comment below for a chance to win a copy of the book.
Last week’s Giveaway winner of THE OCEAN CALLS is Traci Van Wagoner!
What’s in a Name?
By Jenna Grodzicki
Back in 2018, I came across a National Geographic article entitled “Natural Bling: 6 Amazing Animals That Decorate Themselves.” I was instantly intrigued. Questions fired through my mind. Which animals decorate themselves? Why do they do this? Why did I not know about this? Is there a picture book about these animals? I needed to know more.
Not too long after, I was chatting with my agent about some possible nonfiction ideas I’d been considering. When I mentioned the animals that decorate themselves, she encouraged me to pursue that right away.
Copious amounts of research and many drafts later, I had a manuscript I was excited about. I wrote about a crab that wears a sponge on its head to avoid being seen by predators. A squirrel that chews up shed rattlesnake skin and rubs the mush all over its body to mask its natural scent. And a bug that carries around a pile of dead ants like a backpack to help it sneak up on its prey.
I called the manuscript ANIMAL ACCESSORIES. The title seemed perfect, as it was about animals that accessorize in some way, and I loved the alliteration. My critique partners and my agent agreed it was ready for submission.
On New Year’s Day 2019, I received the news that Millbrook Press editorial director Carol Hinz was bringing my manuscript to acquisitions. And less than two weeks later, I received an offer. I was beyond thrilled! I already had one book with Millbrook Press, I SEE SEA FOOD: SEA CREATURES THAT LOOK LIKE FOOD, and the chance to work with them again was a dream come true.
There was one caveat to the offer. The team at the acquisitions meeting requested a title change. Generally speaking, this is not an unusual request. Many published books have different titles than what the authors originally had in mind. But the reason for the request left me speechless.
Carol’s email read, “For those coming to the book without knowledge of the subject matter, they said ANIMAL ACCESSORIES sounded like a book of accessories humans would wear that had been made from dead animals.” YIKES! That was NOT the image I wanted people to think of when they heard the name of my book.
Of course, I agreed that a change in title was needed. When I thought about it from their perspective, I could see how the team at Millbrook Press came to that conclusion. Several months and many brainstorming sessions later, my book had a new name. Carol Hinz suggested WILD STYLE: AMAZING ANIMAL ADORNMENTS, and I actually gasped when I read it. The first two words, WILD STYLE, capture the essence of the book perfectly. Now, I can’t imagine the book with any other title.
What is in a name? The power to draw readers in, or the power to turn them off completely. Choose wisely.
Jenna Grodzicki is the author of FINN FINDS A FRIEND (Clear Fork Publishing 2017), I SEE SEA FOOD: SEA CREATURES THAT LOOK LIKE FOOD (Millbrook Press 2019), WILD STYLE: AMAZING ANIMAL ADORNMENTS (Millbrook Press 2020), HARMONY HUMBOLT: PERFECT PETS QUEEN (Clear Fork Publishing 2021), and several books for the educational market. She lives on beautiful Cape Cod with her husband, two crazy awesome kids, and three fur babies. Visit her online at www.jennagrodzicki.com.
Don’t forget to leave a comment below for a chance to win a copy of WILD STYLE! [Continental US addresses only, please. Drawing next Friday!]