Friday, July 12

Working title...hmm... by Liz Flaherty #WordWranglers

So. About titles. When I write a book, I give it a working title, sometimes no more than the names of the protagonists. Or even the name of one. Summer in Stringtown Proper was Molly Linden until it reached editing stages and I had to make a decision. I liked Molly Linden but couldn't read it without thinking of Molly Pitcher from the American Revolution. Fifty-year-old divorcee Molly Linden didn't fit the part.

Sometimes it's the setting. River Walk was the working title to The Debutante's Second ChanceBy the time I finished writing the book, River Walk was much more than a working title. I loved it, it was representative, it was--in my writer's heart--even poetic. It would fly, right?

Well, no. Harlequin didn't find it any of those things. My editor told me the title they'd chosen. He showed me the cover they'd developed. Twelve years later, Harlequin has given me several lovely covers and worked with me on several titles. I still hate the title and the cover to The Debutante's Second Chance almost as much as I love the story.

Pickle Jar Dreams became Jar of Dreams. So Nice to Come Home To became Nice to Come Home To. I don't remember the working title of The Happiness Pact, but it is one of my most beloved titles--thank you, Harlequin marketing.

Where Once There Were Wolves became Home to Singing Trees not because no one liked the title but because it was hard to say.

One More Summer went through at least three titles before it was sold--Hidden Paths being one, and I don't remember the others. Then my editor, Mallory Braus, and I went through a minimum of 30 other titles in search of the one we came up with.

Nan and I were talking about favorite titles. The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox, The Great Scout and Cathouse Thursday were ones we remembered. I love Persuasion and Rose in Bloom and Girl of the Limberlost and so many others. But did their authors love them?

I'm in the midst of title choosing now for my next book. The story has been The Long Summer since its inception, so it's going to be hard to get used to something different. I'm anxious to see how it turns out.

I hope you share some of your own title stories in comments, and wish me luck on what The Long Summer becomes.

Have a great week.

P. S. Added later! The title list has been made and pored over and agreement reached. Carol's story will be The Healing Summer and I am so happy for it. It's still a long summer, but the healing lets us know it's also a great one. Stay tuned!


  1. Oh, man, The Long Summer will always be The Long Summer to me, no matter what your publisher ends up calling it. Here's to the new title being something equally compelling. ;-)

  2. late to the party, Liz, but I love those titles, and I can so relate. It's hard to call a book we've been working on for months by some other name. It would be like renaming the hero at the last minute. Can't wait to hear what The Long Summer becomes (and here's hoping it's a great title)!

    1. We just got the title a few minutes ago! And I think I actually chose it. It's going to be The Healing Summer. And now I'm pumped again!

  3. I'm really late to the party! I like the title The Healing Summer. It speaks of hope to me, and better things to come. Moving forward. I think it's a great title.

    I'm currently in a quandary about the title of my current WIP. It's currently in my harddrive as Carry Me Home, but it's not really representative of the story. Maybe for one of my next blog posts I'll put out some ideas and see if the Wranglers and readers can help me decide. I could use some help!

    1. Oh, cool! I love brainstorming titles, even when it's hard! Thanks for stopping by, Jana. I don't care at all if it's late. I love comments. :-)