Last week my blog was about the birth of a cover. This week we will move on to how titles are created, or at least how they are sometimes created. At least for me.
When I begin a novel, I need a title. Not sure why, but putting Book #56 on something just doesn’t excite me enough to write it. Even if the title is what we call a “working” title, in other words I’ll use it while I’m working but it probably isn’t staying, that’s good enough.
Some publishers let the author pick titles, others change every one. Some let authors be involved with the choosing of a title, others pick it themselves and that’s it. Some titles fit, others not so much.
I have to admit, some changes are better. For instance, I wrote one book I titled AMAZING GRACE. The heroine’s name was Grace. Snore. The publisher suggested WHEN YOU WISH. Prettier. I added one line about wishes and voila.
I wrote a book about a Little League coach. I titled it COACH MOM. Great title, imo. Perfect for the book. But sports books don’t sell. (Don’t tell Susan Elizabeth Philips!) so it was changed to MOTHER OF THE YEAR. For the next book, about an ER physician and a vet I slapped DOCTOR, DOCTOR on there because I knew they’d change it. Instead I heard, “What a great title!” That was one of the few books I wrote for that particular publisher where the title did not change.
The original title for my novel BLUE MOON was ONCE IN A BLUE MOON. Too long. That led to most of the titles in the series being titled “Something” MOON. At least I had a template.
ANY GIVEN DOOMSDAY was such a perfectly great title, I figured it was doomed. Ha-ha. But that one remained, as did all of the others that I came up with for the series–DOOMSDAY CAN WAIT, APOCALYPSE HAPPENS and CHAOS BITES.
SHAKESPEARE UNDEAD was created by my editor. She just blurted it out at lunch one day and suddenly we had a series. Sometimes that happens.
In October, my first western historical romance under the name Lori Austin will be published. The working title was CHASE THE WIND,which I liked because the heroine’s name was Cathleen Chase and she was a bounty hunter after a man who was as illusive as the wind. Unfortunately the title had been used before, so it was out. We went through many, many suggestions before I thought of BEAUTY AND THE BOUNTY HUNTER, which I thought very clever since he’s the beauty and she’s the bounty hunter.
This led to “Once Upon a Time in the West” for a series title, which I absolutely love. However I can’t take credit for it since my agent’s assistant had the idea. (Thanks, Beth!)
Now it’s time to title Book #2, and we’re going round and round and round. My working title was ANNABETH AND THE BEAST, which I knew would not stay since we already used “beast.” My next suggestion was ETHAN AND THE WOLF. However, proper names are apparently a no-no.
We need the title to sound western. He was a spy and a Yankee. She was a spy and a Rebel. He’s a doctor;, she’s a Pinkerton detective. My head spins and spins. I thought about using Captain, though that sounds more Naval than western. You see my problem?
I’ll let you know what we decide.