It’s called WHAT? Thoughts on Titles

Cat 243 Doverby Mary Jo

Titles are an important part of how books are perceived, so this month's Ask a Wench Question was:

How do you come up with titles?  How hard is it? Do titles matter? Have you had your publisher give your books a title you didn't like?  And if that's happened, did it sell well?  <G>

Pat Rice:

Rice_Christmas200I’ve written over sixty books and a dozen novellas and coming up with a title only gets more difficult, because by now, I’ve used up every romantic word that can be put on a front cover. And over the last three decades, every possible title has surely been used at least three times, so finding a unique one… requires help, lots of help. (Fresh Christmas title, anyone?)

Before self-publishing, my editor and I used to create long lists of romantic nouns and adjectives and try to piece them together when we couldn’t agree on a title. We’ve come up with the perfect title and been shot down because another author came up with that same title sooner. Now that I’m out here on my own, I call on friends and fellow authors, and when times get desperate, I have social media to fall back on. My new Unexpected Magic series and the first three books were titled entirely by readers, because my friends and I had simply run out of Magic ideas.

If you think that making up titles sounds like fun, sign up for my newsletter http://patriciarice.com/ and see what you’re in for!

 

Cara/Andrea:

Titles. I would love to say that the Muse just waves her pen and the perfect title for a book magically appears—written in dark chocolate, of course—on my computer screen. But sadly—no. After much sturm und drang I usually manage to come up with several ideas. But in all honesty, I’m not sure why I bother. Those suggestions go to my editor, who promptly takes them to the weekly editorial meeting.

And presto, back come COMPLETELY different ones. (There must be a title gremlin in TooDangeroustoDesirethe back room of every New York publisher who takes malicious delight in tormenting authors.) Some are okay, some not so much. I then whine, and we go back and forth, tweaking and tweaking. The result usually ends up fine—in fact there are a number I really do like. (Too Dangerous to Desire, which was a RITA finalist, is one of my favorites both for the title and the gorgeous art.)

However, my favorite title story involves one of my old Signet Regencies, which was a little offbeat in that it was a romance that revolved around golf at the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland. I had what I thought was a perfectly suitable Regency-sounding title—I believe it was something like A Sporting Wager—and sent it off.

ADiamondInTheRoughA short while later, my editor called to say one of the company’s book salesmen had walked into her office, heard her talking about the story, and being an avid golfer piped up and said, “Why don’t you call it A Diamond In The Rough?” Well, it was an absolutely brilliant suggestion! The heroine was a boy caddie in disguise so truly was a diamond on the rough. And of course “Diamond" is a Regency term for lovely lady, and “Rough” is a golf term for the long grass bordering the fairway. I still smile when I think about that title. (And hey, I still think the book is pretty good!)

Joanna here:

The way titles have worked so far for me is I kind of negotiate with the editor and we settle on something we can both live with.

I don't think the publisher would make me use a title that distressed the heck out of me. So far, there's been nothing worse than puzzlement. For instance, the publishing house really liked My Lord and Spymaster for a book that contains neither a Lord nor a Spymaster. The titles Forbidden Rose and Black Hawk didn't seem to me to have much to do with the story so I went back into the manuscript and added stuff to make them Rogue Spyfit.

I think titles don't necessarily need to make sense. I may be too literal minded.

What would I do if turned loose on my own?  I named a short story My True Love Hath My Heart. I suspect that's an unmarketably long title.

But I did title Rogue Spy. That was my suggestion and the publisher liked it. Two words, short and punchy. I seem to have struck the right note. Maybe I'm learning.

AccweddingsmllAnne here:

When I'm writing a book, I just use the hero and heroine's name to label the manuscript — hence "Abby & Max", or "Freddy & Damaris." But when it comes to giving the book a title, my input varies. I'm not great at thinking up the perfect title — I'm usually too close to the  story — so I usually brainstorm titles with some writing friends and come up with a good short list, which I give to my editor. 

Some editors are open to author suggestions, others take them to marketing  meetings. If they go to a marketing meeting, I'm usually given a different title altogether, often one that doesn't necessarily reflect the book all that well. For instance; The Stolen Princess (she wasn't stolen, she ran away), His Captive Lady (she
wasn't a captive), The Accidental Wedding (an accident threw them together but the wedding was planned), To Catch a Bride (he was actually escaping a bride).  Of  that entire series, only Bride By Mistake was my suggestion, and fitted the story as well as pleasing marketing.

BridebyMistakeBut over the years I've learned not to fret too much over titles.  Marketing usually has the final word and I have to hope they know what  they're doing. If it's really wrong, or a bad fit, I will fight it, but otherwise, I'm philosophical about losing a title I like, as long as I think the new one doesn't misrepresent the story too much, and will help sell the book. I think a good cover is much more important than a snappy title.

 

 

Nicola:

I usually have a working title for my manuscripts – House of Shadows was called Winter’s Shadow and my current WIP is called Wolf Cottage. That one definitely won’t make it on to the cover! Very few of my titles over the years have been my choice. My editor asks me for suggestions, goes away to discuss the ideas with the marketing team and comes back with new suggestions. Then we negotiate.

I’ve had some great titles and also some less great ones. My first ever title was one I chose myself. It was True Colours. I was very heavily influenced by Georgette Heyer in those days, but it was relevant to the story!

MistressbyMidnight-USI loved Whisper of Scandal and Unmasked. I was less keen on The Virtuous Cyprian and The Chaperon Bride as titles. A lot of it is personal taste, though, as well as what the publisher thinks works.

One title does stick in my mind and that was Mistress by Midnight.  There were no mistresses in the story and nothing in particular happened by midnight but my editor was extremely keen on the title and there was no changing it. A number of readers pointed out the irrelevance but the book sold really well. Whether that was due to the title or the gorgeous cover or both, I don’t know, but I’m not complaining!

Jo Beverley:

In my opinion, titles are very important, but no one is sure what works. Look at "girl" SomethingWickedrecently. Also, why publishers copy title styles. I have one called Forbidden because one word titles were the thing. There were three other Forbiddens that year. Couldn't change their mind.

A good title will capture the essence of the conflict of the book and immediately resonate with a reader. I come up with my own titles and some come easier than others. My favourite is probably Something Wicked, which popped from something the heroine said.

