Wednesday, January 8, 2014


I've never been great at picking out titles, but I do try to make unique titles for my stories. I thought I had some great titles for 3 of my stories. But unfortunately they were already taken by other authors who publish with my publishing house, Entangled Publishing, or different houses. Either way, I was left with a dilemma. I have to re-title 3 of my manuscripts. And I'm sad because I really loved my already taken titles.

My critique partner, Pam Mantovani, encountered a similar problem with her recently sold book to Belle Books. Her title was already taken by another book at that house. Together we searched for new titles for the story that reflected it well. We'd come up with a fun title, search for it on the Internet and boo... already taken! Finally her publisher/editor came up with a great new title for the story.

The titles do matter. They hook the reader, right? And they give a taste of what the story might be about, double right? I guess so. I go through my RT Review magazine and check out all the category series and contemporary single title stories' titles and some of them do give me a clear picture, while others not so much.

So how important is a title? I think it's important, but I also think a great back cover blurb is important. The cover needs to impart the spirit of the story, too. But I really think that beyond all of that, the contents within the cover and the back cover are the most important of all.

What do you think? Do you pick out books based on the titles? What is your criteria when selecting a new book to read?


Jenna Bennett said...

Clever titles are extremely important to me as a writer. As a reader, a little less so, although I do appreciate a nice turn of phrase. Jennifer Crusie, for example, has some really great, clever titles. Just like a bad cover, I'm afraid a bad title would make me draw a (possibly faulty) conclusion about the book itself. Not sure I've ever decided against reading a book that sounded interesting because the title was bad, but I do know that good titles have caught my attention before, and I've gone on to read the books as a result.

Deanndra Hall said...

As a writer, I'm always concerned that my titles reflect something of the contents of my book. My primary motivation with the title is to make it so clever and intriguing that I can get someone to read the description. If I can get them to do that, I've usually got them hooked. As a reader, my first look is for books with new, fresh-sounding titles, something that gives me a hint but doesn't give away the farm. Then I go straight for the description to see if I'm even remotely interested. I can usually tell within the first couple of lines of the description if I'd like the book - especially if the description is poorly written, has punctuation or spelling errors, and/or poor verb conjugation, etc. (red flag!).

Christine said...

Thanks for your wise words. I need to keep at it :)

Anne Gallagher said...

I'm horrible at titles, which is why mine are all plain-Jane. THE LADY'S MASQUERADE, THE DUKE'S DIVORCE, THE EARL'S ENGAGEMENT...

I mean, they basically deliver the story line, but yes, boring.