Monday, March 26, 2012

Does a rose smell just as sweet if it’s called a turnip?

Today is about the good, the bad, and the ugly of ...titles. Yeah, yeah, my blog title refers to names, not titles, but really what is a title but a name? It’s the name that exemplifies the wonderful world you’ve created, the amazing characters, the thrilling adventures. No pressure there, eh?

I don’t know about you folks, but I don’t like having to come up with titles. I had an ex-boyfriend who loved titles...he’d come up with tons of them, then created cool plans for his world ideas to fit his titles. He never really WROTE anything but he did make titles and plan ;).

I write, I write a lot. I HATE titles. And I’m not sure that I’m very good at it. My novel WIP, Sakari’s War- I like ;). It’s simple and it speaks to two “wars” for my main character Sakari- one internal and one external. However, at a meeting with a “big NY Publisher”, two of my other titles were less than loved. One he liked, A Curious Invasion, but the other two- not so much ;). He still requested the full mss of one of the ones he didn’t like the title of. I changed it when I sent it to him.

My novella WIP has no name. I’ve just been calling it “Geek Novella” since it was born, and now I can NOT for the life of me come up with anything else. I think I’m in a fix, since I can’t really submit it that way (any of you really good with titles?- HELP!!!).

I know titles are important, often I pick up a book to see if it’s something I’d like based first on the title. That being said, I have picked up and loved some books with titles that weren’t fabulous ;). I've also walked away from great titled books that had nothing beyond a great title.

So titles help give a feeling for your book, help agents, editors, and hopefully readers decide on whether they want to pick it up or not. But a great title can’t save a sucky book ;).

What are your thoughts? Are you a title wiz, or, like me, a title dweeb? For you published folks- how many times have you had a title be changed by the publisher? Good change or not so much?


  1. Hey Marie, titles are hard. It's like a blurb; you have that one little chance to pull a reader in, with limited words, without exposing too much. Who can't help but get frustrated? For the most part, my titles have come easily to me. But I still get those WIP's that laugh at me when I shake them and scream, "Tell me your name!"

  2. Hi D.F.- thanks for commenting :).

    LOL- I like that image, an author roughing up their WIP to get them to talk ;). I sooooo envy you for having titles come easy!

    Hmmmm- maybe if I threaten the "Geek Novella" I can get it to spill the beans...

    Thanks again for coming by!

  3. I have brilliant moments sometimes with titles, but usually I just call my book by a pet name (like "geek novella"). It took me ten years to get a decent title for THE NAMELESS WARRIOR, and even that was a suggestion by someone else :P

    Good luck with the naming!

  4. LOL- thanks Rebecca! Maybe you could ask that person who came up with your title to work on something for me ;).

    After this geek novella issue, I may never pet name a book/project again!

    Thanks for coming by!

  5. Great post. I like coming up with titles and I love alliteration, so I often use that. When I'm stuck I ask other people. I have made lists, and lists of titles looking for one.

    Glad I found your blog. I am following and hope you will consider following me. Thanks, Suzanne

  6. Thanks Suzanne :). I so envy folks like you! (and thanks for following- I'm now following you as well!)

    Marie- at work can't log into blogger

  7. I'm a title dweeb like you. Very frustrating!

    I have a YA steampunk romance planned that started as a contemporary YA called The Fixer-Upper Boyfriend. Since the term 'fixer-upper' didn't come into use until fifty years or so after my story now takes place, everyone can feel free to use that title. Unfortunately, I've drawn a blank on the Steampunk version so far. SIGH

  8. I'm so glad you came by Sarah! It's good to know there are other title dweebs out there (maybe we can form a support group ;)).

    And good luck on your title search- I feel your pain!

    Thanks for commenting!