Book Titles

Maggie asks: "I have a question about book titles. How successful are you in naming your own books, or must you submit to editors’ titles? Is it a group consensus thing? Have you ever had a title assigned to you that you absolutely hated? And since you Wenches are so prolific, can you remember all your titles? *g*"

6f36 From Pat Rice:
Because I have a power saw running in the front room and a carpenter opening and slamming the door until my concentration has quit in defeat, I will pick Maggie’s brain again for a topic.  I’m just not up to French prisons prior to the revolution right now. <G> Not certain I ever will be, but remind me sometime to talk about how we pick our book subjects and how we choose to fictionalize them.

(I swear, I wrote this over the weekend while I was avoiding the computer, and I didn’t see Loretta’s column until I posted at 7 this morning, so Maggie gets two books this week!)

But titles are a fun gripe all authors love to harp on.  When I first started out, I thought titles were an important clue to the book’s heart.  I would carefully select something momentous said within the depths of my huge novel (romances were over 150k words back then), something literary (often Shakespeare), or something unbearably romantic. They were so memorable I don’t remember them now.  Which is fine, because whatever they were, they were far more intelligent than LOVE’S FIRST SURRENDER, which was what ended up on my first book. And even the publisher acknowledged the total gagginess fifteen years later when they reissued it as SURRENDER, which makes no sense at all but didn’t cause barf to happen.

Surrender (Zebra Historical Romance)Then I moved to a much bigger publisher (so big they had to call me Patricia Rice instead of Pat Rice to fit their ideas of grandeur, I guess). They preferred more tasteful titles: LADY SORCERESS, LOVE BETRAYED.  They even used a title I chose—INDIGO MOON.  Of course, the editor soon realized that though I told her it came from TAMING OF THE SHREW, it actually resulted from my wacky memory picking up on a modern version of the bard’s famous lines about calling the moon blue.  I don’t think another of my historical titles have been used since. Maybe wisely.

I fared better when I drifted into contemporary romance.  I had an utterly brilliant editor who accepted my titles of GARDEN OF DREAMS and BLUE CLOUDS, meaningful titles that made me smile happily, especially when I hit the NYT extended with one. Finally, I was on the way to the top.

And then all the publishers in NYC went into a feeding frenzy, houses got bought and sold, editors disappeared, imprints were rethought, and when the dust settled, we were back to finding “commercial” titles.  I have nothing against commercial if it sells my books, but the mega-mergers required mega-money and commercial got to be a little desperate. Book titles needed to sound “familiar”—so they’d stand out from the rest of the crowd, I guess. (Is there a little graphic symbol for irony?) Oddly enough, sometimes it even worked. ALL A WOMAN WANTS—a historical, mind you—soared to the tops of several lists, on the wings of the rip-off, I’m convinced. 
So these days, titles are essentially chosen by committee.  The author turns in her suggestion—my next historical started out as MYSTIC MAIDEN.  The editor, if she likes it, runs it past the committee.  In this case, the editor was quite happy with the MYSTIC part. (I’m not dumb.  She was thrilled with MAGIC for the prior series, and if I’m going to be stuck with the same word on a half dozen books, I want it to be a good one.) But she thought an island of supermen needed a male-oriented cover, which meant a male title.  And faster than I could think, she came up with three strong titles using the word Mystic, ran the entire concept past the committee, and I had a gorgeous cover before I’d finished the copyedit. So the maiden has now become the MYSTIC GUARDIAN, and I had to go back and change references to my hero to include his new title. For that gorgeous cover, I’ll accept commercialism!Mysticguardian

As to remembering titles—forget it.  I’m lucky to remember the title of my current WIP, or as Nora Roberts so famously calls it, POS (please don’t ask for a translation on a family oriented blog, but the first two letters stand for “piece of…”).  When I try to blog about books I’ve read, I have to go to my personal library to find the title and author.  Forget Amazon. If you can’t remember title or author, you can’t find it there.  Search functions are limited that way.  If I go into my library, however, I know right where the book is. I think I keep a library as my outmoded title and author research function.

Given that GUARDIAN will be my forty-fourth book and I also have over a dozen short stories and novellas in anthologies, I’m lucky to remember that I’m the author if someone tells me the title. Which probably brings us to the subject of pseudonyms, which fortunately, so far, I haven’t used. But I’m thinking about it.  Numerology being what it is, I want one rich in power so I can just call the next title Book #1…

I think I’ve admitted that I’ve bought Terry Pratchett for the first time because of his title WYRD SISTERS.  Has anyone else bought because of a title? Or at least picked up the book because the title told you something that caught your interest? Any suggestions on what words or phrases will get your attention? I’ve got this great list of commercial words I consult…

84 thoughts on “Book Titles”

  1. Oh, boy! Count me happy this week! Loved your post, Pat…or you the grander Patricia today? 44 books? I’m agog and in absolute awe. I had trouble naming four kids and know I couldn’t name four books!
    I like clever titles, which either play upon other titles, phrases or lyrics, but those usually fit contemporaries better. (I’m in No Mood for Love, for example…can’t really remember the book but the title has stayed with me. And Eloisa James’Pleasure for Pleasure works both for the book and reminds us that she’s a Shakespeare professor). I think both “Magic” and “Mystic” are great brands…just don’t write “Mystic Pizza” or they’ll take you away.
    I’d love to see that list of commercial words you use. As we discussed the other day, it seems almost every book has a title (Earl, Viscount, etc.), sin or scandal somewhere. Wonder what will be popular in five years?
    Pat, thanks so much for sharing your title stories. And if any other Wenches want to talk titles, I’m not turning away the free books! Oh, I’m shameless…scandalous, even.

