I recently discovered a literary work with the same title as mine, Shadows of Valor. I knew other books existed, however, that had duplicate titles on them, and that it wasn’t an uncommon occurrence. Here are a few examples I know of:
-Labyrinth by A.C.H. Smith from the 1986 movie, and Labyrinth, the medieval France tale by Kate Mosse
There are even books (probably more so) with similar enough titles to cause some confusion:
-The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare vs. Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin and Winter's Tales by Isak Dineson
I could go on, but that would be boring since there are oodles of examples. I knew it was no one’s fault the books shared titles, as in my personal situation. Sometimes the coincidences just happen. A title can make or break a book, or movie for that matter. Just look at the film “John Carter.” Abundant reviews stated that the action-packed, sci-fi movie would have done better at the box office had it simply been given a different name. Some people may say, “Who cares about the title?” or “It’s not that big a deal,” but it really is . . . to an author, anyway. Some authors spend hours, days, months, even years, rolling around different titles until deciding on the “one” they feel will attract and appeal to readers, making them pick the book out from countless others, turn to the first page and be hooked until the end (or so authors hope). Such was how I felt about my title, “Shadows of Valor.” I LOVED IT, and still do. I also believed it was unique and distinct, something no one else claimed. Until recently.
This situation of dual stories claiming a single name opened up a slew of questions for me to consider as well as deciding on one of two options: Change my title or leave it alone. Should I keep it the same and hope people don’t get the two books mixed up? Would changing the title lose some of my fan base? Should I add a subtitle to my original, thus keeping it basically the same? Do I change it completely so it retains NO remnant of the original, distancing it as much as possible from the other author’s work? Do I just change one word in the title, keeping half of it the same? Would that be equally confusing? And thinking of the work involved in just amending the title . . . I’d have to change it with my publisher, on my manuscript, in any announcements made, on my music, e-mails, Facebook, blog, biographies, twitter, and share it word of mouth. HEADACHE!
With all this said, and after tireless thought and consideration, I’ve decided to keep my original title, SHADOWS OF VALOR, even though it now shares the name with another.
Patricia Hamill’s “Shadows of Valor” is a 142-page self-published story on Amazon/Kindle, and mine is over 300 pages being published by Jolly Fish Press. Hamill’s book is of the sci-fi/fantasy genre as opposed to my historical fiction. Hamill’s plot and story content don’t match mine in the least, so there is much to differentiate them by. Even though Ms. Hamill’s book came available in October 2012, mine was announced by Jolly Fish Press June 1, 2012. I mean no disrespect or degradation to Ms. Hamill for these comparisons. I merely mean to separate our books for those searching the title. I’m sure she wouldn’t want her fans mixing her story up with mine either. Who knows, maybe this situation of twin titles will benefit us both in some way or another.
SHADOWS OF VALOR, a medieval fiction by Elsie Park (that’s me *smile*), is slated for release September 7, 2013 from Jolly Fish Press.