 

Susan:

For some reason, I love thinking up titles. Often a title is one of the first things to come to me, and often it helps determine the story. The Stone Maiden was one of those. I visited a lonely ruin in Scotland, got an idea to write a story about a stone carver, and the title popped in about the same time, bringing with it a good bit of story. When that happens, it gives me a better grasp of the whole (if unwritten) story.

Most of my titles are mine–only two that I can think of came from an editor, though there's usually editorial input and sometimes we go over a few possibilities. With Lady Macbeth LadyMacbeth, my working title was – ta daaa! – Lady Macbeth. Early editor feedback said the theatrical Macbeth superstition made them uncomfortable re: sales, so the draft went through two more working titles (my favorite was The Last Celtic Queen, theirs was Rue of the Sorrows)–until they finally changed it back to Lady Macbeth. Call a spade a spade, as it were.

I love playing around with my friends' titles too, so we sometimes brainstorm and come up with some possibles. I have long lists of titles stashed away, and I'll look at those now and then and think, ooh, I like that one, haven't used it yet, what sort of story … hmm….

Mary Jo again.

I haven't much to add that other Wenches haven't already said.  I agree that it's usually a negotiation, with marketing probably getting the biggest vote.  Occasionally when we've had trouble finding a title, the book has been given a title I didn't love, but never one that I hated.

I have found that some titles come really easily, and some are real screaming-and-hair-pulling sessions.  That's when I consult my friends.  (Susan is particularly good with coming up with titles, which is probably why she actually enjoys working on them.  <G>)

Neverlessthanalady150For my current Lost Lords series with Kensington, the only difficult title was the first, which ended up as Loving a Lost Lord.  All the rest fell into place easily once I convinced them to go with reverse twist titles: Never Less than a Lady, Nowhere Near Respectable, No Longer a Gentleman, Sometimes a Rogue, Not Quite a Wife, and Not Always a Saint.  I came up with all of those, and I think they're fairly distinctive and also appropriate to the stories.  It isn't always that easy!  But one does get better at title hunting, fortunately.

You're all readers.  What are some of the best titles you've come across?  And what are some of the worst? <G>

Mary Jo

110 thoughts on “It’s called WHAT? Thoughts on Titles”

  1. Well, that was a lovely walk down memory lane! Kind of like a class reunion … I particularly remember Cara/Andrea’s Diamond in the Rough title, so apropos (and I adore a good pun).
    Along the same lines I loved Emily Hendrickson’s Harriet’s Beau, as her Harriet’s focus was archery. I even wrote her about my enjoyment at the time, which resulted in a (alas, too brief) penpal-like exchange about her Regency reference book. She cared about the facts and the language, and I really appreciated it. I just looked over her author page at Amazon and if you want to see a fine set of titles, follow me there. She was a prolific Regency author and I’d guess, from the way they knit together, that she got to title most of her books herself.
    Mary Jo, you get extra points for those “negative” titles, they are a refreshing change from all the peerage-and-lust titles so common these days. A good title is enough to make me give a book a second glance even when the cover turns me off. But the good titles usually come on good covers, as well. I like my Regencies with a class act, can you tell?

    Reply
  2. Well, that was a lovely walk down memory lane! Kind of like a class reunion … I particularly remember Cara/Andrea’s Diamond in the Rough title, so apropos (and I adore a good pun).
    Along the same lines I loved Emily Hendrickson’s Harriet’s Beau, as her Harriet’s focus was archery. I even wrote her about my enjoyment at the time, which resulted in a (alas, too brief) penpal-like exchange about her Regency reference book. She cared about the facts and the language, and I really appreciated it. I just looked over her author page at Amazon and if you want to see a fine set of titles, follow me there. She was a prolific Regency author and I’d guess, from the way they knit together, that she got to title most of her books herself.
    Mary Jo, you get extra points for those “negative” titles, they are a refreshing change from all the peerage-and-lust titles so common these days. A good title is enough to make me give a book a second glance even when the cover turns me off. But the good titles usually come on good covers, as well. I like my Regencies with a class act, can you tell?

    Reply
  3. Well, that was a lovely walk down memory lane! Kind of like a class reunion … I particularly remember Cara/Andrea’s Diamond in the Rough title, so apropos (and I adore a good pun).
    Along the same lines I loved Emily Hendrickson’s Harriet’s Beau, as her Harriet’s focus was archery. I even wrote her about my enjoyment at the time, which resulted in a (alas, too brief) penpal-like exchange about her Regency reference book. She cared about the facts and the language, and I really appreciated it. I just looked over her author page at Amazon and if you want to see a fine set of titles, follow me there. She was a prolific Regency author and I’d guess, from the way they knit together, that she got to title most of her books herself.
    Mary Jo, you get extra points for those “negative” titles, they are a refreshing change from all the peerage-and-lust titles so common these days. A good title is enough to make me give a book a second glance even when the cover turns me off. But the good titles usually come on good covers, as well. I like my Regencies with a class act, can you tell?

    Reply
  4. Well, that was a lovely walk down memory lane! Kind of like a class reunion … I particularly remember Cara/Andrea’s Diamond in the Rough title, so apropos (and I adore a good pun).
    Along the same lines I loved Emily Hendrickson’s Harriet’s Beau, as her Harriet’s focus was archery. I even wrote her about my enjoyment at the time, which resulted in a (alas, too brief) penpal-like exchange about her Regency reference book. She cared about the facts and the language, and I really appreciated it. I just looked over her author page at Amazon and if you want to see a fine set of titles, follow me there. She was a prolific Regency author and I’d guess, from the way they knit together, that she got to title most of her books herself.
    Mary Jo, you get extra points for those “negative” titles, they are a refreshing change from all the peerage-and-lust titles so common these days. A good title is enough to make me give a book a second glance even when the cover turns me off. But the good titles usually come on good covers, as well. I like my Regencies with a class act, can you tell?

