Ask A Wench – Wenches on Writing

The Wenches were asked to answer some questions about writing and the publishing industry, and today we’re replying to the first one – How do you decide on a title? Is it the editor or you or what?

OnceASoldier FinalMary Jo:  Titles wars, all authors know them well! Ideally, authors and editors work together to come up with titles that in just a few words will convey the genre, the essence of the story, and also have a marketing punch. Not surprisingly, this is difficult! 

In my first book, my heroine was a gifted musician so my working title was the rather uninspired THE MUSICAL LADY. Later, my brother-in-law, an amateur musician, suggested LADY OF NOTE, which was better since it conveyed both music and being notable.

The book sold quickly on a partial manuscript, but coming up with a good title was another matter. My first editor always insisted that her writers come up with good titles. We would produce pages of possibilities, which she would dismiss with a few heartless chuckles. When I'd say in exasperation that she should come up with a title, she had a whole prepared speech about HOW MANY BOOKS she'd edited over the years, how could she possible do any more???  Cowed, I'd slink off and produce more lists, which were all shot down posthaste.

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Noble Scots and Other Eccentricities

Rice_EntrancingtheEarl_600x900Pat here:

I really ought to dig into my research files more often to see what I’ve looked up while I’m plotting a book, but by the time the book is ready for release, that material is a couple of years old, and I’ve forgotten about it. So out of curiosity, I dug into my files for ENTRANCING THE EARL, my May release, to see what I toyed with before I began writing. I can’t see any related blogs, other than my coloring between the lines complaint for the last book in my School of Magic series. But if I’m repeating myself, sorry!

ENTRANCING THE EARL required research into 19th century beekeeping, architecture and construction of Scots brochs and the history behind them, and Scots peerages—which aren’t the same as English.

Just because authors get the most complaints about aristocratic titles, and I don’t want to hear anyone complaining about my female, unmarried countess, I’ll give you a fast lesson in Scots peerages—it’s complicated.


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Ask A Wench–Are Titles Important?

Question-mark-1019820_1280Pat here, hosting this month's Ask-A-Wench…

How do the wenches choose their titles and are they as important as the covers? 

I had so much fun reading your comments when I answered this question last month, that I asked it of the wenches to see what they had to say. Quantum, we owe you another book!

Let the other wenches speak for themselves:


I think titles and covers are of equal importance and as I’m slightly OCD, personally I am drawn to the ones that match – Susanna Kearsley’s Sourcebooks covers  are a case in point. (I liked them so much I had to buy even the ones I already had in another format!).

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A Title by Any Other Name

Me at mariposaPat here, writing from Yosemite's Mariposa Grove:

Quantum asked how the wenches choose their titles and are they as important as the covers? (Quantum wins a book of mine and is still in the pot for the rest of the wenches, because it’s a fun question)

Whether we like it or not, book titles are important. Do you ever receive newsletters like Bookbub or EarlyBird advertising book sales? I’m picking through a recent one, and I apologize to any authors I might offend, but I pulled these titles off one sales sheet: Ballad of the Sad Café, The Revelation Room, Arkansas, Shadow of Ashland—what kind of books do you think these titles represent? Would you reach for any of them? I’d jump on Ballad of the Sad Café, and if I were bored or desperate, I might look into the Revelation Room, but the others, big yawn. THAT’s why titles are important—they persuade readers to snatch a book off the shelf and dive in.

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The Power of Numbers

Scotland headerNicola here. A short and hopefully sweet blog from me today as I’m heading off on holiday to Scotland soon and am surrounded by dog and human packing and am trying to work out how much food we will all need for 2 weeks in remote locations!

Anyway, back to the blog, and a writing friend mentioned to me a week or so ago that she thought numbers in book titles were becoming a trend. Just as there had been “girl” titles, so there are now number titles, and a glance at the UK charts seems to support this: Joanna Cannon’s new book is called “Three Things about Elsie” and Jonas Johannsen has written “The Accidental Further Adventures of the Hundred Year Old Man” to name but two.

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