What’s in a title?

Winter_barbiesnow_copysm       From Loretta:
      You may be asking yourself, “What’s she doing here again?  Isn’t this Sunday?  Doesn’t she know what day it is?  Or did I sleep through the week?  If so, I want some more of those drugs.  What day does she post, anyway?”
      I’m still the new Thursday girl but today Edith is Otherwise Engaged, and I volunteered to step in, because for some reason, I seem to have more than usual to say this week and hardly had to steal any ideas at all, except from the perfectly legitimate Commenters Question Compendium.
      To continue the discussion about naming things…
Maggie Robinson asked:
     <<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* >>
      Titles can be another banging-your-head-against-the-wall experience.
      It was easier in the beginning, as so much was.  Ignorance–in this case, of commercial/marketing concerns–is bliss.
      Isabella_the_english_witch My sense now is that there was more leeway in titling the traditional Regencies, though this may have had more to do with my publisher at the time than the genre.  My first two books, Isabella and The English Witch, came out under the original titles.  The third, Viscount Vagabond, involved some discussion with my editor, as I recall.  It may have started out as The Vagabond Viscount.  But the last three, The Devil’s Delilah, Knaves’ Wager, and The Sandalwood Princess, appeared in the names I’d given them.
      Things changed when I moved into historical romance.  My original title for The Lion’s Daughter was The Black Queen.  Because the plot revolved around this chess piece, see?  Chess_white_queen That title idea was squelched on several counts, including its not “sounding like” a historical romance and the possible racial overtones (???!).  I soon realized that the editor was absolutely right (she always was, actually), and racial overtones or not, the title would conjure a host of wrong meanings for potential book buyers.
      I learned some funny things during the process of renaming.  For one, the publisher liked titles with possessives.  So titles containing an apostrophe s or an “of” had a better chance than those that didn’t.  Titles focusing on the hero were preferred …but not always.  Captives of the Night started out as The Golden Prince.  Well, that sounded to editors like a fantasy novel, so it was back to the drawing board, or baptismal font or whatever.  And once we’d settled on Captives, I was delighted.  It remains one of my favorite titles.
      Lord of Scoundrels involved no discussions.  The title, like the story, came to me without struggle, and proves that things that come easy aren’t necessarily inferior, because this book has proved popular.
      The Last Hellion–another title I quite like–was not the original.  It was Prince of Rogues.  As I recall, at the time, the publisher wasn’t liking titles with the word “Prince” (see The Golden Prince, above). Princegoldensm  I am not sure whether this Dogmastiff had to do with the Artist Formerly Known as Prince and Is He Again? or a worry that readers would expect a medieval, or associate the name with large canines, but “Prince” wasn’t acceptable.
      My first three Carsington books were with a different publisher.  Either this or an improved naming ability may explain why they were published under the original titles, all of which I really liked, especially Mr. Impossible.
      The naming ability petered out when it came to the book now known as Not Quite a Lady.  I had a dozen titles, none of which satisfied me or anyone else.  Example:  The Truth About Charlotte.  My agent suggested Not Quite a Lady, and this worked for everybody, even me…except for one little qualm.  In 19th C England, either you’re a lady or you’re not.  Lady Charlotte Hayward is a lady, and if she opened a bawdy house or took to highway robbery tomorrow, she’d still be a lady.  But for American readers, “lady” has a different meaning, denoting behavior rather than a position in the social hierarchy.  I did not raise this issue with those involved in the title discussion because I knew they would only groan (inwardly if not outwardly) at my excessive nerdiness.  And it is a good title, suggesting exactly what it needs to suggest.
     Nqal_frontsma (So does the cover, I think–and anyone who’d like a free, signed cover flat need only send me a SASE.  For details, please email me at Author@LorettaChase.com )
      So in answer to your question, it’s mostly a group consensus thing, except when you nail it the first time.  And sometimes the things that worry the editor or marketing department make you scratch your head.  But I have found that in this case, as in, say, revisions and even–sometimes–the copy edit, it pays to listen and ponder even the suggestions that seem completely deranged.  Once the Temperamental Artistic Ego simmers down, one sees the rhyme and reason.  At the moment I can’t think of a time when editorial suggestions didn’t make for a better title or a better book.  So the idea of “submitting” to an editorial or marketing command is alien to me.  There is definitely a collaborative effort in the making of a book, and with very, very few exceptions, I’ve benefited from the wisdom of other members of the team.
      Oh, and not being prolific, I can remember all the titles with no effort whatsoever.
      Do titles matter to you when you’re choosing books?  Have you ever bought one solely because the title was irresistible?  Have you a favorite title?  Are there books you’d re-title if you could?
      

92 thoughts on “What’s in a title?”