    Reply
  2. Oh, boy! Count me happy this week! Loved your post, Pat…or you the grander Patricia today? 44 books? I’m agog and in absolute awe. I had trouble naming four kids and know I couldn’t name four books!
    I like clever titles, which either play upon other titles, phrases or lyrics, but those usually fit contemporaries better. (I’m in No Mood for Love, for example…can’t really remember the book but the title has stayed with me. And Eloisa James’Pleasure for Pleasure works both for the book and reminds us that she’s a Shakespeare professor). I think both “Magic” and “Mystic” are great brands…just don’t write “Mystic Pizza” or they’ll take you away.
    I’d love to see that list of commercial words you use. As we discussed the other day, it seems almost every book has a title (Earl, Viscount, etc.), sin or scandal somewhere. Wonder what will be popular in five years?
    Pat, thanks so much for sharing your title stories. And if any other Wenches want to talk titles, I’m not turning away the free books! Oh, I’m shameless…scandalous, even.

    Reply
  3. Oh, boy! Count me happy this week! Loved your post, Pat…or you the grander Patricia today? 44 books? I’m agog and in absolute awe. I had trouble naming four kids and know I couldn’t name four books!
    I like clever titles, which either play upon other titles, phrases or lyrics, but those usually fit contemporaries better. (I’m in No Mood for Love, for example…can’t really remember the book but the title has stayed with me. And Eloisa James’Pleasure for Pleasure works both for the book and reminds us that she’s a Shakespeare professor). I think both “Magic” and “Mystic” are great brands…just don’t write “Mystic Pizza” or they’ll take you away.
    I’d love to see that list of commercial words you use. As we discussed the other day, it seems almost every book has a title (Earl, Viscount, etc.), sin or scandal somewhere. Wonder what will be popular in five years?
    Pat, thanks so much for sharing your title stories. And if any other Wenches want to talk titles, I’m not turning away the free books! Oh, I’m shameless…scandalous, even.

    Reply
  4. Oh, boy! Count me happy this week! Loved your post, Pat…or you the grander Patricia today? 44 books? I’m agog and in absolute awe. I had trouble naming four kids and know I couldn’t name four books!
    I like clever titles, which either play upon other titles, phrases or lyrics, but those usually fit contemporaries better. (I’m in No Mood for Love, for example…can’t really remember the book but the title has stayed with me. And Eloisa James’Pleasure for Pleasure works both for the book and reminds us that she’s a Shakespeare professor). I think both “Magic” and “Mystic” are great brands…just don’t write “Mystic Pizza” or they’ll take you away.
    I’d love to see that list of commercial words you use. As we discussed the other day, it seems almost every book has a title (Earl, Viscount, etc.), sin or scandal somewhere. Wonder what will be popular in five years?
    Pat, thanks so much for sharing your title stories. And if any other Wenches want to talk titles, I’m not turning away the free books! Oh, I’m shameless…scandalous, even.

    Reply
  5. Back in the 80’s I had a job in a bookstore and all the romance titles were variations on ” Sweet”, “Savage”, “Love” and ” Flame”, As in “Love’s Savage Flame” or
    “Sweet Savage Love” or Sweet Flames of Love” and they all had women swooning in Fabio’s arms. Lots of confusion. Customers used to remeber the color of the heroine’s dress as a way to tell them apart. My own rule for a while was never to read anything with foil letters on the cover- in those days I stuck with the classic regencies…;)

    Reply
  6. Back in the 80’s I had a job in a bookstore and all the romance titles were variations on ” Sweet”, “Savage”, “Love” and ” Flame”, As in “Love’s Savage Flame” or
    “Sweet Savage Love” or Sweet Flames of Love” and they all had women swooning in Fabio’s arms. Lots of confusion. Customers used to remeber the color of the heroine’s dress as a way to tell them apart. My own rule for a while was never to read anything with foil letters on the cover- in those days I stuck with the classic regencies…;)

    Reply
  7. Back in the 80’s I had a job in a bookstore and all the romance titles were variations on ” Sweet”, “Savage”, “Love” and ” Flame”, As in “Love’s Savage Flame” or
    “Sweet Savage Love” or Sweet Flames of Love” and they all had women swooning in Fabio’s arms. Lots of confusion. Customers used to remeber the color of the heroine’s dress as a way to tell them apart. My own rule for a while was never to read anything with foil letters on the cover- in those days I stuck with the classic regencies…;)

