Can You Abide Another Post about Titles?

TitlesDrum roll, please. It’s that time of year.


Last week I learned that my new book proposal has been approved. No one asked for changes. Oh, except one little thing. Yep. The title, which I loved, which I’ve hoarded for years in hopes I’d find the right story to deserve it, was immediately axed.

But wait. . . Let’s not get in a huff, as I was tempted to. In fact my publisher is right. My title, Life After Love, immediately conjures a book about widowhood. When my editor explained this, my only question was why I hadn’t seen it myself. Because this is not a book about a widow or widower. Not at all.

When I said, well, okay, maybe the next time I’ll write a book about a widow, she said, not with that title. It’s such a downer.

And, you know, she was right again. So goodbye title. Because as your mother always told you, first impressions are important, and sometimes a novelist doesn’t get a second chance to impress. The reader has already set the book down and moved on to the next one in the row. She’ll never know the title had a different, subtler meaning.  Subtle is not a bonus on a book cover.

I have posted about the ins and outs of titles before, as the title of this post points out. Among other mentions I’ve talked about judging a book by it’s title where I asked for your opinion about what elements matter. Titles by collaboration with publishers.  And which comes first, novel or title.  I might add that since my editor realizes that titles really do matter to me, she told me immediately that this one wouldn’t fly. Then she got my publisher’s promise to keep whatever title we agree on so that I can use it as I write. While that doesn’t matter to many authors, it does matter to me.

Now it’s time to put on my thinking cap, because I haven’t written word one of the novel. I’d like to begin it knowing exactly what readers will see on the cover when they pick it up next June.

So just as I did last summer, here’s a list, off the top of my head, of title ideas. You will note one similarity in all of them. I think I can tell you now that there are two important women in this story who grew up as foster sisters. There’s a lot more to the story, of course, but that’s what we’re working with here.

Here’s my starter list. I think some of these titles are just okay. One stands out for both me and my husband, and it will definitely be suggested to my editor. Several don’t appeal to me at all, but might appeal to you and your feedback will be fun to read.

The Color of Light, coming in August, was suggested by one of you, so I have great faith in your abilities.

Look over my list, tell me what you like, and give me any other suggestions that occur to you. I’ll let choose one comment, and that reader will get an autographed novel from my vast storehouse of author copies.

My publisher may not like any of our suggestions, but let’s give them something to chew on. By the way, my first idea was True Sisters until I realized my friend Sandra Dallas got there first. While titles aren’t copyrighted and I would be thrilled to have my book confused with one of Sandra’s, I’m not about to repeat that one.

  • Truly Sisters
  • Really Truly Sisters
  • Genuine Sisters
  • Undeniably Sisters
  • More Than Sisters
  • Better Than Sisters
  • Sisters Once Removed
  • Blood Sisters
  • Surely Sisters
  • Counterfeit Sisters
  • Make Believe Sisters

And that’s five minutes worth of brainstorming. Now it’s your turn. Have fun.

****Wednesday: So far More Than Sisters is leading the pack. (Nobody has chosen my favorite. Want to guess which one I’m leaning toward?)

Sisters Once Removed was chosen by one of you, and I finally realized how perfect that is for two girls who were removed from their biological parents and placed in foster care. Will admit that little twist hadn’t occurred to me when I added it.  I’ll definitely add those two when I send in my list. Also several people suggested Ties That Bind.  Completely appropriate for this story and a good idea, but well used by too many authors before me.

I’m still considering. I want something a bit gritty and not too sweet. Meantime I’ll let choose a winner next Monday and announce it here on Tuesday. So you still have time to comment.


  1. Joni on March 3, 2015 at 11:06 am

    I like
    “More than sisters”

  2. Lynne Killion on March 3, 2015 at 11:18 am

    How about
    Heart Sisters

  3. ANNETTE on March 3, 2015 at 11:35 am

    I like “adopted sisters ” (I was adopted into a wonderful family and have a wonderful sister .)

  4. Courtney Baylis on March 3, 2015 at 11:45 am

    sisters of the heart or chosen sisters

  5. Marsha McKinney on March 3, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    Sisters of the Heart, More than Sisters

  6. Kim Akers on March 3, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    I like “More Than Sisters” because it means there is more to this story than just another one about sisters who have a bond or sisters who hate each other or women who aren’t even sisters. Can’t wait to read it no matter what the title!

    • Emilie Richards on March 4, 2015 at 10:16 am

      Now I just have to write it.

  7. Shanna on March 3, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    Thicker than blood, stronger than blood, bonded by life, ties that bind. Not sure about a good title, but I would leave out the sister part. The sister part doesn’t make it stand out enough .

  8. joan garland on March 3, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    More than sisters.

  9. Faith Creech on March 3, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    I am really looking forward to your new book “The Color of Light”. I am a fan of yours and love all your books. I am excited to hear of the new book you are beginning on foster sisters. I thought a good title might be SISTERS TRULY BLESSED. Foster sisters have a unique relationship and the idea for a book on this subject would be wonderful and inspirational. The trials and joys that they experience bring them through something very special. I can hardly wait to read it!

  10. Marcia Melton on March 3, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    More Than Sisters

  11. Janet Warren on March 3, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    I like “More Than Sisters.” We can be blood relatives and not have anything n common. But foster sisters who have gone through a lot together are more tthan sisters.

  12. marcia d on March 3, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    I do like “Sisters of the Heart”, but to be original, how about “Ties That Bind” ?

  13. Darla S Fain on March 3, 2015 at 8:28 pm

    More than Sisters

  14. Lynn Ross on March 4, 2015 at 12:21 am

    More than Sisters stood out as I read the list. I vote for that one, also.

  15. Terry Guerra on March 4, 2015 at 2:18 am

    “Truly Sisters” pops out at me, implying that something has emphasized or strengthened the bond existing between them. Also thought of “Sisters Of Fate”, “Sisters By Fate”, “Sisters To Fate”. P.S. This is fun!

  16. Renee Ross on March 4, 2015 at 10:16 am

    More than Sisters

  17. Marsha Markham on March 4, 2015 at 10:34 am

    I kind of like Sisters Once Removed

  18. Marna on March 4, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    Sisters Once Removed is my favorite. (Was before I read your update.) I would probably like a title that didn’t have the word sisters in it even better. I don’t have a sister, and am usually a bit put off by things about the special bond between them. Based just on the title, Sisters Once Removed seems the least sister-y of them.

  19. Becks on March 4, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    How about:
    “Sister’s United” “Sisters United”
    “Beyond Sisterhood”

    Whatever you title this new book I will look forward to it coming off the presses!

  20. marcia d on March 7, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    Still thinking of names (it’s fun!) Here’s two more for you – Fated to be Sisters, Sisters of Circumstance.

  21. Martha O'Quinn on March 8, 2015 at 8:37 am

    My favorite on the list is “More Than Sisters.”
    I have a biological sister and a “friend who is like a sister” and I love them both equally.

    I keep thinking back to phrases one sees on pillow covers and keepsake gifts – sisters through birth, friends through heart. Maybe there is a title in there, somewhere! Such fun.

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