If you read my blog regularly you’ll have noted by now that titles are crucial to me. They are crucial to my publisher, too. Unfortunately we don’t always agree about what’s crucial to sell a book and keep an author happy.
I’ll confess that in hindsight I can see that some of my ideas have been less than stellar. I remember titling one of my first romances The Soul’s Seduction, which Harlequin Superromance put a stop to immediately. Of course their selection, Something So Right, has never felt like, well, something so right. But in all fairness, neither does The Soul’s Seduction, which now sounds like it should be a sequel to The Exorcist.
We’re having problems with my latest title, too, months after I proposed it and thought it was safe. That’s particularly difficult for me since I’ve worked it into the story in numerous ways already. This is something authors get and publishers don’t. I’ve heard on good authority that Adam wanted to call the first book of the New Testament Eve and the Magic Apple, and we all know how that turned out.
I have friends who are far more objective about this process, believing that publisher input is vital. I have others who are so thoroughly disenchanted they call every novel Untitled because they know marketing will change it no matter what, so why waste time? A mega-bestselling author once told me a true story about a meeting in which she was told what the title of her new book would be. Marketing’s pick was two words, a heroine’s name and something the heroine possessed. Neither word had any correlation to the story, but somebody thought it was a great title. She wrote the book to match it.
I am not nearly as accommodating. You will note that I am also not a mega-bestselling author.
Today, though, I’m most interested in what YOU think. What makes a book title memorable and attractive enough that you pull it off the bookshelf to check out the story? I’m truly interested in your opinion, so please feel free to also give examples if they occur to you. I’ll start with three that matter to me, just to get things rolling. Remember, this is your chance to be heard. Share at least one thought in a comment on this post. If everything you want to say has been covered, just tell us a book title you’ve particularly liked and why. You will still be entered.
Random.org will choose a winner in June from all commenters on both list posts in May. The prize is an autographed novel, my choice since it will depend on what is not yet packed. You still have time to comment on the first one, too.
Elements of a Great Book Title:
1: The title fits the genre so that the reader isn’t fooled
2: The title is short enough to remember AND long enough to remember
3: The title captures my imagination
Now it’s your turn. Have fun.
And in another giveaway. Congratulations to Janet Bowlin, whose comment on my interview with Diane Chamberlain was chosen by random.org to win a copy of Diane’s Keeper of the Light.