    Reply
  8. Back in the 80’s I had a job in a bookstore and all the romance titles were variations on ” Sweet”, “Savage”, “Love” and ” Flame”, As in “Love’s Savage Flame” or
    “Sweet Savage Love” or Sweet Flames of Love” and they all had women swooning in Fabio’s arms. Lots of confusion. Customers used to remeber the color of the heroine’s dress as a way to tell them apart. My own rule for a while was never to read anything with foil letters on the cover- in those days I stuck with the classic regencies…;)

    Reply
  9. Oh, Pat! I laughed and chortled my way through your post. And indeed, your new cover is just beautiful. I’m a sap for monotone or near-monotone covers. And 44 books??? Good heavens, you must have started writing at age 3!
    Your comment about book titles needing to sound familiar is so true! Remember all the books with “ing” titles? (Finding Tiffany, Taming Tiffany, Loving Tiffany). I actually like the “ing” titles, but they sure are getting the maximum run out of it, aren’t they?

    Reply
  10. Oh, Pat! I laughed and chortled my way through your post. And indeed, your new cover is just beautiful. I’m a sap for monotone or near-monotone covers. And 44 books??? Good heavens, you must have started writing at age 3!
    Your comment about book titles needing to sound familiar is so true! Remember all the books with “ing” titles? (Finding Tiffany, Taming Tiffany, Loving Tiffany). I actually like the “ing” titles, but they sure are getting the maximum run out of it, aren’t they?

    Reply
  11. Oh, Pat! I laughed and chortled my way through your post. And indeed, your new cover is just beautiful. I’m a sap for monotone or near-monotone covers. And 44 books??? Good heavens, you must have started writing at age 3!
    Your comment about book titles needing to sound familiar is so true! Remember all the books with “ing” titles? (Finding Tiffany, Taming Tiffany, Loving Tiffany). I actually like the “ing” titles, but they sure are getting the maximum run out of it, aren’t they?

    Reply
  12. Oh, Pat! I laughed and chortled my way through your post. And indeed, your new cover is just beautiful. I’m a sap for monotone or near-monotone covers. And 44 books??? Good heavens, you must have started writing at age 3!
    Your comment about book titles needing to sound familiar is so true! Remember all the books with “ing” titles? (Finding Tiffany, Taming Tiffany, Loving Tiffany). I actually like the “ing” titles, but they sure are getting the maximum run out of it, aren’t they?

    Reply
  13. Ok, the “sweet savage love” stuff is too funny! One of my friends has a rule about avoiding anything with “seduction” in the title. I keep telling her it’s not the author’s fault!

    Reply
  14. Ok, the “sweet savage love” stuff is too funny! One of my friends has a rule about avoiding anything with “seduction” in the title. I keep telling her it’s not the author’s fault!

    Reply
  15. Ok, the “sweet savage love” stuff is too funny! One of my friends has a rule about avoiding anything with “seduction” in the title. I keep telling her it’s not the author’s fault!

    Reply
  16. Ok, the “sweet savage love” stuff is too funny! One of my friends has a rule about avoiding anything with “seduction” in the title. I keep telling her it’s not the author’s fault!

    Reply
  17. Mystic Pizza, snarf! Since my editor just ditched Mystic Stargazer, maybe I should suggest that, just to see what happens. “G”
    But I really can’t be mean to an editor who gives me a cover like that. except the islands look like a beaching whale from a distance, but we won’t start on that.
    I remember the Sweet Savage Love days (that’s not an oxymoron I’d want on my book, thank you). It was kind of like the cowboy-bride titles, we’d all sit around and try to come up with as many of the required nouns and adjectives as we could smush together. Now we can really play: Savagely Loved Cowboy’s Bride!

    Reply
  18. Mystic Pizza, snarf! Since my editor just ditched Mystic Stargazer, maybe I should suggest that, just to see what happens. “G”
    But I really can’t be mean to an editor who gives me a cover like that. except the islands look like a beaching whale from a distance, but we won’t start on that.
    I remember the Sweet Savage Love days (that’s not an oxymoron I’d want on my book, thank you). It was kind of like the cowboy-bride titles, we’d all sit around and try to come up with as many of the required nouns and adjectives as we could smush together. Now we can really play: Savagely Loved Cowboy’s Bride!

    Reply
  19. Mystic Pizza, snarf! Since my editor just ditched Mystic Stargazer, maybe I should suggest that, just to see what happens. “G”
    But I really can’t be mean to an editor who gives me a cover like that. except the islands look like a beaching whale from a distance, but we won’t start on that.
    I remember the Sweet Savage Love days (that’s not an oxymoron I’d want on my book, thank you). It was kind of like the cowboy-bride titles, we’d all sit around and try to come up with as many of the required nouns and adjectives as we could smush together. Now we can really play: Savagely Loved Cowboy’s Bride!