    Reply
  5. Well, that was a lovely walk down memory lane! Kind of like a class reunion … I particularly remember Cara/Andrea’s Diamond in the Rough title, so apropos (and I adore a good pun).
    Along the same lines I loved Emily Hendrickson’s Harriet’s Beau, as her Harriet’s focus was archery. I even wrote her about my enjoyment at the time, which resulted in a (alas, too brief) penpal-like exchange about her Regency reference book. She cared about the facts and the language, and I really appreciated it. I just looked over her author page at Amazon and if you want to see a fine set of titles, follow me there. She was a prolific Regency author and I’d guess, from the way they knit together, that she got to title most of her books herself.
    Mary Jo, you get extra points for those “negative” titles, they are a refreshing change from all the peerage-and-lust titles so common these days. A good title is enough to make me give a book a second glance even when the cover turns me off. But the good titles usually come on good covers, as well. I like my Regencies with a class act, can you tell?

    Reply
  6. Some titles are such a misfit that I find I have given the book my own title. Sometimes and original title has been changed by marketing but my mind keeps finding the original title echoed in the text and that becomes my title! This sort of title makes it hard for me to find the book in my database. (A British Title: Happy Now I Go” was retitled “Dark Legacy” for the U. S. market. I could NEVER remember the name! My paperback died and the used book market found me a British Hardbound copy. Now I Happily Own “Happy Now I Go!” And a Science Fiction short story became the Novel “This Immortal;” I have always called it “Call Me Conrad.” I said this at a Panel at a SF convention this fall and the whole room agreed with me!)
    I prefer titles that say something about the content, but other than instances like the above, I don’t much care. Titles are a matter of inventory control in my mind.

    Reply
  7. Some titles are such a misfit that I find I have given the book my own title. Sometimes and original title has been changed by marketing but my mind keeps finding the original title echoed in the text and that becomes my title! This sort of title makes it hard for me to find the book in my database. (A British Title: Happy Now I Go” was retitled “Dark Legacy” for the U. S. market. I could NEVER remember the name! My paperback died and the used book market found me a British Hardbound copy. Now I Happily Own “Happy Now I Go!” And a Science Fiction short story became the Novel “This Immortal;” I have always called it “Call Me Conrad.” I said this at a Panel at a SF convention this fall and the whole room agreed with me!)
    I prefer titles that say something about the content, but other than instances like the above, I don’t much care. Titles are a matter of inventory control in my mind.

    Reply
  8. Some titles are such a misfit that I find I have given the book my own title. Sometimes and original title has been changed by marketing but my mind keeps finding the original title echoed in the text and that becomes my title! This sort of title makes it hard for me to find the book in my database. (A British Title: Happy Now I Go” was retitled “Dark Legacy” for the U. S. market. I could NEVER remember the name! My paperback died and the used book market found me a British Hardbound copy. Now I Happily Own “Happy Now I Go!” And a Science Fiction short story became the Novel “This Immortal;” I have always called it “Call Me Conrad.” I said this at a Panel at a SF convention this fall and the whole room agreed with me!)
    I prefer titles that say something about the content, but other than instances like the above, I don’t much care. Titles are a matter of inventory control in my mind.

    Reply
  9. Some titles are such a misfit that I find I have given the book my own title. Sometimes and original title has been changed by marketing but my mind keeps finding the original title echoed in the text and that becomes my title! This sort of title makes it hard for me to find the book in my database. (A British Title: Happy Now I Go” was retitled “Dark Legacy” for the U. S. market. I could NEVER remember the name! My paperback died and the used book market found me a British Hardbound copy. Now I Happily Own “Happy Now I Go!” And a Science Fiction short story became the Novel “This Immortal;” I have always called it “Call Me Conrad.” I said this at a Panel at a SF convention this fall and the whole room agreed with me!)
    I prefer titles that say something about the content, but other than instances like the above, I don’t much care. Titles are a matter of inventory control in my mind.

    Reply
  10. Some titles are such a misfit that I find I have given the book my own title. Sometimes and original title has been changed by marketing but my mind keeps finding the original title echoed in the text and that becomes my title! This sort of title makes it hard for me to find the book in my database. (A British Title: Happy Now I Go” was retitled “Dark Legacy” for the U. S. market. I could NEVER remember the name! My paperback died and the used book market found me a British Hardbound copy. Now I Happily Own “Happy Now I Go!” And a Science Fiction short story became the Novel “This Immortal;” I have always called it “Call Me Conrad.” I said this at a Panel at a SF convention this fall and the whole room agreed with me!)
    I prefer titles that say something about the content, but other than instances like the above, I don’t much care. Titles are a matter of inventory control in my mind.

    Reply
  11. I’ve so often had marketing departments change titles I thought were perfect that nowadays I just call them Liss #10 or Rosamond #3 and don’t even try to come up with a list of possible titles until after I turn in the manuscript. Then, more often than not, marketing decides on something else entirely. One nice thing about reissuing backlist titles is that I could use my original titles for the ebooks of some of the category romances I wrote during the 90s. Separated Sisters went back to being Family Lies and Hearth, Home, and Hope is once again The Rapunzel Trap.

    Reply
  12. I’ve so often had marketing departments change titles I thought were perfect that nowadays I just call them Liss #10 or Rosamond #3 and don’t even try to come up with a list of possible titles until after I turn in the manuscript. Then, more often than not, marketing decides on something else entirely. One nice thing about reissuing backlist titles is that I could use my original titles for the ebooks of some of the category romances I wrote during the 90s. Separated Sisters went back to being Family Lies and Hearth, Home, and Hope is once again The Rapunzel Trap.

    Reply
  13. I’ve so often had marketing departments change titles I thought were perfect that nowadays I just call them Liss #10 or Rosamond #3 and don’t even try to come up with a list of possible titles until after I turn in the manuscript. Then, more often than not, marketing decides on something else entirely. One nice thing about reissuing backlist titles is that I could use my original titles for the ebooks of some of the category romances I wrote during the 90s. Separated Sisters went back to being Family Lies and Hearth, Home, and Hope is once again The Rapunzel Trap.

    Reply
  14. I’ve so often had marketing departments change titles I thought were perfect that nowadays I just call them Liss #10 or Rosamond #3 and don’t even try to come up with a list of possible titles until after I turn in the manuscript. Then, more often than not, marketing decides on something else entirely. One nice thing about reissuing backlist titles is that I could use my original titles for the ebooks of some of the category romances I wrote during the 90s. Separated Sisters went back to being Family Lies and Hearth, Home, and Hope is once again The Rapunzel Trap.

