Titles are tricky. They represent your story. And more importantly they need to hook a reader enough to read the blurb, if not buy your book.
I really don’t have a process for picking titles. Mostly they come to me as I’m coming up with the story. Some of my titles weren’t chosen by me initially for the book, but evolved either by suggestion from an editor, or from the need to redirect my thoughts.
My book Gambling On A Secret had been originally submitted with the title of “Butterfly.” In the story, the metamorphosis of for the two main characters is an important theme of the story. Heroine even mentions this to the hero when she describes what her vision for the broken down ranch is. She wants to turn the ugly into something beautiful. Like a caterpillar that turns into a butterfly. She even calls her ranch the Butterfly Ranch.
But when I submitted the book, the acquiring editor asked me to change the title since it didn’t sound “western-y” enough. I don’t regret this. In fact, I’m glad for it. The title we came up with works just as good if not better for the book and it allowed me to have a similarity in the titles for the other books in the series, which up until then had been untitled because I could never think of anything that worked with “Butterfly.”
With my title for Heartsrings, I chose to change it when I did the final rewrite of this story. At the time I didn’t know I’d turn it into a series, but I knew the working title of “The Long Road Home” just didn’t feel right for the story. This idea of coming home, is still a major theme in the story, but it seemed stale. I did some brainstorming and came up with the title Heartstrings. Then when I decided to create a series by adding books Heartsong and Heartland to the mix, I was glad I’d decided to change it.
A Hunter’s Angel got it’s title before I even knew what the story would be. This title came to me at the same time as I got the idea of a vampire who hunted vampires out of a need to redeem himself. Only it wasn’t doing good that would redeem him. It was the love of a woman.
A Hunter’s Blade got its title in a similar fashion. The newly turned vampire hero of that story, who we first meet as a cocky human in A Hunter’s Angel, only wants one thing–the right to carry a hunter’s dagger or blade.
One of my favorite books that I’ve ever read, I was attracted to simply because of the title. The novel is called A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness and is the first book in the All Souls series. I read the title in a blog comment about four years ago and it sparked my imagination. The blog commenter didn’t say much about the book, only the author’s name and that he liked it. I was piqued and looked the book up. Next, I bought it and devoured it. Then I bought the second and pre-ordered the third and went on an amazing ride. The books are a jumble of my favorite genres–fantasy, history, paranormal, time travel, and even a little science fiction. I recently read that the story will be made into a TV series–I can’t wait to see it.
Do you have any books that you’ve read simply because of a great title?
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