    Reply
  20. Mystic Pizza, snarf! Since my editor just ditched Mystic Stargazer, maybe I should suggest that, just to see what happens. “G”
    But I really can’t be mean to an editor who gives me a cover like that. except the islands look like a beaching whale from a distance, but we won’t start on that.
    I remember the Sweet Savage Love days (that’s not an oxymoron I’d want on my book, thank you). It was kind of like the cowboy-bride titles, we’d all sit around and try to come up with as many of the required nouns and adjectives as we could smush together. Now we can really play: Savagely Loved Cowboy’s Bride!

    Reply
  21. Oh, oh, I had a thought and wished I’d asked earlier—How much do readers care if the titles are relevant to the book?
    Mystic Stargazer–very relevant–is about to be changed to Mystic Rider–currently not at all relevant–because it sounds more masculine. I’m creative. I can very easily make Rider work and I kinda like it, but would it matter if this guy never rode a horse before?

    Reply
  22. Oh, oh, I had a thought and wished I’d asked earlier—How much do readers care if the titles are relevant to the book?
    Mystic Stargazer–very relevant–is about to be changed to Mystic Rider–currently not at all relevant–because it sounds more masculine. I’m creative. I can very easily make Rider work and I kinda like it, but would it matter if this guy never rode a horse before?

    Reply
  23. Oh, oh, I had a thought and wished I’d asked earlier—How much do readers care if the titles are relevant to the book?
    Mystic Stargazer–very relevant–is about to be changed to Mystic Rider–currently not at all relevant–because it sounds more masculine. I’m creative. I can very easily make Rider work and I kinda like it, but would it matter if this guy never rode a horse before?

    Reply
  24. Oh, oh, I had a thought and wished I’d asked earlier—How much do readers care if the titles are relevant to the book?
    Mystic Stargazer–very relevant–is about to be changed to Mystic Rider–currently not at all relevant–because it sounds more masculine. I’m creative. I can very easily make Rider work and I kinda like it, but would it matter if this guy never rode a horse before?

    Reply
  25. Wench Pat… 44 books?! Absolutely amazing. How many words do you write in a day? It must be tons!
    And the cover… WoW! The dangerous yet beckoning look on the hero’s face is sure to grab plenty of attention. It sure got mine!
    As for titles… I like words that present opposing ideas like ‘Passion Served Cold’, ‘Binding Freedom’ or ‘A Fighting Peace.’
    And yes, I’ve bought a few books simply because I was drawn by the title. KILLER ANGELS (about the battle of Gettysburg) was one along with DEAD MAN’S DIARY, which I actually read. Very moving.
    On the writerly side of things… I am so glad to know I don’t have to come up with a ‘real’ title for my work. A working title is hard enough. Without a doubt, titles are definitely not my strong suit.
    Nina, very happy for Maggie and her booming Wenchy library.

    Reply
  26. Wench Pat… 44 books?! Absolutely amazing. How many words do you write in a day? It must be tons!
    And the cover… WoW! The dangerous yet beckoning look on the hero’s face is sure to grab plenty of attention. It sure got mine!
    As for titles… I like words that present opposing ideas like ‘Passion Served Cold’, ‘Binding Freedom’ or ‘A Fighting Peace.’
    And yes, I’ve bought a few books simply because I was drawn by the title. KILLER ANGELS (about the battle of Gettysburg) was one along with DEAD MAN’S DIARY, which I actually read. Very moving.
    On the writerly side of things… I am so glad to know I don’t have to come up with a ‘real’ title for my work. A working title is hard enough. Without a doubt, titles are definitely not my strong suit.
    Nina, very happy for Maggie and her booming Wenchy library.

    Reply
  27. Wench Pat… 44 books?! Absolutely amazing. How many words do you write in a day? It must be tons!
    And the cover… WoW! The dangerous yet beckoning look on the hero’s face is sure to grab plenty of attention. It sure got mine!
    As for titles… I like words that present opposing ideas like ‘Passion Served Cold’, ‘Binding Freedom’ or ‘A Fighting Peace.’
    And yes, I’ve bought a few books simply because I was drawn by the title. KILLER ANGELS (about the battle of Gettysburg) was one along with DEAD MAN’S DIARY, which I actually read. Very moving.
    On the writerly side of things… I am so glad to know I don’t have to come up with a ‘real’ title for my work. A working title is hard enough. Without a doubt, titles are definitely not my strong suit.
    Nina, very happy for Maggie and her booming Wenchy library.

    Reply
  28. Wench Pat… 44 books?! Absolutely amazing. How many words do you write in a day? It must be tons!
    And the cover… WoW! The dangerous yet beckoning look on the hero’s face is sure to grab plenty of attention. It sure got mine!
    As for titles… I like words that present opposing ideas like ‘Passion Served Cold’, ‘Binding Freedom’ or ‘A Fighting Peace.’
    And yes, I’ve bought a few books simply because I was drawn by the title. KILLER ANGELS (about the battle of Gettysburg) was one along with DEAD MAN’S DIARY, which I actually read. Very moving.
    On the writerly side of things… I am so glad to know I don’t have to come up with a ‘real’ title for my work. A working title is hard enough. Without a doubt, titles are definitely not my strong suit.
    Nina, very happy for Maggie and her booming Wenchy library.

