Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Elusive Title Search

Saving Cinderella
The Heir's Convenient Wife
Rodeo Bride
The Frenchman's Plain-Jane Project
To Wed a Rancher
(Yes, these are all titles of my books)

Over the years I've spent many (many, many) hours brainstorming titles for books. I have pages of lists on my computer. I've dumped more titles than I like to think about, and in the end, marketing being what it is, many of my final titles have not actually been my own. (Sometimes that's a good thing. I've had a few titles that I don't actually want to take credit for, but I'll be honest. There have been times when I've been grateful for a good title that someone in editorial created. I have to give credit where credit is due). Nonetheless, I continue in my search for the perfect title to fit each book. Writing is much easier for me once I've named the book. It's as if a puzzle piece has fallen into place. And...actually, choosing a title can be a lot of fun.

But of course a title's purpose is so much more than entertainment for the author or mere identification. Titles are sales tools, and lately I've come across some interesting titles. Yesterday alone I encountered How to Tell if Your Cat is Plotting to Kill YouThe Tetherballs of Bougainvillle, Let's Explain Diabetes with Owls, The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat, and Tomorrow There Will be Apricots.

I admit to being an easy touch when it comes to titles. I would pick up any of the books listed above simply because of the title. Throw in an interesting cover and I'm willing to at least give the book a try.

But for romance novels, one has to be a bit more direct (okay, I'm not sure how much more direct one can get than How to Tell if Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You). So I go on, creating titles and hoping that I can find one that is:

     Not too long
     Not too reminiscent of a thousand other books
     Intriguing while also hinting at what the book is about
     If possible, fun

I seldom feel that I have one that is just perfect, but I've gotten close a few times. At any rate, it's an exercise I tend to enjoy. And there's an added benefit. Often, just brainstorming titles leads me to the perfect story. And that makes title hunting a great way to spend an hour or two.


Anonymous said...

Titles are harder than writing the story for me, usually. Recently I was going through the email from our pharmacy, reading the info on a drug prescribed for me awhile ago (muscle relaxant, after a fall). The possible side effects were absolutely frightening! I started a short story with the title Possible Side Effects, and just the visual of someone, injured from a fall, reading the list spurred me on to start writing this story.

Myrna Mackenzie said...

Sherry, I love that title (and how you came up with it)! It's definitely a pick-me-up-and-read-me title.