    Reply
  15. I’ve so often had marketing departments change titles I thought were perfect that nowadays I just call them Liss #10 or Rosamond #3 and don’t even try to come up with a list of possible titles until after I turn in the manuscript. Then, more often than not, marketing decides on something else entirely. One nice thing about reissuing backlist titles is that I could use my original titles for the ebooks of some of the category romances I wrote during the 90s. Separated Sisters went back to being Family Lies and Hearth, Home, and Hope is once again The Rapunzel Trap.

    Reply
  16. I do find it interesting that a common theme is that “marketing” will like, and often insist on, a title which is not actually relevant to the book and in some cases is positively misleading! I must be too literal minded as well, because I’ve always assumed that a title gave a clue as to what a book is about. I now have a good reason (not excuse!) for often forgetting the titles of books I’ve liked.

    Reply
  17. I do find it interesting that a common theme is that “marketing” will like, and often insist on, a title which is not actually relevant to the book and in some cases is positively misleading! I must be too literal minded as well, because I’ve always assumed that a title gave a clue as to what a book is about. I now have a good reason (not excuse!) for often forgetting the titles of books I’ve liked.

    Reply
  18. I do find it interesting that a common theme is that “marketing” will like, and often insist on, a title which is not actually relevant to the book and in some cases is positively misleading! I must be too literal minded as well, because I’ve always assumed that a title gave a clue as to what a book is about. I now have a good reason (not excuse!) for often forgetting the titles of books I’ve liked.

    Reply
  19. I do find it interesting that a common theme is that “marketing” will like, and often insist on, a title which is not actually relevant to the book and in some cases is positively misleading! I must be too literal minded as well, because I’ve always assumed that a title gave a clue as to what a book is about. I now have a good reason (not excuse!) for often forgetting the titles of books I’ve liked.

    Reply
  20. I do find it interesting that a common theme is that “marketing” will like, and often insist on, a title which is not actually relevant to the book and in some cases is positively misleading! I must be too literal minded as well, because I’ve always assumed that a title gave a clue as to what a book is about. I now have a good reason (not excuse!) for often forgetting the titles of books I’ve liked.

    Reply
  21. “Marketing” seems to have very definite ideas about what will sell, and a buzzword often gets into the title without any necessary connection to the book. My first book, which I had thought of as The Etruscan Adventure, turned into Lady Elinor’s Wicked Adventures, even though it is far from wicked. At least the adventure remained.

    Reply
  22. “Marketing” seems to have very definite ideas about what will sell, and a buzzword often gets into the title without any necessary connection to the book. My first book, which I had thought of as The Etruscan Adventure, turned into Lady Elinor’s Wicked Adventures, even though it is far from wicked. At least the adventure remained.

    Reply
  23. “Marketing” seems to have very definite ideas about what will sell, and a buzzword often gets into the title without any necessary connection to the book. My first book, which I had thought of as The Etruscan Adventure, turned into Lady Elinor’s Wicked Adventures, even though it is far from wicked. At least the adventure remained.

    Reply
  24. “Marketing” seems to have very definite ideas about what will sell, and a buzzword often gets into the title without any necessary connection to the book. My first book, which I had thought of as The Etruscan Adventure, turned into Lady Elinor’s Wicked Adventures, even though it is far from wicked. At least the adventure remained.

    Reply
  25. “Marketing” seems to have very definite ideas about what will sell, and a buzzword often gets into the title without any necessary connection to the book. My first book, which I had thought of as The Etruscan Adventure, turned into Lady Elinor’s Wicked Adventures, even though it is far from wicked. At least the adventure remained.

    Reply
  26. I do pay a great deal of attention to titles. I have been known to buy books based solely on their titles. As a grad student, I had the title for my dissertation before I wrote even the prospectus.
    I have a particular fondness for evocative titles that suggest layers of meaning. Milan Kundera’s The Book of Laughter and Forgetting is probably my favorite title. Karen White has some great titles–The Memory of Water, The Lost Hours, Sea Change. One of my online groups, largely made up of English majors, once had a long and lively discussion about the meanings of Mary Jo’s Thunder and Roses. And even though Anne’s His Captive Bride is one of my favorite books, I admit that title always makes me wince.

    Reply
  27. I do pay a great deal of attention to titles. I have been known to buy books based solely on their titles. As a grad student, I had the title for my dissertation before I wrote even the prospectus.
    I have a particular fondness for evocative titles that suggest layers of meaning. Milan Kundera’s The Book of Laughter and Forgetting is probably my favorite title. Karen White has some great titles–The Memory of Water, The Lost Hours, Sea Change. One of my online groups, largely made up of English majors, once had a long and lively discussion about the meanings of Mary Jo’s Thunder and Roses. And even though Anne’s His Captive Bride is one of my favorite books, I admit that title always makes me wince.

    Reply
  28. I do pay a great deal of attention to titles. I have been known to buy books based solely on their titles. As a grad student, I had the title for my dissertation before I wrote even the prospectus.
    I have a particular fondness for evocative titles that suggest layers of meaning. Milan Kundera’s The Book of Laughter and Forgetting is probably my favorite title. Karen White has some great titles–The Memory of Water, The Lost Hours, Sea Change. One of my online groups, largely made up of English majors, once had a long and lively discussion about the meanings of Mary Jo’s Thunder and Roses. And even though Anne’s His Captive Bride is one of my favorite books, I admit that title always makes me wince.

    Reply
  29. I do pay a great deal of attention to titles. I have been known to buy books based solely on their titles. As a grad student, I had the title for my dissertation before I wrote even the prospectus.
    I have a particular fondness for evocative titles that suggest layers of meaning. Milan Kundera’s The Book of Laughter and Forgetting is probably my favorite title. Karen White has some great titles–The Memory of Water, The Lost Hours, Sea Change. One of my online groups, largely made up of English majors, once had a long and lively discussion about the meanings of Mary Jo’s Thunder and Roses. And even though Anne’s His Captive Bride is one of my favorite books, I admit that title always makes me wince.

    Reply
  30. I do pay a great deal of attention to titles. I have been known to buy books based solely on their titles. As a grad student, I had the title for my dissertation before I wrote even the prospectus.
    I have a particular fondness for evocative titles that suggest layers of meaning. Milan Kundera’s The Book of Laughter and Forgetting is probably my favorite title. Karen White has some great titles–The Memory of Water, The Lost Hours, Sea Change. One of my online groups, largely made up of English majors, once had a long and lively discussion about the meanings of Mary Jo’s Thunder and Roses. And even though Anne’s His Captive Bride is one of my favorite books, I admit that title always makes me wince.