    Reply
  29. Pat said… “but would it matter if this guy never rode a horse before?”
    Nope, not to me. (unless there was a horse plastered on the front cover) One can ride many things… an ocean wave, currents of air, magic, thought. Mystic Rider is a very interesting title. Sparks lots of questions in my head.
    And yes, titles do have to match the book, IMHO. If not, I feel duped.
    Nina

    Reply
  30. Pat said… “but would it matter if this guy never rode a horse before?”
    Nope, not to me. (unless there was a horse plastered on the front cover) One can ride many things… an ocean wave, currents of air, magic, thought. Mystic Rider is a very interesting title. Sparks lots of questions in my head.
    And yes, titles do have to match the book, IMHO. If not, I feel duped.
    Nina

    Reply
  31. Pat said… “but would it matter if this guy never rode a horse before?”
    Nope, not to me. (unless there was a horse plastered on the front cover) One can ride many things… an ocean wave, currents of air, magic, thought. Mystic Rider is a very interesting title. Sparks lots of questions in my head.
    And yes, titles do have to match the book, IMHO. If not, I feel duped.
    Nina

    Reply
  32. Pat said… “but would it matter if this guy never rode a horse before?”
    Nope, not to me. (unless there was a horse plastered on the front cover) One can ride many things… an ocean wave, currents of air, magic, thought. Mystic Rider is a very interesting title. Sparks lots of questions in my head.
    And yes, titles do have to match the book, IMHO. If not, I feel duped.
    Nina

    Reply
  33. It’s not the number of words written a day so much as the consistency of sitting down every day and writing. And editing. And revising. Every day, except weekends. No excuses. I’ve worked since I was twelve years old, so I have very well developed work habits.
    Thanks for the opinion on title relevancy!

    Reply
  34. It’s not the number of words written a day so much as the consistency of sitting down every day and writing. And editing. And revising. Every day, except weekends. No excuses. I’ve worked since I was twelve years old, so I have very well developed work habits.
    Thanks for the opinion on title relevancy!

    Reply
  35. It’s not the number of words written a day so much as the consistency of sitting down every day and writing. And editing. And revising. Every day, except weekends. No excuses. I’ve worked since I was twelve years old, so I have very well developed work habits.
    Thanks for the opinion on title relevancy!

    Reply
  36. It’s not the number of words written a day so much as the consistency of sitting down every day and writing. And editing. And revising. Every day, except weekends. No excuses. I’ve worked since I was twelve years old, so I have very well developed work habits.
    Thanks for the opinion on title relevancy!

    Reply
  37. I like it when the title has at least something to do with the story, or else I’m trying to figure it out all of the way thru the book. For some reason, I like arriving at the point in the book where the title makes perfect sense.
    As to buying a book for the title, it isn’t a perfect example since I love Pratchett too, but I bought my most recent one, THUD, after a bad day at work. The cover has a character (Vimes?) being hit over the head with a big bat.

    Reply
  38. I like it when the title has at least something to do with the story, or else I’m trying to figure it out all of the way thru the book. For some reason, I like arriving at the point in the book where the title makes perfect sense.
    As to buying a book for the title, it isn’t a perfect example since I love Pratchett too, but I bought my most recent one, THUD, after a bad day at work. The cover has a character (Vimes?) being hit over the head with a big bat.

    Reply
  39. I like it when the title has at least something to do with the story, or else I’m trying to figure it out all of the way thru the book. For some reason, I like arriving at the point in the book where the title makes perfect sense.
    As to buying a book for the title, it isn’t a perfect example since I love Pratchett too, but I bought my most recent one, THUD, after a bad day at work. The cover has a character (Vimes?) being hit over the head with a big bat.

    Reply
  40. I like it when the title has at least something to do with the story, or else I’m trying to figure it out all of the way thru the book. For some reason, I like arriving at the point in the book where the title makes perfect sense.
    As to buying a book for the title, it isn’t a perfect example since I love Pratchett too, but I bought my most recent one, THUD, after a bad day at work. The cover has a character (Vimes?) being hit over the head with a big bat.

    Reply
  41. I like long sentences, so longer titles help– though I still base most of my judgement of a book on the first paragraph. So I like somewhat longer titles which use words which make them distinctive. Examples include: Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, (Julia Quinn) The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (dorothy sayers), the Beekeepers Apprentice (laurie King), and “An Assembly Such as This” (Pamela Aidan) These all include words not usually used in titles– no storms, roses, petals, angels, devils, rogues, dukes, secrets, nights. Of course, of the above, only Romancing Mr. Bridgerton is a romance novel. The next two are mysteries, and the last is a re-telling of Pride and Prejudice from Darcy’s point of view.
    Merry

    Reply
  42. I like long sentences, so longer titles help– though I still base most of my judgement of a book on the first paragraph. So I like somewhat longer titles which use words which make them distinctive. Examples include: Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, (Julia Quinn) The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (dorothy sayers), the Beekeepers Apprentice (laurie King), and “An Assembly Such as This” (Pamela Aidan) These all include words not usually used in titles– no storms, roses, petals, angels, devils, rogues, dukes, secrets, nights. Of course, of the above, only Romancing Mr. Bridgerton is a romance novel. The next two are mysteries, and the last is a re-telling of Pride and Prejudice from Darcy’s point of view.
    Merry