  1. Saying that LORD OF SCOUNDRELS has proved popular is like saying the Pope is Catholic. 🙂
    But title issues are usually much more of a struggle. Publishers want titles that are punchy, memorable, and have something to do with the book, though that last one can be optional.
    I’d say that maybe a third of my titles have been accepted as is, including THE WOULD-BE WIDOW, THE RAKE AND THE REFORMER, ONE PERFECT ROSE, THE WILD CHILD, THE CHINA BRIDE. and the upcoming A DISTANT MAGIC.
    Often titles are a collaborative process. This usually translates to “editor doesn’t like your original and will abuse you until you come up with something she likes–which can take a LONG time.”
    Often the abusive process results in a better title, though not always. As time goes on, I think authors develop a better sense of what works, so maybe our suggestions are better.
    Sometimes coming up with a title is dead easy. But often not!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  2. Saying that LORD OF SCOUNDRELS has proved popular is like saying the Pope is Catholic. 🙂
    But title issues are usually much more of a struggle. Publishers want titles that are punchy, memorable, and have something to do with the book, though that last one can be optional.
    I’d say that maybe a third of my titles have been accepted as is, including THE WOULD-BE WIDOW, THE RAKE AND THE REFORMER, ONE PERFECT ROSE, THE WILD CHILD, THE CHINA BRIDE. and the upcoming A DISTANT MAGIC.
    Often titles are a collaborative process. This usually translates to “editor doesn’t like your original and will abuse you until you come up with something she likes–which can take a LONG time.”
    Often the abusive process results in a better title, though not always. As time goes on, I think authors develop a better sense of what works, so maybe our suggestions are better.
    Sometimes coming up with a title is dead easy. But often not!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  3. Saying that LORD OF SCOUNDRELS has proved popular is like saying the Pope is Catholic. 🙂
    But title issues are usually much more of a struggle. Publishers want titles that are punchy, memorable, and have something to do with the book, though that last one can be optional.
    I’d say that maybe a third of my titles have been accepted as is, including THE WOULD-BE WIDOW, THE RAKE AND THE REFORMER, ONE PERFECT ROSE, THE WILD CHILD, THE CHINA BRIDE. and the upcoming A DISTANT MAGIC.
    Often titles are a collaborative process. This usually translates to “editor doesn’t like your original and will abuse you until you come up with something she likes–which can take a LONG time.”
    Often the abusive process results in a better title, though not always. As time goes on, I think authors develop a better sense of what works, so maybe our suggestions are better.
    Sometimes coming up with a title is dead easy. But often not!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  4. Saying that LORD OF SCOUNDRELS has proved popular is like saying the Pope is Catholic. 🙂
    But title issues are usually much more of a struggle. Publishers want titles that are punchy, memorable, and have something to do with the book, though that last one can be optional.
    I’d say that maybe a third of my titles have been accepted as is, including THE WOULD-BE WIDOW, THE RAKE AND THE REFORMER, ONE PERFECT ROSE, THE WILD CHILD, THE CHINA BRIDE. and the upcoming A DISTANT MAGIC.
    Often titles are a collaborative process. This usually translates to “editor doesn’t like your original and will abuse you until you come up with something she likes–which can take a LONG time.”
    Often the abusive process results in a better title, though not always. As time goes on, I think authors develop a better sense of what works, so maybe our suggestions are better.
    Sometimes coming up with a title is dead easy. But often not!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  5. I often wonder if readers would still be raving about Pride and Prejudice if the title had remained First Impressions. I think titles can be quite important. I was not a fan of Georgians but was persuaded to follow Jo into her Malloren world because My Lady Notorious was such a provocative title.
    My pet peeve concerning titles is what I refer to as the “title virus.” Sometimes something contagious seems to have infiltrated the romance community, resulting in a preponderance of titles that sound strangely similar. A poor reader can become lost, particularly with books by new or unfamiliar authors.

    Reply
  6. I often wonder if readers would still be raving about Pride and Prejudice if the title had remained First Impressions. I think titles can be quite important. I was not a fan of Georgians but was persuaded to follow Jo into her Malloren world because My Lady Notorious was such a provocative title.
    My pet peeve concerning titles is what I refer to as the “title virus.” Sometimes something contagious seems to have infiltrated the romance community, resulting in a preponderance of titles that sound strangely similar. A poor reader can become lost, particularly with books by new or unfamiliar authors.

    Reply
  7. I often wonder if readers would still be raving about Pride and Prejudice if the title had remained First Impressions. I think titles can be quite important. I was not a fan of Georgians but was persuaded to follow Jo into her Malloren world because My Lady Notorious was such a provocative title.
    My pet peeve concerning titles is what I refer to as the “title virus.” Sometimes something contagious seems to have infiltrated the romance community, resulting in a preponderance of titles that sound strangely similar. A poor reader can become lost, particularly with books by new or unfamiliar authors.

    Reply
  8. I often wonder if readers would still be raving about Pride and Prejudice if the title had remained First Impressions. I think titles can be quite important. I was not a fan of Georgians but was persuaded to follow Jo into her Malloren world because My Lady Notorious was such a provocative title.
    My pet peeve concerning titles is what I refer to as the “title virus.” Sometimes something contagious seems to have infiltrated the romance community, resulting in a preponderance of titles that sound strangely similar. A poor reader can become lost, particularly with books by new or unfamiliar authors.

    Reply
  9. “Sometimes something contagious seems to have infiltrated the romance community, resulting in a preponderance of titles that sound strangely similar.”
    LOL! This is soooooooo true. My fist book’s title is remarkably similar to a recent one of Madeline Hunter’s; I pointed this out in vain.
    I bought MR. IMPOSSIBLE just for the title. I still think it’s an amazing title!!!

    Reply
  10. “Sometimes something contagious seems to have infiltrated the romance community, resulting in a preponderance of titles that sound strangely similar.”
    LOL! This is soooooooo true. My fist book’s title is remarkably similar to a recent one of Madeline Hunter’s; I pointed this out in vain.
    I bought MR. IMPOSSIBLE just for the title. I still think it’s an amazing title!!!

    Reply
  11. “Sometimes something contagious seems to have infiltrated the romance community, resulting in a preponderance of titles that sound strangely similar.”
    LOL! This is soooooooo true. My fist book’s title is remarkably similar to a recent one of Madeline Hunter’s; I pointed this out in vain.
    I bought MR. IMPOSSIBLE just for the title. I still think it’s an amazing title!!!

    Reply
  12. “Sometimes something contagious seems to have infiltrated the romance community, resulting in a preponderance of titles that sound strangely similar.”
    LOL! This is soooooooo true. My fist book’s title is remarkably similar to a recent one of Madeline Hunter’s; I pointed this out in vain.
    I bought MR. IMPOSSIBLE just for the title. I still think it’s an amazing title!!!

    Reply
  13. I’ve seen at least three _Stealing Heaven_’s.
    My pet peeve right now is the meaningless title, which tends to go along the lines of _One Night of_ or to have “wicked” in it. Mary Balogh’s _One Night for Love_ doesn’t count, because that was actually *descriptive* of the plot, but most of them are utterly meaningless, and hardly accurate, since One Night of Sin turns out to be dozens of them. 😉

    Reply
  14. I’ve seen at least three _Stealing Heaven_’s.
    My pet peeve right now is the meaningless title, which tends to go along the lines of _One Night of_ or to have “wicked” in it. Mary Balogh’s _One Night for Love_ doesn’t count, because that was actually *descriptive* of the plot, but most of them are utterly meaningless, and hardly accurate, since One Night of Sin turns out to be dozens of them. 😉