    Reply
  31. Hallo, Hallo dear Wenches,
    I do agree – titling a story is a bit tricky, oft-times I tend to go with my own instincts when it comes to naming my manuscripts, but when your an established author or even a newly published one – I imagine the tension and stress about titles gets a bit too haywire to properly shift through w/o a few gray hairs! I am unsure what will happen when I go to publish my stories, if the titles they’ve had all along will hold true or if they will go into the ever present ‘re-titling’ all authors dread.
    The strange bit for me, is generally I lean on the side of authors settling on the titles for their own stories moreso than a marketing or publicity team. Too many times, when I find out the ‘original’ title of a novel I’ve loved would have befit the story more keenly than the one ‘someone’ other than the author chose to give it. Sometimes the marketing end of the book world overthinks itself, as most titles can be marketed if the readers who are already invested in interest in that author OR in picking up a #newtomeauthor altogether – will find the title most fetching as a ‘next read’. At least this is IMHO and based on my own experiences. 🙂
    I had to shake my head about the fate of Ms Gracie’s titles – goodness, isn’t that a bit distracting though? I wonder why they had the wrong impressions of the stories and eluded to something that wasn’t even inside them? Hmm. You have a great attitude about this though – champion!
    Definitely *loved!* learning about “Lady MacBeth” and the fuller irony is that it’s how the title conveys a certain literary history of character that sweetened the appeal for me to pick up a copy of it to read! I have the hardback on my shelf – one of my New Year must reads by half! I have waited so long to soak inside it, and it was a wonderful library sale find – gently read, and the jacket was brilliant!
    By the by, I was on Ms King’s website *so long!* reading all the lovely content she provided (at that time, this is a few years back!) that I felt I was half inside her mind and the heart of her worlds! Thus, I knew I had to find a copy of ‘Lady Macbeth’!
    (laughs) I sometimes find my own muse is quite a curious wonder and I too, jot down titles and serial names for stories that will be in sequence rather than one-offs. I find selecting titles helps me organise my thoughts on that particular story and world – helps me get my mind in the right place to explore it all. Serving as a bit of an anchour but also, a license to see where I can take it.
    Ms Putney I found your Lost Lord titles at my local library – I was so happily surprised! I’ve requested “Loving a Lost Lord” and hope it will arrive shortly after the Christmas holidays! (if not before?)The title left me curious, but it’s the rest of the titles that had a bit of cheeky humour inside them. Now I know why!
    Ooh dear me – best titles? I’ll have to come back lateron after I think on this for a spell! lol Love the topic, today!

    Reply
  32. Hallo, Hallo dear Wenches,
    I do agree – titling a story is a bit tricky, oft-times I tend to go with my own instincts when it comes to naming my manuscripts, but when your an established author or even a newly published one – I imagine the tension and stress about titles gets a bit too haywire to properly shift through w/o a few gray hairs! I am unsure what will happen when I go to publish my stories, if the titles they’ve had all along will hold true or if they will go into the ever present ‘re-titling’ all authors dread.
    The strange bit for me, is generally I lean on the side of authors settling on the titles for their own stories moreso than a marketing or publicity team. Too many times, when I find out the ‘original’ title of a novel I’ve loved would have befit the story more keenly than the one ‘someone’ other than the author chose to give it. Sometimes the marketing end of the book world overthinks itself, as most titles can be marketed if the readers who are already invested in interest in that author OR in picking up a #newtomeauthor altogether – will find the title most fetching as a ‘next read’. At least this is IMHO and based on my own experiences. 🙂
    I had to shake my head about the fate of Ms Gracie’s titles – goodness, isn’t that a bit distracting though? I wonder why they had the wrong impressions of the stories and eluded to something that wasn’t even inside them? Hmm. You have a great attitude about this though – champion!
    Definitely *loved!* learning about “Lady MacBeth” and the fuller irony is that it’s how the title conveys a certain literary history of character that sweetened the appeal for me to pick up a copy of it to read! I have the hardback on my shelf – one of my New Year must reads by half! I have waited so long to soak inside it, and it was a wonderful library sale find – gently read, and the jacket was brilliant!
    By the by, I was on Ms King’s website *so long!* reading all the lovely content she provided (at that time, this is a few years back!) that I felt I was half inside her mind and the heart of her worlds! Thus, I knew I had to find a copy of ‘Lady Macbeth’!
    (laughs) I sometimes find my own muse is quite a curious wonder and I too, jot down titles and serial names for stories that will be in sequence rather than one-offs. I find selecting titles helps me organise my thoughts on that particular story and world – helps me get my mind in the right place to explore it all. Serving as a bit of an anchour but also, a license to see where I can take it.
    Ms Putney I found your Lost Lord titles at my local library – I was so happily surprised! I’ve requested “Loving a Lost Lord” and hope it will arrive shortly after the Christmas holidays! (if not before?)The title left me curious, but it’s the rest of the titles that had a bit of cheeky humour inside them. Now I know why!
    Ooh dear me – best titles? I’ll have to come back lateron after I think on this for a spell! lol Love the topic, today!

