Anna, on behalf of the children’s book writing community, I would like to say, “We’re sorry.” It was nothing more than a bad coincidence and I’m doing my part to rectify the situation.
Am I speaking to a specific Anna? No. I’m speaking to any Anna who reads books for teens. I changed the title of my YA manuscript because I couldn’t bear the thought of a girl named Anna seeing another book with her name in the title. It would be different if the books dealt with girls who lived fabulously comfortable lives with wonderful boyfriends, loving families, and attended schools where everyone was treated with respect. But they didn’t. The books dealt with teen suicide.
Whenever I’m working on a book, I research other books on the same general topic. And what did I find this time? Two more books dealing with the suicide of a teenaged Anna. After the Death of Anna Gonzales by Terri Fields and Drowning Anna by Sue Mayfield.
But before I discovered this eerie coincidence, my manuscript began winning contests using the title Baker’s Dozen: The AudioBiography of Anna Baker. It won a Work-In-Progress Grant from SCBWI and the Grand Prize in SmartWriters.com’s Write-It-Now Competition.
Even though their websites already listed my manuscript with the name Anna Baker in the title, I needed to change the title. I needed something close, with the same ring, but different. Hopefully you’ll soon find Baker’s Dozen: The AudioBiography of Hannah Baker in a bookstore near you.
And to Hannah, I’m sorry. I hope my book is the only one.