    Reply
  15. I’ve seen at least three _Stealing Heaven_’s.
    My pet peeve right now is the meaningless title, which tends to go along the lines of _One Night of_ or to have “wicked” in it. Mary Balogh’s _One Night for Love_ doesn’t count, because that was actually *descriptive* of the plot, but most of them are utterly meaningless, and hardly accurate, since One Night of Sin turns out to be dozens of them. 😉

    Reply
  16. I’ve seen at least three _Stealing Heaven_’s.
    My pet peeve right now is the meaningless title, which tends to go along the lines of _One Night of_ or to have “wicked” in it. Mary Balogh’s _One Night for Love_ doesn’t count, because that was actually *descriptive* of the plot, but most of them are utterly meaningless, and hardly accurate, since One Night of Sin turns out to be dozens of them. 😉

    Reply
  17. Thanks for the great answer, Loretta, and I’m sooo excited to pick from your books I’ll have to give my choice some serious thought. I’ve read nearly all of them except some early ones, and you already hold a special spot on my keeper shelf!
    I can’t help but notice there seem to be mysterious buzz words in titles lately which confuse those of us who read so much (as Janga and Wendy stated)… The Wicked Duke/One Night with the Wicked Duke/ To Kiss a Wicked Duke, etc.! After a while, I can’t remember which wicked duke got kissed or read.
    I know I’m still struggling with titling the two books I’ve finished, wanting to keep their names related on the odd chance that they’ll actually get bought. I would be happy to “submit” to someone else’s judgment, LOL!!
    And I’d love to bypass books with “sin” in the title, but I can’t since so many authors I enjoy seem to be sinning quite a lot. 🙂

    Reply
  18. Thanks for the great answer, Loretta, and I’m sooo excited to pick from your books I’ll have to give my choice some serious thought. I’ve read nearly all of them except some early ones, and you already hold a special spot on my keeper shelf!
    I can’t help but notice there seem to be mysterious buzz words in titles lately which confuse those of us who read so much (as Janga and Wendy stated)… The Wicked Duke/One Night with the Wicked Duke/ To Kiss a Wicked Duke, etc.! After a while, I can’t remember which wicked duke got kissed or read.
    I know I’m still struggling with titling the two books I’ve finished, wanting to keep their names related on the odd chance that they’ll actually get bought. I would be happy to “submit” to someone else’s judgment, LOL!!
    And I’d love to bypass books with “sin” in the title, but I can’t since so many authors I enjoy seem to be sinning quite a lot. 🙂

    Reply
  19. Thanks for the great answer, Loretta, and I’m sooo excited to pick from your books I’ll have to give my choice some serious thought. I’ve read nearly all of them except some early ones, and you already hold a special spot on my keeper shelf!
    I can’t help but notice there seem to be mysterious buzz words in titles lately which confuse those of us who read so much (as Janga and Wendy stated)… The Wicked Duke/One Night with the Wicked Duke/ To Kiss a Wicked Duke, etc.! After a while, I can’t remember which wicked duke got kissed or read.
    I know I’m still struggling with titling the two books I’ve finished, wanting to keep their names related on the odd chance that they’ll actually get bought. I would be happy to “submit” to someone else’s judgment, LOL!!
    And I’d love to bypass books with “sin” in the title, but I can’t since so many authors I enjoy seem to be sinning quite a lot. 🙂

    Reply
  20. Thanks for the great answer, Loretta, and I’m sooo excited to pick from your books I’ll have to give my choice some serious thought. I’ve read nearly all of them except some early ones, and you already hold a special spot on my keeper shelf!
    I can’t help but notice there seem to be mysterious buzz words in titles lately which confuse those of us who read so much (as Janga and Wendy stated)… The Wicked Duke/One Night with the Wicked Duke/ To Kiss a Wicked Duke, etc.! After a while, I can’t remember which wicked duke got kissed or read.
    I know I’m still struggling with titling the two books I’ve finished, wanting to keep their names related on the odd chance that they’ll actually get bought. I would be happy to “submit” to someone else’s judgment, LOL!!
    And I’d love to bypass books with “sin” in the title, but I can’t since so many authors I enjoy seem to be sinning quite a lot. 🙂

    Reply
  21. Hey Loretta!
    Welcome to Sunday. Thanks so much for posting in Edith’s sted. I hope she is well.
    I prefer titles that are oxymorons like MJ’s ANGEL ROGUE, SHATTERED RAINBOWS and Amelia Atwater-Rhodes’s HAWKSONG. Hawks are predatory animals. They don’t ‘sing.’
    I also like titles that create a duality or raise a question. NOT QUITE A LADY does this for me. Is this by her choice? Someone else’s choice? Circumstance? And the cover (beautiful, btw) just piles it on. The way she’s holding up her hair makes me wonder who is standing at her back and is that dress going on or coming off? And while her position suggests one of trust, the placid look on her face suggests, to me, that she’s giving in, once again. But to what? And why? How long do I have to wait for the book?
    A title I would change… MJ’s PETALS IN THE STORM. IMHO, it just doesn’t give the very powerful story proper due. Although, I’m not sure what I would rename it to. Love’s Rising Storm, perhaps? I don’t know. I’m not good with titles, or names. All I know is what I like.
    Nina

    Reply
  22. Hey Loretta!
    Welcome to Sunday. Thanks so much for posting in Edith’s sted. I hope she is well.
    I prefer titles that are oxymorons like MJ’s ANGEL ROGUE, SHATTERED RAINBOWS and Amelia Atwater-Rhodes’s HAWKSONG. Hawks are predatory animals. They don’t ‘sing.’
    I also like titles that create a duality or raise a question. NOT QUITE A LADY does this for me. Is this by her choice? Someone else’s choice? Circumstance? And the cover (beautiful, btw) just piles it on. The way she’s holding up her hair makes me wonder who is standing at her back and is that dress going on or coming off? And while her position suggests one of trust, the placid look on her face suggests, to me, that she’s giving in, once again. But to what? And why? How long do I have to wait for the book?
    A title I would change… MJ’s PETALS IN THE STORM. IMHO, it just doesn’t give the very powerful story proper due. Although, I’m not sure what I would rename it to. Love’s Rising Storm, perhaps? I don’t know. I’m not good with titles, or names. All I know is what I like.
    Nina