    Reply
  33. Hallo, Hallo dear Wenches,
    I do agree – titling a story is a bit tricky, oft-times I tend to go with my own instincts when it comes to naming my manuscripts, but when your an established author or even a newly published one – I imagine the tension and stress about titles gets a bit too haywire to properly shift through w/o a few gray hairs! I am unsure what will happen when I go to publish my stories, if the titles they’ve had all along will hold true or if they will go into the ever present ‘re-titling’ all authors dread.
    The strange bit for me, is generally I lean on the side of authors settling on the titles for their own stories moreso than a marketing or publicity team. Too many times, when I find out the ‘original’ title of a novel I’ve loved would have befit the story more keenly than the one ‘someone’ other than the author chose to give it. Sometimes the marketing end of the book world overthinks itself, as most titles can be marketed if the readers who are already invested in interest in that author OR in picking up a #newtomeauthor altogether – will find the title most fetching as a ‘next read’. At least this is IMHO and based on my own experiences. 🙂
    I had to shake my head about the fate of Ms Gracie’s titles – goodness, isn’t that a bit distracting though? I wonder why they had the wrong impressions of the stories and eluded to something that wasn’t even inside them? Hmm. You have a great attitude about this though – champion!
    Definitely *loved!* learning about “Lady MacBeth” and the fuller irony is that it’s how the title conveys a certain literary history of character that sweetened the appeal for me to pick up a copy of it to read! I have the hardback on my shelf – one of my New Year must reads by half! I have waited so long to soak inside it, and it was a wonderful library sale find – gently read, and the jacket was brilliant!
    By the by, I was on Ms King’s website *so long!* reading all the lovely content she provided (at that time, this is a few years back!) that I felt I was half inside her mind and the heart of her worlds! Thus, I knew I had to find a copy of ‘Lady Macbeth’!
    (laughs) I sometimes find my own muse is quite a curious wonder and I too, jot down titles and serial names for stories that will be in sequence rather than one-offs. I find selecting titles helps me organise my thoughts on that particular story and world – helps me get my mind in the right place to explore it all. Serving as a bit of an anchour but also, a license to see where I can take it.
    Ms Putney I found your Lost Lord titles at my local library – I was so happily surprised! I’ve requested “Loving a Lost Lord” and hope it will arrive shortly after the Christmas holidays! (if not before?)The title left me curious, but it’s the rest of the titles that had a bit of cheeky humour inside them. Now I know why!
    Ooh dear me – best titles? I’ll have to come back lateron after I think on this for a spell! lol Love the topic, today!

    Reply
  34. Hallo, Hallo dear Wenches,
    I do agree – titling a story is a bit tricky, oft-times I tend to go with my own instincts when it comes to naming my manuscripts, but when your an established author or even a newly published one – I imagine the tension and stress about titles gets a bit too haywire to properly shift through w/o a few gray hairs! I am unsure what will happen when I go to publish my stories, if the titles they’ve had all along will hold true or if they will go into the ever present ‘re-titling’ all authors dread.
    The strange bit for me, is generally I lean on the side of authors settling on the titles for their own stories moreso than a marketing or publicity team. Too many times, when I find out the ‘original’ title of a novel I’ve loved would have befit the story more keenly than the one ‘someone’ other than the author chose to give it. Sometimes the marketing end of the book world overthinks itself, as most titles can be marketed if the readers who are already invested in interest in that author OR in picking up a #newtomeauthor altogether – will find the title most fetching as a ‘next read’. At least this is IMHO and based on my own experiences. 🙂
    I had to shake my head about the fate of Ms Gracie’s titles – goodness, isn’t that a bit distracting though? I wonder why they had the wrong impressions of the stories and eluded to something that wasn’t even inside them? Hmm. You have a great attitude about this though – champion!
    Definitely *loved!* learning about “Lady MacBeth” and the fuller irony is that it’s how the title conveys a certain literary history of character that sweetened the appeal for me to pick up a copy of it to read! I have the hardback on my shelf – one of my New Year must reads by half! I have waited so long to soak inside it, and it was a wonderful library sale find – gently read, and the jacket was brilliant!
    By the by, I was on Ms King’s website *so long!* reading all the lovely content she provided (at that time, this is a few years back!) that I felt I was half inside her mind and the heart of her worlds! Thus, I knew I had to find a copy of ‘Lady Macbeth’!
    (laughs) I sometimes find my own muse is quite a curious wonder and I too, jot down titles and serial names for stories that will be in sequence rather than one-offs. I find selecting titles helps me organise my thoughts on that particular story and world – helps me get my mind in the right place to explore it all. Serving as a bit of an anchour but also, a license to see where I can take it.
    Ms Putney I found your Lost Lord titles at my local library – I was so happily surprised! I’ve requested “Loving a Lost Lord” and hope it will arrive shortly after the Christmas holidays! (if not before?)The title left me curious, but it’s the rest of the titles that had a bit of cheeky humour inside them. Now I know why!
    Ooh dear me – best titles? I’ll have to come back lateron after I think on this for a spell! lol Love the topic, today!

    Reply
  35. Hallo, Hallo dear Wenches,
    I do agree – titling a story is a bit tricky, oft-times I tend to go with my own instincts when it comes to naming my manuscripts, but when your an established author or even a newly published one – I imagine the tension and stress about titles gets a bit too haywire to properly shift through w/o a few gray hairs! I am unsure what will happen when I go to publish my stories, if the titles they’ve had all along will hold true or if they will go into the ever present ‘re-titling’ all authors dread.
    The strange bit for me, is generally I lean on the side of authors settling on the titles for their own stories moreso than a marketing or publicity team. Too many times, when I find out the ‘original’ title of a novel I’ve loved would have befit the story more keenly than the one ‘someone’ other than the author chose to give it. Sometimes the marketing end of the book world overthinks itself, as most titles can be marketed if the readers who are already invested in interest in that author OR in picking up a #newtomeauthor altogether – will find the title most fetching as a ‘next read’. At least this is IMHO and based on my own experiences. 🙂
    I had to shake my head about the fate of Ms Gracie’s titles – goodness, isn’t that a bit distracting though? I wonder why they had the wrong impressions of the stories and eluded to something that wasn’t even inside them? Hmm. You have a great attitude about this though – champion!
    Definitely *loved!* learning about “Lady MacBeth” and the fuller irony is that it’s how the title conveys a certain literary history of character that sweetened the appeal for me to pick up a copy of it to read! I have the hardback on my shelf – one of my New Year must reads by half! I have waited so long to soak inside it, and it was a wonderful library sale find – gently read, and the jacket was brilliant!
    By the by, I was on Ms King’s website *so long!* reading all the lovely content she provided (at that time, this is a few years back!) that I felt I was half inside her mind and the heart of her worlds! Thus, I knew I had to find a copy of ‘Lady Macbeth’!
    (laughs) I sometimes find my own muse is quite a curious wonder and I too, jot down titles and serial names for stories that will be in sequence rather than one-offs. I find selecting titles helps me organise my thoughts on that particular story and world – helps me get my mind in the right place to explore it all. Serving as a bit of an anchour but also, a license to see where I can take it.
    Ms Putney I found your Lost Lord titles at my local library – I was so happily surprised! I’ve requested “Loving a Lost Lord” and hope it will arrive shortly after the Christmas holidays! (if not before?)The title left me curious, but it’s the rest of the titles that had a bit of cheeky humour inside them. Now I know why!
    Ooh dear me – best titles? I’ll have to come back lateron after I think on this for a spell! lol Love the topic, today!

