Daddy's Christmas Angel

Friday, June 3, 2011

Night Watch, a Painting and a Title

Night Watch by Rembrandt van Rijn is one of the world's most famous paintings. Although I've never liked the dark colors, this intense painting has intrigued me from the moment I first saw it in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Apparently, over the years, it has drawn negative as well as positive response resulting in attacks on the painting by people who wanted to inflict major damage to it. One incident, in 1975, resulted in zigzag knife slashes in the canvas which I've read are still evident despite restoration.

Because my novel, Night Watch, features art theft and work by Rembrandt in the story plot, I decided to use the name of the painting for the title of my book. When I checked out the title on Amazon, I found there were other books with the same name which I thought might be a good thing for promotion and visibility of my book.

It wasn't.

There are so many books with that same title that I have to type in my name along with the title to find it. A new release, May 31, 2011 by Suzanne Brockmann, has the title, Night Watch. I have a Google alert for Night Watch, but the information I receive almost never includes my book.

It surprises me that anyone would want to attack a painting created in 1642. It also surprises me that the choice of a popular title for a book can be a big mistake. My advice to other authors is to take care in the words you choose to put on the cover of your next book. The best choice may be a title that is one of a kind, if that's at all possible.


Marian Allen said...

The title of my fantasy, EEL'S REVERENCE, is unique, but people don't like it--NOW they tell me! They're all, "Eeee, eels!" It isn't about eels. The Eel is a place. ~sigh~

The sf/crime/farce scheduled to come out this summer, FORCE OF HABIT, was fairly singular at the time I named it, but another mystery with EXACTLY THE SAME TITLE was just released. ~bigger sigh~

I can't win!

Marian Allen
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Monti said...

Well, if there's only one other title, that's a good thing. If there are a zillion, maybe you should rethink!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

No other books out there with CassaStar - not even close!

Monti said...

What a great title choice, Alex!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Monti .. sometimes it's good to have more than one .. but obviously with a book - we need to be unique .. and that could be tricky ... still lesson learnt ..

Could you rerelease with a different name .. or ebook name? Pity as the premise of the book sounds so interesting ..

Cheers Hilary

Monti said...

Thanks, Hilary, for your comment. It's not my call since I'm not the publisher. I've suggested that we add something to the title. We'll see for the future!

Chuck said...

Why did these people try to destroy the painting??? Bizarre.

Monti said...

Sad that some people have nothing better to do than hurtful things to others! The man who slashed Night Watch with a knife was deranged, and I believe he later committed suicide. Very strange!

Michael Di Gesu said...

HI Monti,

I loved viewing that particular painting when I visited Amsterdam. I'm floored that anyone would want to harm it.

Sorry to hear about your title. I reworded my second novel's title to one that is out.... so maybe I should go back to the original....

Monti said...

I don't know about your title, Michael, but if you go to Night Watch, there are a zillion! If you find a lot with the same name, I would change it.