    Reply
  23. Hey Loretta!
    Welcome to Sunday. Thanks so much for posting in Edith’s sted. I hope she is well.
    I prefer titles that are oxymorons like MJ’s ANGEL ROGUE, SHATTERED RAINBOWS and Amelia Atwater-Rhodes’s HAWKSONG. Hawks are predatory animals. They don’t ‘sing.’
    I also like titles that create a duality or raise a question. NOT QUITE A LADY does this for me. Is this by her choice? Someone else’s choice? Circumstance? And the cover (beautiful, btw) just piles it on. The way she’s holding up her hair makes me wonder who is standing at her back and is that dress going on or coming off? And while her position suggests one of trust, the placid look on her face suggests, to me, that she’s giving in, once again. But to what? And why? How long do I have to wait for the book?
    A title I would change… MJ’s PETALS IN THE STORM. IMHO, it just doesn’t give the very powerful story proper due. Although, I’m not sure what I would rename it to. Love’s Rising Storm, perhaps? I don’t know. I’m not good with titles, or names. All I know is what I like.
    Nina

    Reply
  24. Hey Loretta!
    Welcome to Sunday. Thanks so much for posting in Edith’s sted. I hope she is well.
    I prefer titles that are oxymorons like MJ’s ANGEL ROGUE, SHATTERED RAINBOWS and Amelia Atwater-Rhodes’s HAWKSONG. Hawks are predatory animals. They don’t ‘sing.’
    I also like titles that create a duality or raise a question. NOT QUITE A LADY does this for me. Is this by her choice? Someone else’s choice? Circumstance? And the cover (beautiful, btw) just piles it on. The way she’s holding up her hair makes me wonder who is standing at her back and is that dress going on or coming off? And while her position suggests one of trust, the placid look on her face suggests, to me, that she’s giving in, once again. But to what? And why? How long do I have to wait for the book?
    A title I would change… MJ’s PETALS IN THE STORM. IMHO, it just doesn’t give the very powerful story proper due. Although, I’m not sure what I would rename it to. Love’s Rising Storm, perhaps? I don’t know. I’m not good with titles, or names. All I know is what I like.
    Nina

    Reply
  25. I don’t like generic titles–one-worders like DECEIVED/BETRAYED/SINFUL/etc., or the buzzword syndrome titles Maggie and Janga describe, you know, ONE NIGHT OF SINFUL PLEASURE WITH THE WICKED DUKE.
    I like titles that arouse my curiosity somehow and are specific to the story. I think sf authors have it easy, because all they have to do is plug in the name of their invented god or kingdom to evoke my “Huh, I wonder what that means?” reaction and me me pick up the book.
    Titles have next to nothing to do with my purchasing decisions, however. The real benefit to a distinctive and intriguing title is that it helps me remember the book so I can recommend it to my friends!

    Reply
  26. I don’t like generic titles–one-worders like DECEIVED/BETRAYED/SINFUL/etc., or the buzzword syndrome titles Maggie and Janga describe, you know, ONE NIGHT OF SINFUL PLEASURE WITH THE WICKED DUKE.
    I like titles that arouse my curiosity somehow and are specific to the story. I think sf authors have it easy, because all they have to do is plug in the name of their invented god or kingdom to evoke my “Huh, I wonder what that means?” reaction and me me pick up the book.
    Titles have next to nothing to do with my purchasing decisions, however. The real benefit to a distinctive and intriguing title is that it helps me remember the book so I can recommend it to my friends!

    Reply
  27. I don’t like generic titles–one-worders like DECEIVED/BETRAYED/SINFUL/etc., or the buzzword syndrome titles Maggie and Janga describe, you know, ONE NIGHT OF SINFUL PLEASURE WITH THE WICKED DUKE.
    I like titles that arouse my curiosity somehow and are specific to the story. I think sf authors have it easy, because all they have to do is plug in the name of their invented god or kingdom to evoke my “Huh, I wonder what that means?” reaction and me me pick up the book.
    Titles have next to nothing to do with my purchasing decisions, however. The real benefit to a distinctive and intriguing title is that it helps me remember the book so I can recommend it to my friends!

    Reply
  28. I don’t like generic titles–one-worders like DECEIVED/BETRAYED/SINFUL/etc., or the buzzword syndrome titles Maggie and Janga describe, you know, ONE NIGHT OF SINFUL PLEASURE WITH THE WICKED DUKE.
    I like titles that arouse my curiosity somehow and are specific to the story. I think sf authors have it easy, because all they have to do is plug in the name of their invented god or kingdom to evoke my “Huh, I wonder what that means?” reaction and me me pick up the book.
    Titles have next to nothing to do with my purchasing decisions, however. The real benefit to a distinctive and intriguing title is that it helps me remember the book so I can recommend it to my friends!

    Reply
  29. “One Night of Sinful Pleasure with a Wicked Duke”
    YES!!
    Sometimes I feel as if the editors have twenty-five words that have been determined to attract readers, and they’ll only agree to a combination of those words. Sin, pleasure, rake, rogue, bride — oh, my, how many “Bride” titles I’ve been stuck with –!
    There’s another factor in the title-equation, too, and that’s the length of the author’s name. Because “Miranda Jarrett” has so many letters that it always takes up two lines on the cover, my titles can’t be too long (or so I’ve been told.) Two words, one usually possessive, plus an article: that’s my standard allotment. You know, THE BLOG’S BRIDE.
    No wonder readers get confused.

    Reply
  30. “One Night of Sinful Pleasure with a Wicked Duke”
    YES!!
    Sometimes I feel as if the editors have twenty-five words that have been determined to attract readers, and they’ll only agree to a combination of those words. Sin, pleasure, rake, rogue, bride — oh, my, how many “Bride” titles I’ve been stuck with –!
    There’s another factor in the title-equation, too, and that’s the length of the author’s name. Because “Miranda Jarrett” has so many letters that it always takes up two lines on the cover, my titles can’t be too long (or so I’ve been told.) Two words, one usually possessive, plus an article: that’s my standard allotment. You know, THE BLOG’S BRIDE.
    No wonder readers get confused.