    Reply
  36. Mary M,
    Emily Hendrickson did indeed do most of her own titles, and she’d be tickled to know you’ve enjoy them so. A definite class act.
    I’m glad that you’ve also enjoyed my ‘negative’ titles. At the least, they’re different, in a non-lust and non-lord way. *G*

    Reply
  37. Mary M,
    Emily Hendrickson did indeed do most of her own titles, and she’d be tickled to know you’ve enjoy them so. A definite class act.
    I’m glad that you’ve also enjoyed my ‘negative’ titles. At the least, they’re different, in a non-lust and non-lord way. *G*

    Reply
  38. Mary M,
    Emily Hendrickson did indeed do most of her own titles, and she’d be tickled to know you’ve enjoy them so. A definite class act.
    I’m glad that you’ve also enjoyed my ‘negative’ titles. At the least, they’re different, in a non-lust and non-lord way. *G*

    Reply
  39. Mary M,
    Emily Hendrickson did indeed do most of her own titles, and she’d be tickled to know you’ve enjoy them so. A definite class act.
    I’m glad that you’ve also enjoyed my ‘negative’ titles. At the least, they’re different, in a non-lust and non-lord way. *G*

    Reply
  40. Mary M,
    Emily Hendrickson did indeed do most of her own titles, and she’d be tickled to know you’ve enjoy them so. A definite class act.
    I’m glad that you’ve also enjoyed my ‘negative’ titles. At the least, they’re different, in a non-lust and non-lord way. *G*

    Reply
  41. Sue, LOL about how titles are a form of inventory control. Like you, a title change, or more than one title, usually leaves me hopelessly confused. I have the same trouble with authors who use a pseudonym, but I know them by their real names. My brain shorts out and I can’t remember what to call them.

    Reply
  42. Sue, LOL about how titles are a form of inventory control. Like you, a title change, or more than one title, usually leaves me hopelessly confused. I have the same trouble with authors who use a pseudonym, but I know them by their real names. My brain shorts out and I can’t remember what to call them.

    Reply
  43. Sue, LOL about how titles are a form of inventory control. Like you, a title change, or more than one title, usually leaves me hopelessly confused. I have the same trouble with authors who use a pseudonym, but I know them by their real names. My brain shorts out and I can’t remember what to call them.

    Reply
  44. Sue, LOL about how titles are a form of inventory control. Like you, a title change, or more than one title, usually leaves me hopelessly confused. I have the same trouble with authors who use a pseudonym, but I know them by their real names. My brain shorts out and I can’t remember what to call them.

    Reply
  45. Sue, LOL about how titles are a form of inventory control. Like you, a title change, or more than one title, usually leaves me hopelessly confused. I have the same trouble with authors who use a pseudonym, but I know them by their real names. My brain shorts out and I can’t remember what to call them.

    Reply
  46. The irritating thing about marketing is that sometimes they’re right. *G* I really like THE ETRUSCAN ADVENTURE, but perhaps LADY ELINOR’S WICKED ADVENTURES gives a better idea of what king of story. (Hmmm, maybke LADY ELINOR’S ETRUSCAN ADVENTURE. That might have worked!)

    Reply
  47. The irritating thing about marketing is that sometimes they’re right. *G* I really like THE ETRUSCAN ADVENTURE, but perhaps LADY ELINOR’S WICKED ADVENTURES gives a better idea of what king of story. (Hmmm, maybke LADY ELINOR’S ETRUSCAN ADVENTURE. That might have worked!)

    Reply
  48. The irritating thing about marketing is that sometimes they’re right. *G* I really like THE ETRUSCAN ADVENTURE, but perhaps LADY ELINOR’S WICKED ADVENTURES gives a better idea of what king of story. (Hmmm, maybke LADY ELINOR’S ETRUSCAN ADVENTURE. That might have worked!)

    Reply
  49. The irritating thing about marketing is that sometimes they’re right. *G* I really like THE ETRUSCAN ADVENTURE, but perhaps LADY ELINOR’S WICKED ADVENTURES gives a better idea of what king of story. (Hmmm, maybke LADY ELINOR’S ETRUSCAN ADVENTURE. That might have worked!)

    Reply
  50. The irritating thing about marketing is that sometimes they’re right. *G* I really like THE ETRUSCAN ADVENTURE, but perhaps LADY ELINOR’S WICKED ADVENTURES gives a better idea of what king of story. (Hmmm, maybke LADY ELINOR’S ETRUSCAN ADVENTURE. That might have worked!)

    Reply
  51. +++Sometimes the marketing end of the book world overthinks itself,+++
    Jorie, I loved this comment of yours! Yes. And as for my Kensington books, most are indeed in libraries, which is a nice thought.

    Reply
  52. +++Sometimes the marketing end of the book world overthinks itself,+++
    Jorie, I loved this comment of yours! Yes. And as for my Kensington books, most are indeed in libraries, which is a nice thought.

    Reply
  53. +++Sometimes the marketing end of the book world overthinks itself,+++
    Jorie, I loved this comment of yours! Yes. And as for my Kensington books, most are indeed in libraries, which is a nice thought.

    Reply
  54. +++Sometimes the marketing end of the book world overthinks itself,+++
    Jorie, I loved this comment of yours! Yes. And as for my Kensington books, most are indeed in libraries, which is a nice thought.

    Reply
  55. +++Sometimes the marketing end of the book world overthinks itself,+++
    Jorie, I loved this comment of yours! Yes. And as for my Kensington books, most are indeed in libraries, which is a nice thought.

    Reply
  56. I don’t think I used to pay much attention to titles, but the current trend toward cutesy word play or bad puns, leaves me cold. I find I have actually started avoiding books that have those silly titles. Unfair? Yes, because they were probably forced on the writers by an over-zealous marketing department, but there it is. I like literal titles and I have no problem with innocuous or even bland titles, but the silly ones drive me batty.
    I do love it when the author manages to work the title into the text, but that doesn’t seem to happen all that often anymore. The example that always comes to mind is Mary Balogh’s excellent book, The Secret Pearl. The title sort of becomes a metaphor and the pearl/oyster imagery is used throughout in reference to both the heroine and the hero. Just adds an interesting layer to the reader experience.