    Reply
  43. I like long sentences, so longer titles help– though I still base most of my judgement of a book on the first paragraph. So I like somewhat longer titles which use words which make them distinctive. Examples include: Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, (Julia Quinn) The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (dorothy sayers), the Beekeepers Apprentice (laurie King), and “An Assembly Such as This” (Pamela Aidan) These all include words not usually used in titles– no storms, roses, petals, angels, devils, rogues, dukes, secrets, nights. Of course, of the above, only Romancing Mr. Bridgerton is a romance novel. The next two are mysteries, and the last is a re-telling of Pride and Prejudice from Darcy’s point of view.
    Merry

    Reply
  44. I like long sentences, so longer titles help– though I still base most of my judgement of a book on the first paragraph. So I like somewhat longer titles which use words which make them distinctive. Examples include: Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, (Julia Quinn) The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (dorothy sayers), the Beekeepers Apprentice (laurie King), and “An Assembly Such as This” (Pamela Aidan) These all include words not usually used in titles– no storms, roses, petals, angels, devils, rogues, dukes, secrets, nights. Of course, of the above, only Romancing Mr. Bridgerton is a romance novel. The next two are mysteries, and the last is a re-telling of Pride and Prejudice from Darcy’s point of view.
    Merry

    Reply
  45. I think what we need is a Title Matrix by which we can generate appropriate titles with minimum effort. Here is my attempt. What you do is choose one word from each group, then make a title out of the combination.
    GROUP 1: Lord, Earl, Duke, Scoundrel, Rake, Lady, Bride, Virgin, Prince, Rogue, Scoundrel, Stranger.
    GROUP 2: Desperate, Dangerous, Wicked, Passionate, Dark, Mysterious, Scandalous, Delicious, Forbidden, Midnight, Secret, Wild, Shocking.
    GROUP 3: Seduction, Desire, Embrace, Bed, Secret, Deception, Affair, Delight, Pleasure, Adventure, Masquerade, Surrender.
    Examples:
    THE EARL’S WICKED EMBRACE
    THE VIRGIN’S SECRET DECEPTION
    THE SCOUNDREL’S DELICIOUS BED
    THE PRINCE’S WILD AFFAIR
    MY LADY’S MIDNIGHT SEDUCTION
    Try it yourselves and see what you think. I’m sure you could think of some lovely words to add. . . ? Do you have any favorite combinations? What would be marketable?

    Reply
  46. I think what we need is a Title Matrix by which we can generate appropriate titles with minimum effort. Here is my attempt. What you do is choose one word from each group, then make a title out of the combination.
    GROUP 1: Lord, Earl, Duke, Scoundrel, Rake, Lady, Bride, Virgin, Prince, Rogue, Scoundrel, Stranger.
    GROUP 2: Desperate, Dangerous, Wicked, Passionate, Dark, Mysterious, Scandalous, Delicious, Forbidden, Midnight, Secret, Wild, Shocking.
    GROUP 3: Seduction, Desire, Embrace, Bed, Secret, Deception, Affair, Delight, Pleasure, Adventure, Masquerade, Surrender.
    Examples:
    THE EARL’S WICKED EMBRACE
    THE VIRGIN’S SECRET DECEPTION
    THE SCOUNDREL’S DELICIOUS BED
    THE PRINCE’S WILD AFFAIR
    MY LADY’S MIDNIGHT SEDUCTION
    Try it yourselves and see what you think. I’m sure you could think of some lovely words to add. . . ? Do you have any favorite combinations? What would be marketable?

    Reply
  47. I think what we need is a Title Matrix by which we can generate appropriate titles with minimum effort. Here is my attempt. What you do is choose one word from each group, then make a title out of the combination.
    GROUP 1: Lord, Earl, Duke, Scoundrel, Rake, Lady, Bride, Virgin, Prince, Rogue, Scoundrel, Stranger.
    GROUP 2: Desperate, Dangerous, Wicked, Passionate, Dark, Mysterious, Scandalous, Delicious, Forbidden, Midnight, Secret, Wild, Shocking.
    GROUP 3: Seduction, Desire, Embrace, Bed, Secret, Deception, Affair, Delight, Pleasure, Adventure, Masquerade, Surrender.
    Examples:
    THE EARL’S WICKED EMBRACE
    THE VIRGIN’S SECRET DECEPTION
    THE SCOUNDREL’S DELICIOUS BED
    THE PRINCE’S WILD AFFAIR
    MY LADY’S MIDNIGHT SEDUCTION
    Try it yourselves and see what you think. I’m sure you could think of some lovely words to add. . . ? Do you have any favorite combinations? What would be marketable?