    Reply
  31. “One Night of Sinful Pleasure with a Wicked Duke”
    YES!!
    Sometimes I feel as if the editors have twenty-five words that have been determined to attract readers, and they’ll only agree to a combination of those words. Sin, pleasure, rake, rogue, bride — oh, my, how many “Bride” titles I’ve been stuck with –!
    There’s another factor in the title-equation, too, and that’s the length of the author’s name. Because “Miranda Jarrett” has so many letters that it always takes up two lines on the cover, my titles can’t be too long (or so I’ve been told.) Two words, one usually possessive, plus an article: that’s my standard allotment. You know, THE BLOG’S BRIDE.
    No wonder readers get confused.

    Reply
  32. “One Night of Sinful Pleasure with a Wicked Duke”
    YES!!
    Sometimes I feel as if the editors have twenty-five words that have been determined to attract readers, and they’ll only agree to a combination of those words. Sin, pleasure, rake, rogue, bride — oh, my, how many “Bride” titles I’ve been stuck with –!
    There’s another factor in the title-equation, too, and that’s the length of the author’s name. Because “Miranda Jarrett” has so many letters that it always takes up two lines on the cover, my titles can’t be too long (or so I’ve been told.) Two words, one usually possessive, plus an article: that’s my standard allotment. You know, THE BLOG’S BRIDE.
    No wonder readers get confused.

    Reply
  33. I am a sucker for alliteration, as in Stealing Sophie, Keeping Kate, Viscount Vagabond, Devil’s Delilah. And like Nina, I also enjoy the oxymoron titles.
    I have always liked book titles that include some kind of quote from a well-known poem, play or novel (though I’m having trouble remembering any romance novels with those kind of titles and the only ones that are coming to me are The Grapes of Wrath and Splendor in the Grass!-sigh-). I also like titles that reference a phrase or comment from the book itself–like “Devilish” or “Shattered Rainbows.”
    And although I, too, am prone to giggle at the “Sinful Days and Nights of Pleasure’s Games with the Wicked Duke” titles–I must say that if I see a Wench’s name on the cover, I’m going to buy it–regardless of the title, or the naked people on the cover, or whatever!

    Reply
  34. I am a sucker for alliteration, as in Stealing Sophie, Keeping Kate, Viscount Vagabond, Devil’s Delilah. And like Nina, I also enjoy the oxymoron titles.
    I have always liked book titles that include some kind of quote from a well-known poem, play or novel (though I’m having trouble remembering any romance novels with those kind of titles and the only ones that are coming to me are The Grapes of Wrath and Splendor in the Grass!-sigh-). I also like titles that reference a phrase or comment from the book itself–like “Devilish” or “Shattered Rainbows.”
    And although I, too, am prone to giggle at the “Sinful Days and Nights of Pleasure’s Games with the Wicked Duke” titles–I must say that if I see a Wench’s name on the cover, I’m going to buy it–regardless of the title, or the naked people on the cover, or whatever!

    Reply
  35. I am a sucker for alliteration, as in Stealing Sophie, Keeping Kate, Viscount Vagabond, Devil’s Delilah. And like Nina, I also enjoy the oxymoron titles.
    I have always liked book titles that include some kind of quote from a well-known poem, play or novel (though I’m having trouble remembering any romance novels with those kind of titles and the only ones that are coming to me are The Grapes of Wrath and Splendor in the Grass!-sigh-). I also like titles that reference a phrase or comment from the book itself–like “Devilish” or “Shattered Rainbows.”
    And although I, too, am prone to giggle at the “Sinful Days and Nights of Pleasure’s Games with the Wicked Duke” titles–I must say that if I see a Wench’s name on the cover, I’m going to buy it–regardless of the title, or the naked people on the cover, or whatever!

    Reply
  36. I am a sucker for alliteration, as in Stealing Sophie, Keeping Kate, Viscount Vagabond, Devil’s Delilah. And like Nina, I also enjoy the oxymoron titles.
    I have always liked book titles that include some kind of quote from a well-known poem, play or novel (though I’m having trouble remembering any romance novels with those kind of titles and the only ones that are coming to me are The Grapes of Wrath and Splendor in the Grass!-sigh-). I also like titles that reference a phrase or comment from the book itself–like “Devilish” or “Shattered Rainbows.”
    And although I, too, am prone to giggle at the “Sinful Days and Nights of Pleasure’s Games with the Wicked Duke” titles–I must say that if I see a Wench’s name on the cover, I’m going to buy it–regardless of the title, or the naked people on the cover, or whatever!

    Reply
  37. I really like what Mary Balogh has done with the Slightly series– Slightly Married, Slightly wicked, slightly dangerous, etc. and her current series which start with the word “simply.” It makes it so much easier to keep track of the series. On the romancescholar listserve someone quipped “Shall we call it Slightly Scholarly?”.
    Merry

    Reply
  38. I really like what Mary Balogh has done with the Slightly series– Slightly Married, Slightly wicked, slightly dangerous, etc. and her current series which start with the word “simply.” It makes it so much easier to keep track of the series. On the romancescholar listserve someone quipped “Shall we call it Slightly Scholarly?”.
    Merry

    Reply
  39. I really like what Mary Balogh has done with the Slightly series– Slightly Married, Slightly wicked, slightly dangerous, etc. and her current series which start with the word “simply.” It makes it so much easier to keep track of the series. On the romancescholar listserve someone quipped “Shall we call it Slightly Scholarly?”.
    Merry

    Reply
  40. I really like what Mary Balogh has done with the Slightly series– Slightly Married, Slightly wicked, slightly dangerous, etc. and her current series which start with the word “simply.” It makes it so much easier to keep track of the series. On the romancescholar listserve someone quipped “Shall we call it Slightly Scholarly?”.
    Merry

    Reply
  41. Mary Jo speaks truth about some titles taking a long time. That was certainly the case with Captives and The Last Hellion as I recall. But, MJP, all the titles of your that you cite and more have the “punch,” IMO.
    “Sometimes something contagious seems to have infiltrated the romance community, resulting in a preponderance of titles that sound strangely similar.”
    I laugh, too, Janga & Kalen, for this is all too true. Title fads, like fads for cowboy baby brides, can make one roll one’s eyes. Buzz subjects, along with buzzword titles. Even toilet paper brands try not to sound like the competition. Wendy, the generic titles do become laughable. But then, one might hear from one’s editor “that’s too generic.” And it can be a challenge to create a title that’s original and really stands out.

