Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover—Or Title!

Whole micro SD card 789This year, our Christmas cards not only boasted a photo of my two children (smiling lovingly at one another in a totally false depiction of everyday life) and my aging Labrador retriever, but also a thumbnail photo of my debut novel, GAME ON.  As expected, the book’s cover drew mixed reviews from the card recipients.  Kudos to the folks at Berkley, because the photo of a shirtless football player did the trick:  people were talking.  Mostly, they were mumbling “I didn’t know she wrote…that.”  Yes, I’ve come a long way from writing congressional reports and testimony.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the number of emails, posts and texts I got about the book’s name.  It seems the phrase “game on” has become very popular lately.  Folks have had a lot of fun pointing out the use of the phrase on everything from catalogs to store fronts to newspaper headlines. photo A friend even texted a photo of a bar in Boston’s Logan Airport.  It’s named Game On.  For months, my husband and children have chuckled every time we’ve heard the phrase on the radio and television.  My husband even went so far as to record an episode of NCIS where the phrase was rampant.

There are a few other books out there with the same title, including one by football great, Emmitt Smith.  And guess what else?  There’s even a Game On diet!  Hello New Year’s resolutions!  Who knew I’d be on the cutting edge of pop culture when I named my book?  I’m such a forward thinker, right?  Not.

Truth be told, GAME ON, was only the working title three years ago when this book was written.  In fact, it wasn’t even the original title.  I searched my computer and found the first one:  RULES WERE MADE TO BE BROKEN.  I thought it was pretty catchy at the time.  Until an editor at the Algonkian Pitch conference told me it was the only thing about my pitch she didn’t like and to change it.  My trusty critique partners and I swilled wine and ate cheesecake in our New York hotel room that night and tried to come up with a catchy name.   But, we just kept coming up blank.  Finally, at the eleventh hour, I took a phrase out of the tag line from my pitch:

It’s game on as the rule breaker takes on the rule maker in an all out battle for the heart.

Yeah, I know, smarmy.  But the title stuck.  I really figured it would get changed by now, but who knew the phrase would be such a part of the 2013 lexicon?  Pretty serendipitous, huh?  Of course, the cover works pretty well, too!  What do you think?



About Tracy Solheim

Best-selling author of the Out of Bounds series--sexy, contemporary sports romance novels. See what she's up to at

Posted on January 4, 2013, in Blog Posts and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. As one of the ones swilling wine and brainstorming titles, I still like it. I only wish the tag line had stuck, too!

    I’m glad to see someone who spent as much time working for congress as you did move on to romance. It might freak me out if you wrote political thrillers or anything I might assume was true. Of course, real life is stranger than fiction!

    Can’t wait to see your book on the shelf!

  2. Great cover. My Sidelined by Love had a similar cover, and I got the same reaction from family and friends. You will change their idea of a “romance” novel…can’t wait to read it! Congrats!

  3. If I’d know that cover dude lived in New York, I’d have been out looking for him. I can get wine and cheesecake at Walmart!!

    Can’t wait to see it on my bookshelf.

  4. I wish you much success! Hopefully, you can ride even more success than 50 shades based on the cover alone. 🙂

  5. I love that cover and the title is cool. I wish you success with your book and will read it, for sure. I’d never read 50 Shades but Game On will be in my TBR pile.

  6. Wow, what a gorgeous cover, Tracy. And I love the title, have from the beginning, even though I’d never heard the expression “game on” before. I’m Canadian, eh? 🙂 This is out in May of this year, right?

    • May 7th! It got moved up by two months which almost never happens, so I feel a bit behind the eight ball. Once it gets to Amazon for pre-order, I’ll beg you to help me put it up on the books page ;).

  7. Okay. I like that cover, and it is an evocative title.

    Going back to check out that football player again… 😉

  8. Good times! I have a clear picture of that night in NYC in my mind. Can’t wait until the release! So proud of you, my friend.

  9. Tracy: I thought this cover was taken from a picture of Greg during his college days. No? Can’t wait to read this one.

  10. Your cover certainly packs a “punch” of delicious expectation! 🙂 He’s yum… Congratulations, again!

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