    Reply
  57. I don’t think I used to pay much attention to titles, but the current trend toward cutesy word play or bad puns, leaves me cold. I find I have actually started avoiding books that have those silly titles. Unfair? Yes, because they were probably forced on the writers by an over-zealous marketing department, but there it is. I like literal titles and I have no problem with innocuous or even bland titles, but the silly ones drive me batty.
    I do love it when the author manages to work the title into the text, but that doesn’t seem to happen all that often anymore. The example that always comes to mind is Mary Balogh’s excellent book, The Secret Pearl. The title sort of becomes a metaphor and the pearl/oyster imagery is used throughout in reference to both the heroine and the hero. Just adds an interesting layer to the reader experience.

    Reply
  58. I don’t think I used to pay much attention to titles, but the current trend toward cutesy word play or bad puns, leaves me cold. I find I have actually started avoiding books that have those silly titles. Unfair? Yes, because they were probably forced on the writers by an over-zealous marketing department, but there it is. I like literal titles and I have no problem with innocuous or even bland titles, but the silly ones drive me batty.
    I do love it when the author manages to work the title into the text, but that doesn’t seem to happen all that often anymore. The example that always comes to mind is Mary Balogh’s excellent book, The Secret Pearl. The title sort of becomes a metaphor and the pearl/oyster imagery is used throughout in reference to both the heroine and the hero. Just adds an interesting layer to the reader experience.

    Reply
  59. I don’t think I used to pay much attention to titles, but the current trend toward cutesy word play or bad puns, leaves me cold. I find I have actually started avoiding books that have those silly titles. Unfair? Yes, because they were probably forced on the writers by an over-zealous marketing department, but there it is. I like literal titles and I have no problem with innocuous or even bland titles, but the silly ones drive me batty.
    I do love it when the author manages to work the title into the text, but that doesn’t seem to happen all that often anymore. The example that always comes to mind is Mary Balogh’s excellent book, The Secret Pearl. The title sort of becomes a metaphor and the pearl/oyster imagery is used throughout in reference to both the heroine and the hero. Just adds an interesting layer to the reader experience.

    Reply
  60. I don’t think I used to pay much attention to titles, but the current trend toward cutesy word play or bad puns, leaves me cold. I find I have actually started avoiding books that have those silly titles. Unfair? Yes, because they were probably forced on the writers by an over-zealous marketing department, but there it is. I like literal titles and I have no problem with innocuous or even bland titles, but the silly ones drive me batty.
    I do love it when the author manages to work the title into the text, but that doesn’t seem to happen all that often anymore. The example that always comes to mind is Mary Balogh’s excellent book, The Secret Pearl. The title sort of becomes a metaphor and the pearl/oyster imagery is used throughout in reference to both the heroine and the hero. Just adds an interesting layer to the reader experience.

    Reply
  61. Well, having read this, I have a much greater appreciation of what you ladies go through. If I know the author, the title doesn’t even matter at all to me.
    I tend to notice the corny ones more than I do the really good ones. Way too many “wicked” dukes out there. And I’m not a fan of “cutsie” titles that use modern phrases (i.e., Ten things I like my duke).
    I have long suspected that authors who write such excellent stories would not chosen such silly titles. It was probably some marketing exec. who thought it would sell better. And who knows – maybe it did.

    Reply
  62. Well, having read this, I have a much greater appreciation of what you ladies go through. If I know the author, the title doesn’t even matter at all to me.
    I tend to notice the corny ones more than I do the really good ones. Way too many “wicked” dukes out there. And I’m not a fan of “cutsie” titles that use modern phrases (i.e., Ten things I like my duke).
    I have long suspected that authors who write such excellent stories would not chosen such silly titles. It was probably some marketing exec. who thought it would sell better. And who knows – maybe it did.

    Reply
  63. Well, having read this, I have a much greater appreciation of what you ladies go through. If I know the author, the title doesn’t even matter at all to me.
    I tend to notice the corny ones more than I do the really good ones. Way too many “wicked” dukes out there. And I’m not a fan of “cutsie” titles that use modern phrases (i.e., Ten things I like my duke).
    I have long suspected that authors who write such excellent stories would not chosen such silly titles. It was probably some marketing exec. who thought it would sell better. And who knows – maybe it did.

    Reply
  64. Well, having read this, I have a much greater appreciation of what you ladies go through. If I know the author, the title doesn’t even matter at all to me.
    I tend to notice the corny ones more than I do the really good ones. Way too many “wicked” dukes out there. And I’m not a fan of “cutsie” titles that use modern phrases (i.e., Ten things I like my duke).
    I have long suspected that authors who write such excellent stories would not chosen such silly titles. It was probably some marketing exec. who thought it would sell better. And who knows – maybe it did.

    Reply
  65. Well, having read this, I have a much greater appreciation of what you ladies go through. If I know the author, the title doesn’t even matter at all to me.
    I tend to notice the corny ones more than I do the really good ones. Way too many “wicked” dukes out there. And I’m not a fan of “cutsie” titles that use modern phrases (i.e., Ten things I like my duke).
    I have long suspected that authors who write such excellent stories would not chosen such silly titles. It was probably some marketing exec. who thought it would sell better. And who knows – maybe it did.

    Reply
  66. I’m running about 50-50 on keeping my titles. When my editor doesn’t like them, the negotiations begin. Generally my working titles are just the name of my heroine until I’m far enough along in the book to come up with a real title.

    Reply
  67. I’m running about 50-50 on keeping my titles. When my editor doesn’t like them, the negotiations begin. Generally my working titles are just the name of my heroine until I’m far enough along in the book to come up with a real title.

    Reply
  68. I’m running about 50-50 on keeping my titles. When my editor doesn’t like them, the negotiations begin. Generally my working titles are just the name of my heroine until I’m far enough along in the book to come up with a real title.

    Reply
  69. I’m running about 50-50 on keeping my titles. When my editor doesn’t like them, the negotiations begin. Generally my working titles are just the name of my heroine until I’m far enough along in the book to come up with a real title.

    Reply
  70. I’m running about 50-50 on keeping my titles. When my editor doesn’t like them, the negotiations begin. Generally my working titles are just the name of my heroine until I’m far enough along in the book to come up with a real title.

    Reply

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