    Reply
  42. Mary Jo speaks truth about some titles taking a long time. That was certainly the case with Captives and The Last Hellion as I recall. But, MJP, all the titles of your that you cite and more have the “punch,” IMO.
    “Sometimes something contagious seems to have infiltrated the romance community, resulting in a preponderance of titles that sound strangely similar.”
    I laugh, too, Janga & Kalen, for this is all too true. Title fads, like fads for cowboy baby brides, can make one roll one’s eyes. Buzz subjects, along with buzzword titles. Even toilet paper brands try not to sound like the competition. Wendy, the generic titles do become laughable. But then, one might hear from one’s editor “that’s too generic.” And it can be a challenge to create a title that’s original and really stands out.

    Reply
  43. Mary Jo speaks truth about some titles taking a long time. That was certainly the case with Captives and The Last Hellion as I recall. But, MJP, all the titles of your that you cite and more have the “punch,” IMO.
    “Sometimes something contagious seems to have infiltrated the romance community, resulting in a preponderance of titles that sound strangely similar.”
    I laugh, too, Janga & Kalen, for this is all too true. Title fads, like fads for cowboy baby brides, can make one roll one’s eyes. Buzz subjects, along with buzzword titles. Even toilet paper brands try not to sound like the competition. Wendy, the generic titles do become laughable. But then, one might hear from one’s editor “that’s too generic.” And it can be a challenge to create a title that’s original and really stands out.

    Reply
  44. Mary Jo speaks truth about some titles taking a long time. That was certainly the case with Captives and The Last Hellion as I recall. But, MJP, all the titles of your that you cite and more have the “punch,” IMO.
    “Sometimes something contagious seems to have infiltrated the romance community, resulting in a preponderance of titles that sound strangely similar.”
    I laugh, too, Janga & Kalen, for this is all too true. Title fads, like fads for cowboy baby brides, can make one roll one’s eyes. Buzz subjects, along with buzzword titles. Even toilet paper brands try not to sound like the competition. Wendy, the generic titles do become laughable. But then, one might hear from one’s editor “that’s too generic.” And it can be a challenge to create a title that’s original and really stands out.

    Reply
  45. Maggie, the thing that really bothers me about generic titles is that it makes it hard to distinguish one book from another. Did I read that one or not? And it makes it tough when you’re trying to recommend a book.
    Nina, thanks for the welcome. Edith is quite well but posting was not possible this week. I’ll let MJP address the Petals in the Storm matter. One of my favorite MJP titles is Dancing on the Wind.
    Susan, I do like intriguing titles. Also plays on words, of which Terry Pratchett is a master. Some of his titles make me laugh out loud, no matter how many times I say them. Like The Last Elephant. And I agree, the strong titles make it easy to make book recommendations.
    Susan/Miranda, you’ve got only two more letters than I do, so I have to wonder if 12 is the cutoff point. The Blog’s Bride needs to be written, I think.
    Lacey, thank you!
    RevMelinda, I like the use of quotations in titles, too, but one does see little of it in historical romance. It seems to be more common in mysteries and literary fiction. Laurie King does this in at least some of her Sherlock Homes series. Elizabeth Peters uses quotations/elements from hieroglyphic texts. But it is nice to be able to reference an important element in the story or a phrase used in the book, as was the case for me with several stories. That does seem to make the title feel more individual.
    Merry, I like the consistency of titles like the Slightly series. The trouble I have with titles like that is telling the books in the series apart. For instance, this has left me hopelessly confused with Nora Roberts’s in Death series. OTOH, I love the alphabetical and numerical approach, e.g., Sue Grafton’s alphabet series and Janet Evanovich’s numbers for Stephanie Plum books. Easy to remember.

    Reply
  46. Maggie, the thing that really bothers me about generic titles is that it makes it hard to distinguish one book from another. Did I read that one or not? And it makes it tough when you’re trying to recommend a book.
    Nina, thanks for the welcome. Edith is quite well but posting was not possible this week. I’ll let MJP address the Petals in the Storm matter. One of my favorite MJP titles is Dancing on the Wind.
    Susan, I do like intriguing titles. Also plays on words, of which Terry Pratchett is a master. Some of his titles make me laugh out loud, no matter how many times I say them. Like The Last Elephant. And I agree, the strong titles make it easy to make book recommendations.
    Susan/Miranda, you’ve got only two more letters than I do, so I have to wonder if 12 is the cutoff point. The Blog’s Bride needs to be written, I think.
    Lacey, thank you!
    RevMelinda, I like the use of quotations in titles, too, but one does see little of it in historical romance. It seems to be more common in mysteries and literary fiction. Laurie King does this in at least some of her Sherlock Homes series. Elizabeth Peters uses quotations/elements from hieroglyphic texts. But it is nice to be able to reference an important element in the story or a phrase used in the book, as was the case for me with several stories. That does seem to make the title feel more individual.
    Merry, I like the consistency of titles like the Slightly series. The trouble I have with titles like that is telling the books in the series apart. For instance, this has left me hopelessly confused with Nora Roberts’s in Death series. OTOH, I love the alphabetical and numerical approach, e.g., Sue Grafton’s alphabet series and Janet Evanovich’s numbers for Stephanie Plum books. Easy to remember.

    Reply
  47. Maggie, the thing that really bothers me about generic titles is that it makes it hard to distinguish one book from another. Did I read that one or not? And it makes it tough when you’re trying to recommend a book.
    Nina, thanks for the welcome. Edith is quite well but posting was not possible this week. I’ll let MJP address the Petals in the Storm matter. One of my favorite MJP titles is Dancing on the Wind.
    Susan, I do like intriguing titles. Also plays on words, of which Terry Pratchett is a master. Some of his titles make me laugh out loud, no matter how many times I say them. Like The Last Elephant. And I agree, the strong titles make it easy to make book recommendations.
    Susan/Miranda, you’ve got only two more letters than I do, so I have to wonder if 12 is the cutoff point. The Blog’s Bride needs to be written, I think.
    Lacey, thank you!
    RevMelinda, I like the use of quotations in titles, too, but one does see little of it in historical romance. It seems to be more common in mysteries and literary fiction. Laurie King does this in at least some of her Sherlock Homes series. Elizabeth Peters uses quotations/elements from hieroglyphic texts. But it is nice to be able to reference an important element in the story or a phrase used in the book, as was the case for me with several stories. That does seem to make the title feel more individual.
    Merry, I like the consistency of titles like the Slightly series. The trouble I have with titles like that is telling the books in the series apart. For instance, this has left me hopelessly confused with Nora Roberts’s in Death series. OTOH, I love the alphabetical and numerical approach, e.g., Sue Grafton’s alphabet series and Janet Evanovich’s numbers for Stephanie Plum books. Easy to remember.