    Reply
  48. I think what we need is a Title Matrix by which we can generate appropriate titles with minimum effort. Here is my attempt. What you do is choose one word from each group, then make a title out of the combination.
    GROUP 1: Lord, Earl, Duke, Scoundrel, Rake, Lady, Bride, Virgin, Prince, Rogue, Scoundrel, Stranger.
    GROUP 2: Desperate, Dangerous, Wicked, Passionate, Dark, Mysterious, Scandalous, Delicious, Forbidden, Midnight, Secret, Wild, Shocking.
    GROUP 3: Seduction, Desire, Embrace, Bed, Secret, Deception, Affair, Delight, Pleasure, Adventure, Masquerade, Surrender.
    Examples:
    THE EARL’S WICKED EMBRACE
    THE VIRGIN’S SECRET DECEPTION
    THE SCOUNDREL’S DELICIOUS BED
    THE PRINCE’S WILD AFFAIR
    MY LADY’S MIDNIGHT SEDUCTION
    Try it yourselves and see what you think. I’m sure you could think of some lovely words to add. . . ? Do you have any favorite combinations? What would be marketable?

    Reply
  49. LOL, Val, thank you for starting my day with a laugh. THUD is pretty perfect for a bad day.
    The comments on here are enough to give me another entire blog!
    Merry, you’ve hit on one of the publisher’s marketing tricks–certain genres have certain “kinds” of titles. Romance would never get away with some of the mystery and literary titles you’ve used, more’s the pity. We keep hoping as we broaden the spectrum of romance, we’ll broaden their marketing ideas.
    And RevMel, you’ve exactly nailed how I developed my title word lists! Although yours is more uptodate than mine. “G” And much funnier. I started mine with words I pulled from titles on my bookshelves, back in the day, so there’s a lot of Savage, Love, and Scarlet involved.

    Reply
  50. LOL, Val, thank you for starting my day with a laugh. THUD is pretty perfect for a bad day.
    The comments on here are enough to give me another entire blog!
    Merry, you’ve hit on one of the publisher’s marketing tricks–certain genres have certain “kinds” of titles. Romance would never get away with some of the mystery and literary titles you’ve used, more’s the pity. We keep hoping as we broaden the spectrum of romance, we’ll broaden their marketing ideas.
    And RevMel, you’ve exactly nailed how I developed my title word lists! Although yours is more uptodate than mine. “G” And much funnier. I started mine with words I pulled from titles on my bookshelves, back in the day, so there’s a lot of Savage, Love, and Scarlet involved.

    Reply
  51. LOL, Val, thank you for starting my day with a laugh. THUD is pretty perfect for a bad day.
    The comments on here are enough to give me another entire blog!
    Merry, you’ve hit on one of the publisher’s marketing tricks–certain genres have certain “kinds” of titles. Romance would never get away with some of the mystery and literary titles you’ve used, more’s the pity. We keep hoping as we broaden the spectrum of romance, we’ll broaden their marketing ideas.
    And RevMel, you’ve exactly nailed how I developed my title word lists! Although yours is more uptodate than mine. “G” And much funnier. I started mine with words I pulled from titles on my bookshelves, back in the day, so there’s a lot of Savage, Love, and Scarlet involved.

    Reply
  52. LOL, Val, thank you for starting my day with a laugh. THUD is pretty perfect for a bad day.
    The comments on here are enough to give me another entire blog!
    Merry, you’ve hit on one of the publisher’s marketing tricks–certain genres have certain “kinds” of titles. Romance would never get away with some of the mystery and literary titles you’ve used, more’s the pity. We keep hoping as we broaden the spectrum of romance, we’ll broaden their marketing ideas.
    And RevMel, you’ve exactly nailed how I developed my title word lists! Although yours is more uptodate than mine. “G” And much funnier. I started mine with words I pulled from titles on my bookshelves, back in the day, so there’s a lot of Savage, Love, and Scarlet involved.

    Reply
  53. RevMelinda, too funny! The Scoundrel’s Delicious Bed—where’s my knife and fork? And how could you forget “sinful” the first time, given your profession?

    Reply
  54. RevMelinda, too funny! The Scoundrel’s Delicious Bed—where’s my knife and fork? And how could you forget “sinful” the first time, given your profession?

    Reply
  55. RevMelinda, too funny! The Scoundrel’s Delicious Bed—where’s my knife and fork? And how could you forget “sinful” the first time, given your profession?

    Reply
  56. RevMelinda, too funny! The Scoundrel’s Delicious Bed—where’s my knife and fork? And how could you forget “sinful” the first time, given your profession?

    Reply
  57. Pat, I did pull lots of these words from books on my shelf! And Maggie, I don’t know how I forgot “sinful”! Some kind of brain freeze I guess (smile). I also forgot “pirate” (group 1) and “proposal” (group 3).
    So. . .THE PIRATE’S FORBIDDEN PLEASURE, THE RAKE’S SINFUL PROPOSAL, THE BRIDES DESPERATE DILEMMA. . . (Isn’t it sad that I could amuse myself with this for hours?–there must be a mathematician among us who could tell us how many possible combinations there are. . .)

