Jennifer Gilby Roberts

Women's Fiction/Chick Lit Author

The Dr Pepper Prophecies – Title Origin

on May 13, 2014

Part of the TDPP anniversary celebrations.  Posted at Girls Love to Read (formerly Chick Lit Reviews & News).


They say that a book’s title is crucial to its success.  With The Dr Pepper Prophecies, people either get the reference and think it’s brilliant, or don’t and go ‘huh?’  So, for those of you in the second category, where did it come from?

When I wrote the first draft – a terribly long time ago – “kindle” was what you did to start a fire, and self-publishing was only for those with a ton of spare money and an over-inflated ego.  I entertained dreams of an agent and traditional publisher for TDPP, but never imagined it would cross the pond.  Or the Channel, for that matter.  It was only after the book had debuted on Amazon that I discovered that the title would mean nothing outside of the UK.  But by then there were so many references to the book on the web, I couldn’t face trying to change it.

Dr Pepper, of course, makes soft drinks (soda).  They wanted to encourage people in the UK to try their product and so created a series of adverts with the tag line ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’  Does that sound familiar?  It should, because I use the same one for The Dr Pepper Prophecies.  The adverts featured an everyday situation going very badly wrong.  Something which Mel Parker – the main character in TDPP – is all too familiar with.  Really, it’s a miracle Bridget Jones’ Diary wasn’t named after the adverts as well, because they were really popular.  Here’s the link to one, if you want to try them out:

One curious thing: even though the adverts were only shown in the UK, they still seem to be aimed at an American audience.  I’m not sure they thought that one through.

I did also consider calling it The Secret Dreamworld of a Chocoholic.  Sophie Kinsella’s debut novel, originally The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic (now Confessions of a Shopaholic) was still quite new and her book Can You Keep a Secret? was the one that inspired me to write my first novel.  I toyed with retitling it Confessions of a Chocoholic, but then Lynda Renham brought out one called that.  I also thought of Good Intentions (dull), Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way (groan) and a few more I can’t remember now.

I think I’ll stick with The Dr Pepper Prophecies, even if seven in ten don’t understand it.  There you go; you now belong to an exclusive club!


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