    Reply
  48. Maggie, the thing that really bothers me about generic titles is that it makes it hard to distinguish one book from another. Did I read that one or not? And it makes it tough when you’re trying to recommend a book.
    Nina, thanks for the welcome. Edith is quite well but posting was not possible this week. I’ll let MJP address the Petals in the Storm matter. One of my favorite MJP titles is Dancing on the Wind.
    Susan, I do like intriguing titles. Also plays on words, of which Terry Pratchett is a master. Some of his titles make me laugh out loud, no matter how many times I say them. Like The Last Elephant. And I agree, the strong titles make it easy to make book recommendations.
    Susan/Miranda, you’ve got only two more letters than I do, so I have to wonder if 12 is the cutoff point. The Blog’s Bride needs to be written, I think.
    Lacey, thank you!
    RevMelinda, I like the use of quotations in titles, too, but one does see little of it in historical romance. It seems to be more common in mysteries and literary fiction. Laurie King does this in at least some of her Sherlock Homes series. Elizabeth Peters uses quotations/elements from hieroglyphic texts. But it is nice to be able to reference an important element in the story or a phrase used in the book, as was the case for me with several stories. That does seem to make the title feel more individual.
    Merry, I like the consistency of titles like the Slightly series. The trouble I have with titles like that is telling the books in the series apart. For instance, this has left me hopelessly confused with Nora Roberts’s in Death series. OTOH, I love the alphabetical and numerical approach, e.g., Sue Grafton’s alphabet series and Janet Evanovich’s numbers for Stephanie Plum books. Easy to remember.

    Reply
  49. For the record, PETALS IN THE STORM is one of the very few titles I’ve had that was wholly supplied by the publisher. We hadn’t been having any luck coming up with a title we all liked, so a junior editor (who is now a mega-editor) offered PETALS. I agreed, for lack of a better alternative, and even though the initials are PITS. 🙂
    Another title that was given to me by an editor is the more recent A KISS OF FATE, and that I liked. In the context of the story, it made a whole lot of sense.
    Mary Jo, whose current publisher likes Bride titles…..

    Reply
  50. For the record, PETALS IN THE STORM is one of the very few titles I’ve had that was wholly supplied by the publisher. We hadn’t been having any luck coming up with a title we all liked, so a junior editor (who is now a mega-editor) offered PETALS. I agreed, for lack of a better alternative, and even though the initials are PITS. 🙂
    Another title that was given to me by an editor is the more recent A KISS OF FATE, and that I liked. In the context of the story, it made a whole lot of sense.
    Mary Jo, whose current publisher likes Bride titles…..

    Reply
  51. For the record, PETALS IN THE STORM is one of the very few titles I’ve had that was wholly supplied by the publisher. We hadn’t been having any luck coming up with a title we all liked, so a junior editor (who is now a mega-editor) offered PETALS. I agreed, for lack of a better alternative, and even though the initials are PITS. 🙂
    Another title that was given to me by an editor is the more recent A KISS OF FATE, and that I liked. In the context of the story, it made a whole lot of sense.
    Mary Jo, whose current publisher likes Bride titles…..

    Reply
  52. For the record, PETALS IN THE STORM is one of the very few titles I’ve had that was wholly supplied by the publisher. We hadn’t been having any luck coming up with a title we all liked, so a junior editor (who is now a mega-editor) offered PETALS. I agreed, for lack of a better alternative, and even though the initials are PITS. 🙂
    Another title that was given to me by an editor is the more recent A KISS OF FATE, and that I liked. In the context of the story, it made a whole lot of sense.
    Mary Jo, whose current publisher likes Bride titles…..

    Reply
  53. Thank you so much for upholding Sunday in such a terrific way, Loretta.
    I was at a wedding in Los Angeles, and after twelve hours of traveling due to weather delays am home again.
    I shall promptly fall into a deep sleep from which only the kiss of an enchanted, incredibly handsome and sensitive yet manly prince can waken me….
    On the the other hand, I suspect Daisy will smooch me at sunrise, and I’ll be up and at ’em in a day or so.
    Much thanks, again, Loretta!

    Reply
  54. Thank you so much for upholding Sunday in such a terrific way, Loretta.
    I was at a wedding in Los Angeles, and after twelve hours of traveling due to weather delays am home again.
    I shall promptly fall into a deep sleep from which only the kiss of an enchanted, incredibly handsome and sensitive yet manly prince can waken me….
    On the the other hand, I suspect Daisy will smooch me at sunrise, and I’ll be up and at ’em in a day or so.
    Much thanks, again, Loretta!

    Reply
  55. Thank you so much for upholding Sunday in such a terrific way, Loretta.
    I was at a wedding in Los Angeles, and after twelve hours of traveling due to weather delays am home again.
    I shall promptly fall into a deep sleep from which only the kiss of an enchanted, incredibly handsome and sensitive yet manly prince can waken me….
    On the the other hand, I suspect Daisy will smooch me at sunrise, and I’ll be up and at ’em in a day or so.
    Much thanks, again, Loretta!

    Reply
  56. Thank you so much for upholding Sunday in such a terrific way, Loretta.
    I was at a wedding in Los Angeles, and after twelve hours of traveling due to weather delays am home again.
    I shall promptly fall into a deep sleep from which only the kiss of an enchanted, incredibly handsome and sensitive yet manly prince can waken me….
    On the the other hand, I suspect Daisy will smooch me at sunrise, and I’ll be up and at ’em in a day or so.
    Much thanks, again, Loretta!