    Reply
  58. Pat, I did pull lots of these words from books on my shelf! And Maggie, I don’t know how I forgot “sinful”! Some kind of brain freeze I guess (smile). I also forgot “pirate” (group 1) and “proposal” (group 3).
    So. . .THE PIRATE’S FORBIDDEN PLEASURE, THE RAKE’S SINFUL PROPOSAL, THE BRIDES DESPERATE DILEMMA. . . (Isn’t it sad that I could amuse myself with this for hours?–there must be a mathematician among us who could tell us how many possible combinations there are. . .)

    Reply
  59. Pat, I did pull lots of these words from books on my shelf! And Maggie, I don’t know how I forgot “sinful”! Some kind of brain freeze I guess (smile). I also forgot “pirate” (group 1) and “proposal” (group 3).
    So. . .THE PIRATE’S FORBIDDEN PLEASURE, THE RAKE’S SINFUL PROPOSAL, THE BRIDES DESPERATE DILEMMA. . . (Isn’t it sad that I could amuse myself with this for hours?–there must be a mathematician among us who could tell us how many possible combinations there are. . .)

    Reply
  60. Pat, I did pull lots of these words from books on my shelf! And Maggie, I don’t know how I forgot “sinful”! Some kind of brain freeze I guess (smile). I also forgot “pirate” (group 1) and “proposal” (group 3).
    So. . .THE PIRATE’S FORBIDDEN PLEASURE, THE RAKE’S SINFUL PROPOSAL, THE BRIDES DESPERATE DILEMMA. . . (Isn’t it sad that I could amuse myself with this for hours?–there must be a mathematician among us who could tell us how many possible combinations there are. . .)

    Reply
  61. Best laugh I’ve had in ages, RevMelinda! Using your list, here’s my contribution:
    THE WICKED RAKE’S FORBIDDEN EMBRACE OF THE SCANDALOUS LADY WHO LOVED COWBOYS AND HAS A DELICIOUS PAST, INCLUDING A SECRET BABY (A NOVEL ABOUT AMNESIA)

    Reply
  62. Best laugh I’ve had in ages, RevMelinda! Using your list, here’s my contribution:
    THE WICKED RAKE’S FORBIDDEN EMBRACE OF THE SCANDALOUS LADY WHO LOVED COWBOYS AND HAS A DELICIOUS PAST, INCLUDING A SECRET BABY (A NOVEL ABOUT AMNESIA)

    Reply
  63. Best laugh I’ve had in ages, RevMelinda! Using your list, here’s my contribution:
    THE WICKED RAKE’S FORBIDDEN EMBRACE OF THE SCANDALOUS LADY WHO LOVED COWBOYS AND HAS A DELICIOUS PAST, INCLUDING A SECRET BABY (A NOVEL ABOUT AMNESIA)

    Reply
  64. Best laugh I’ve had in ages, RevMelinda! Using your list, here’s my contribution:
    THE WICKED RAKE’S FORBIDDEN EMBRACE OF THE SCANDALOUS LADY WHO LOVED COWBOYS AND HAS A DELICIOUS PAST, INCLUDING A SECRET BABY (A NOVEL ABOUT AMNESIA)

    Reply
  65. “Title Matrix” – Cool.
    The Earl’s Dangerous Masquerade
    The Rake’s Scandalous Surrender
    The Wild Lord’s Seduction
    The Stranger’s Dangerous Secret
    I’d actually read those.

    Reply
  66. “Title Matrix” – Cool.
    The Earl’s Dangerous Masquerade
    The Rake’s Scandalous Surrender
    The Wild Lord’s Seduction
    The Stranger’s Dangerous Secret
    I’d actually read those.

    Reply
  67. “Title Matrix” – Cool.
    The Earl’s Dangerous Masquerade
    The Rake’s Scandalous Surrender
    The Wild Lord’s Seduction
    The Stranger’s Dangerous Secret
    I’d actually read those.

    Reply
  68. “Title Matrix” – Cool.
    The Earl’s Dangerous Masquerade
    The Rake’s Scandalous Surrender
    The Wild Lord’s Seduction
    The Stranger’s Dangerous Secret
    I’d actually read those.

    Reply
  69. I picked up a book today just because the title tickled my fancy: Phantom of the Bathtub. I read the back and giggled, then bought it. Any book that has a ghost who likes to whisper sweet nothings in your ear while you’re bathing has a good potential for humor. 🙂

    Reply
  70. I picked up a book today just because the title tickled my fancy: Phantom of the Bathtub. I read the back and giggled, then bought it. Any book that has a ghost who likes to whisper sweet nothings in your ear while you’re bathing has a good potential for humor. 🙂

    Reply
  71. I picked up a book today just because the title tickled my fancy: Phantom of the Bathtub. I read the back and giggled, then bought it. Any book that has a ghost who likes to whisper sweet nothings in your ear while you’re bathing has a good potential for humor. 🙂

    Reply
  72. I picked up a book today just because the title tickled my fancy: Phantom of the Bathtub. I read the back and giggled, then bought it. Any book that has a ghost who likes to whisper sweet nothings in your ear while you’re bathing has a good potential for humor. 🙂

    Reply

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