Sunday, September 9

A book by any other name...


Before I get started here, this picture has nothing to do with the subject of the blog post, but I've gotten really paranoid about using things when I don't know their source. This is my 16-year-old granddaughter Tierney, and I'm pretty sure she won't sue me for using her picture. Isn't she pretty?

How are you with titles? Yeah, I’m stretching today—I couldn’t think of a single thing to write. But, in truth, it’s kind of an interesting question. I’ve had five books published, a number that will go to seven over the next months. I titled these books as follows, in the order of their release.

1.   Annie Again became Always Annie because Kensington thought Annie Again sounded negative, as in, “What, Annie again?”

2.   Because of Joe has stuck through three publishers! I swear, I’m not responsible for the first two closing their doors, but I was surprised when The Wild Rose Press left the title intact. Maybe they thought “third time lucky.”

3.   River Walk became The Debutante’s Second Chance. I love this story, loved writing for Harlequin (it was a Silhouette Special Edition), loved the editor I had there. The title—and maybe I shouldn’t admit this; maybe it’s like looking a gift horse in the mouth—makes me want to gag. I liked River Walk.

4.   Where Once There Were Wolves became Home to Singing Trees simply because the original was too hard to say. Try and say it three times and it’s a tongue twister. Try and say it after two glasses of anything stronger than Diet Coke and they might haul you off to detox.

5.   Last Rose had several titles before Carina Press bought it—even though they hated the title. My editor, Mallory, and I went through many hundreds of titles—well, maybe not quite that many, but it felt like it—and I think One More Summer passed because they were tired of dealing with us. And I love the new title—I have difficulty remembering it as anything else.

6.   Early to Rise is about a woman named Early, so I thought it was a great title. Harbourlight Books didn’t think so. Early has a quilt shop named A Soft Place to Fall. They liked that title better. I like it, too.

7.   Pickle Jar Dreams. Well, I guess pickle jars don’t sound romantic. Carina Press suggested Jar of Dreams and Mallory and I said Yes! It’ll be out in January and I can’t wait.

So there you have, whether you wanted it or not, the history of my failure as a person-who-titles-her-own-books. How about you? Have you been more successful at it than I have? And while I’m asking questions, how important is the title to you? Do you consider it when buying a book? I don’t—at least, I think I don’t. Hmm…

24 comments:

  1. Yes, I consider the title when buying a book. If it doesn't strike me, I don't look any further unless I happen to see words like "accidentally marries a demon." LOL. That was my last experience with book names vs. blurbs.

    How impressive to have so many books out. Keep up the good work!

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  2. I don't think I consider the title when buying a book. I read the blurb and if it captures my interest, I usually buy it or put it on the list to get it out of the library.

    I'm terrible at picking titles for my own books and usually leave it to the last minute and usually refer to the WIP at the moment by either the hero or heroine's name, i.e. Jack's book.

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    1. I do that a lot, too, Katherine. Or I put try-out titles in the header just to see how they feel.

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  3. I've never expected to keep any of my titles...so the fact I've kept half (1 out of 2, lol, not bad, right?) surprises me to no end. I think titles, like covers, are very important these days. The right title will catch a potential reader's eye, just as the right cover might.

    I've loved all your titles (and covers), Liz...and wait to see the next one(s)!

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    1. Thanks, Kristi. I don't think I've ever NOT bought a book because of its title, but I'm not sure I HAVE, either. A catchy title will make me pick one up, though.

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  4. I'm with Kristina. I never expect to keep my titles. But I've 2 out of three that were mine. One that I wished for someone to come up with something better, we kept. LOL Great post!

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  5. I think titles are important too. If I don't like it, I won't dismiss the book completely, but I do look less favourably on the blurb. It would have to be a GREAT one to make me want the whole package. How shallow am I?! ;)

    For my own, a friend came up wih my first book's title. Probably because I didn't truly believe it would be accepted (newbie insecurities). My second I named early on and I still love it :)

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    1. I think I felt this way until (in my opinion) romance publishers started coming out with such stupid titles--then I started ignoring the titles and going straight to the blurbs.

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  6. I do look at titles. If the title doesn't sound right, it won't stop me from buying the book, but I take a much closer look at it before I do. As for my own titles, I'm on submission for a three book deal, we'll just have to see if any of them survive.

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    1. Good luck, Ella! I think titles (including my own that I thought of) are often not very representational, just catchy!

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  7. I look at titles, too. I suppose I shouldn't judge a book by it's title (or cover) but I confess, I do!

    My titles, so far, have stuck. I'm never sure if they could have been better, though. I suspect I could do more catchy titles.

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    1. Good for you, Patty. And I definitely judge by covers--makes for me having a narrow POV and missing some really good reads, but I know I do it.

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  8. Hi Liz,
    People have emotional responses to titles. I am doing more reading on the Kindle, and often the title is all I see. I am reading an excellent fantasy book with a boring title, (gah, I can't even remember it.) The cover isn't that great either. This makes me sad because so many people will pass over it. The maor reason I am reading it was because it was free. Perhaps a major publisher will pick it up change the title and give it a jazzier cover.

    I always liked your covers. Now, the secret is out about the names. Your grandaughter is a cutie too.

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    1. Thanks, Morgan--she's a sweetheart, too. It's all subjective, though--SOMEbody really liked the cover and title of the book you're reading! :-) Like you, I wish the author well.

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  9. I've been successful in keeping the orginal titles of my books. The third book in my series Dangerous Times was changed before it went to my editor. One and two was, Silver Screen Heroes and Golden North. My third one was supposed to be Alaskan Skies, but my friend pointed out I had a metal in the other two names, so I changed the third to Bronze Skies.

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    1. That's neat, Ilona--the metal connotation. I'm hoping my WIP keeps Summer in it, too.

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  10. Pretty girl, Liz!
    So far, knock on wood, I've kept all my titles. I love titles. Ironic, isn't it, that I can't seem to find one for Austin and Jamie??? I love yours, btw.

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    1. Thanks, D. It is funny that you haven't, but I know there's one there waiting for them. I overthink them, which is an unfortunate tendency of mine anyway.

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  11. I'm terrible at coming up with titles. I always hope someone will think of a better one for me.
    When I'm perusing the shelves the cover has to catch my eye first, then the title, and then the blurb.
    BTW, Your granddaughter is lovely.

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  12. Thanks, Sandra--she's a keeper, all right. And now I'm wondering if that's the order I go in as well. Since I have a Kindle, a lot of my purchases are auto-buys (if Mary Balogh or numerous others wrote it, I'll buy it) and much of what I read is free. I'm not fully convinced that's a good thing for authors, but that's a post for another day. Thanks for coming by!

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  14. I look at titles, but I don't buy or pass based on them. Usually, the cover is what makes me pick it up and the blurb is what makes me by. So far I've got to keep both titles of my books. I have one that I'm working on that is still called "Untitled". First time I didn't have a title for a wip.

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