    Reply
  57. Mary Jo,
    Thank you for the explanation. In the light of the ‘junior-editor turned mega’ success, my taste for titles is obviously faulty.
    And, as you know, PETALS is in my top three MJP picks along with KISS OF FATE. Reading PETALS is like being caught up in a violent howling gale of emotions with an ending so poignant that it blows the storm way and instant sunshine and blue sky burst forth. Very powerful!
    Nina

    Reply
  58. Mary Jo,
    Thank you for the explanation. In the light of the ‘junior-editor turned mega’ success, my taste for titles is obviously faulty.
    And, as you know, PETALS is in my top three MJP picks along with KISS OF FATE. Reading PETALS is like being caught up in a violent howling gale of emotions with an ending so poignant that it blows the storm way and instant sunshine and blue sky burst forth. Very powerful!
    Nina

    Reply
  59. Mary Jo,
    Thank you for the explanation. In the light of the ‘junior-editor turned mega’ success, my taste for titles is obviously faulty.
    And, as you know, PETALS is in my top three MJP picks along with KISS OF FATE. Reading PETALS is like being caught up in a violent howling gale of emotions with an ending so poignant that it blows the storm way and instant sunshine and blue sky burst forth. Very powerful!
    Nina

    Reply
  60. Mary Jo,
    Thank you for the explanation. In the light of the ‘junior-editor turned mega’ success, my taste for titles is obviously faulty.
    And, as you know, PETALS is in my top three MJP picks along with KISS OF FATE. Reading PETALS is like being caught up in a violent howling gale of emotions with an ending so poignant that it blows the storm way and instant sunshine and blue sky burst forth. Very powerful!
    Nina

    Reply
  61. Jo here, catching up:
    Excellent posts about titles. As I remember, my wonderful editor of the time, Ellen Edwards came up with My Lady Notorious in the middle of an intense brainstorming session. I can’t remember now what my title was. Usually I have something, but occasionally I’m blank.
    Oh, yes, I was stuck on the pun: Sin and Chastity.
    About nerdiness, my next book is Lady Beware. It again was part of a brainstorming session, but I think I suggested it, but I tentatively asked if I could have a grammatically correct comma in there. Lady, Beware.
    I knew it would look silly, so I wasn’t surprised, when my agent called me Ms. Truss. (Of EATS, SHOOTS AND LEAVES fame. http://eatsshootsandleaves.com/)
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  62. Jo here, catching up:
    Excellent posts about titles. As I remember, my wonderful editor of the time, Ellen Edwards came up with My Lady Notorious in the middle of an intense brainstorming session. I can’t remember now what my title was. Usually I have something, but occasionally I’m blank.
    Oh, yes, I was stuck on the pun: Sin and Chastity.
    About nerdiness, my next book is Lady Beware. It again was part of a brainstorming session, but I think I suggested it, but I tentatively asked if I could have a grammatically correct comma in there. Lady, Beware.
    I knew it would look silly, so I wasn’t surprised, when my agent called me Ms. Truss. (Of EATS, SHOOTS AND LEAVES fame. http://eatsshootsandleaves.com/)
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  63. Jo here, catching up:
    Excellent posts about titles. As I remember, my wonderful editor of the time, Ellen Edwards came up with My Lady Notorious in the middle of an intense brainstorming session. I can’t remember now what my title was. Usually I have something, but occasionally I’m blank.
    Oh, yes, I was stuck on the pun: Sin and Chastity.
    About nerdiness, my next book is Lady Beware. It again was part of a brainstorming session, but I think I suggested it, but I tentatively asked if I could have a grammatically correct comma in there. Lady, Beware.
    I knew it would look silly, so I wasn’t surprised, when my agent called me Ms. Truss. (Of EATS, SHOOTS AND LEAVES fame. http://eatsshootsandleaves.com/)
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  64. Jo here, catching up:
    Excellent posts about titles. As I remember, my wonderful editor of the time, Ellen Edwards came up with My Lady Notorious in the middle of an intense brainstorming session. I can’t remember now what my title was. Usually I have something, but occasionally I’m blank.
    Oh, yes, I was stuck on the pun: Sin and Chastity.
    About nerdiness, my next book is Lady Beware. It again was part of a brainstorming session, but I think I suggested it, but I tentatively asked if I could have a grammatically correct comma in there. Lady, Beware.
    I knew it would look silly, so I wasn’t surprised, when my agent called me Ms. Truss. (Of EATS, SHOOTS AND LEAVES fame. http://eatsshootsandleaves.com/)
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  65. Argghh, I knew I should have done something useful this weekend like read Loretta’s post before I wrote my own! But noooo, I had to go out and run around and get away from the computer for a few days, and look what happens! We both ride the same wave of the same stream of consciousness or whatever.

    Reply
  66. Argghh, I knew I should have done something useful this weekend like read Loretta’s post before I wrote my own! But noooo, I had to go out and run around and get away from the computer for a few days, and look what happens! We both ride the same wave of the same stream of consciousness or whatever.

    Reply
  67. Argghh, I knew I should have done something useful this weekend like read Loretta’s post before I wrote my own! But noooo, I had to go out and run around and get away from the computer for a few days, and look what happens! We both ride the same wave of the same stream of consciousness or whatever.

    Reply
  68. Argghh, I knew I should have done something useful this weekend like read Loretta’s post before I wrote my own! But noooo, I had to go out and run around and get away from the computer for a few days, and look what happens! We both ride the same wave of the same stream of consciousness or whatever.

    Reply
  69. This is such a terrific topic that I’d expect most of the Wenches to blog about it. And as always, we each have a different angle. So we may be riding the same stream of consciousness but the trip is different for each of us. Blog on, Pat!

    Reply
  70. This is such a terrific topic that I’d expect most of the Wenches to blog about it. And as always, we each have a different angle. So we may be riding the same stream of consciousness but the trip is different for each of us. Blog on, Pat!

    Reply
  71. This is such a terrific topic that I’d expect most of the Wenches to blog about it. And as always, we each have a different angle. So we may be riding the same stream of consciousness but the trip is different for each of us. Blog on, Pat!

    Reply
  72. This is such a terrific topic that I’d expect most of the Wenches to blog about it. And as always, we each have a different angle. So we may be riding the same stream of consciousness but the trip is different for each of us. Blog on, Pat!

    Reply

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