Acropolis Now

Back when we were searching for a title for the first book, one of the more demented suggestions came from my friend, the gloriously inventive Stuart Neville, who I'll note in passing is the author of the excellent paranormal thriller The Ghosts of Belfast.

Stuart suggested we call it Acropolis Now. When we finished laughing, we realized Acropolis Now was brilliant, original, amusing, and had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the book. Still we thought his idea was so funny, we took it to the Powers That Rule The Universe, which means the editors.

Here's what happened with Acropolis Now (I've pulled this from a comment in a post of about 2 months ago):

The Scene: Janet (agent), Kathleen (editor), Keith (executive editor and He Who Pays For Lunch), and I are standing outside a Greek (of course) restaurant in New York.

Janet: We have a brilliant title idea for the book.

Keith: Tell me the title.

Janet: Acropolis Now.

Keith:
(manic laughter) NO!

So it was with some amusement that I received an email from Keith just now, suggesting we look at the cover of the current issue of The Economist.




All right, I admit it looks better on their cover than it would have on ours. Also, on theirs it actually makes sense. Nice to see Acropolis Now got up somewhere.


28 comments:

David J. West said...

I still think I could have liked it with fiction.

Amalia T. said...

Hahaha! It makes for a very dramatic article title, that's for sure.

Gary Corby said...

David, in fact there used to be an old show in Australia called Acropolis Now, which was themed on ethnic Greeks living in the country. (It's said that the second largest Greek city in the world is Melbourne, Australia...and no, I have no Greek relatives that I know of.) So Acropolis Now does indeed work with non-fiction.

What we were looking for in the title was something which instantly told a casual bookstore browser the time and place, and too one hopes something about the story. "Acropolis" gives the place but nothing else, and allusion to the movie gives a wrong impression, so Keith was quite right to nix it. But it's still a great title for an article about Greece's financial woes.

Gary Corby said...

Amalia, yes. They'll be selling a few copies on that title and cover alone.

L. T. Host said...

THAT IS AWESOME.

That reminds me of a story here. In the 90's, they renamed our football stadium-- it used to be called Jack Murphy, but it was going to be taken over by Qualcomm. The local paper had a contest for people to come up with a new name for it. The winning entry (though it didn't actually get used) was the Qualiseum.

Stephanie Thornton said...

Haha! That's hilarious! My husband hijacked our copy of The Economist, but I'll get a little chuckle out of it when I finally get my hands on it.

Funny, but I like The Pericles Commission. :)

Gary Corby said...

L.T. I like Qualiseum! At least it's amusing.

I guess the name they actually used was something startlingly original, like Qualcomm Stadium?

Gary Corby said...

Stephanie, I'll have to get a print copy of The Economist purely so I can put the cover on the wall in my office.

Glad you like The Pericles Commission. :-)

Something many people don't seem to realize is that the author owns everything inside the book, and the publisher owns everything on the outside, including the title and cover. Kathleen & Keith were unbelievably fantastic about asking me what I thought on both, and we ended up with something everyone loves.

Lexi said...

Lynne Truss (Eats, Shoots and Leaves) wrote a comedy series called Acropolis Now in 2001.

It was set in Athens in 408BC, during the Spartan siege, in a fish restaurant belonging to Aristophanes, frequented by Socrates and Plato.

I found it a bit too jokey for my taste, much as I like jokes...

Gary Corby said...

Now this is why a wise person blogs: because I would have had no idea about Lynne Truss' Acropolis Now if you hadn't told me. Thanks so much, Lexi. I owe you for this.

Any modern comedy using the original Socrates as a character gets my attention.

I shall hunt down a copy of the radio play episodes. I'll let you know what I think about the jokiness level. After your comment I will, of course, be listening carefully.

Thanks Lexi!

sex scenes at starbucks said...

I love that title!

And Stuart is one of my best friends, so his name caught my eye. :) He's great at titles. When he told me he liked mine, I breathed a huge sigh of relief.

trishaleighkc said...

That is hilarious. I chucked for a good five minutes. Thanks for the smile.

Also, I like your book title as well.

Hektor Karl said...

Great story!

I had a screenwriter friend who, upon coming up with a title or high concept he liked, would ‘try it out’ in different genres, writing short synopses to see how the different plots might look. This discussion reminded me of that.

L. T. Host said...

You nailed it right on the head. Qualcomm Stadium. Bah.

Gary Corby said...

I'm afraid Qualcomm Stadium was pretty much inevitable. Wouldn't want to take a risk, would one?

Gary Corby said...

Hi Hektor, that's an interesting idea, and totally the reverse of anything I've ever tried. Did it work for your friend?

Gary Corby said...

Thanks Trisha. I've decided thinking up titles is the hardest part of doing a book. You wouldn't think two or three words could be so difficult, and now we have to do it all over again with book 2. Yes, I know, it's a good problem to have.

Fortunately it looks like the working title for the third book might actually stand.

Gary Corby said...

Hi Betsy, yep, Stuart is a great guy, and amazingly creative!

Hektor Karl said...

Hi Gary. He found the exercise useful. He was of the ‘concept is king’ school, and wanted a sellable hook/pitch before writing.

I’ve also known people who did this exercise just for fun – to daydream about other paths their stories could have taken.

Gary Corby said...

I have this vision of Will Shakespeare playing around with the idea of a guy feigning madness to revenge his father's murder, and then Will deciding it would make a good cozy...

T. Anne said...

Stuart's been featured on Nathan's blog (I believe). So his book sounds familiar to me. Also I thought the title was great. No laughing matter. There's always next time, right?

Gary Corby said...

Hi Anne, titles can be such a problem. Working titles almost never survive so there's always the hunt for something which the major booksellers, the marketing, sales, editors, agent and author all like. The second book will also be in search of a title. The working title of the third might actually survive.

Amalia T. said...

Hey Gary-- Off topic, but I've got an award for you on my blog today-- no pressure for you to do anything with it, but I did want to give you the well-deserved mention!

Gary Corby said...

That's very kind of you Amalia! I confess I've accumulated a fair number of blog awards and done nothing about them. Stay tuned for a blog award post. At the rate I'm going, it'll be any month now...

Janet Reid said...

Some years ago the Powers That Be at Stanford University felt social pressure to change the mascot of the athletic teams (it was at that time "Stanford Indians").

A vote of the student body was suggested.

Voting transpired. Chosen by the wags in the classes of 70-74: The Stanford Robber Barons.

The Powers That Be burned the ballot box and blithely declared the Cardinal would be the new mascot.

Gary Corby said...

So terribly inconvenient when people don't vote the way they're supposed to. I love that story!

Leonie Corby said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gary Corby said...

Thanks for telling me. I didn't notice that mention.