Ask a romance author about titles and you might hear some groaning. Many people are surprised to learn that we sometimes don’t (code for hardly ever do) come up with the titles for our own books. To be honest, titles are seen as a marketing tool more than a creative choice, and really I’m okay with that, since marketing tools are in large part about helping readers.
If you picked up a book called “The Italian Billionaire’s Secret Virgin Mistress” you would expect
a) a tell-all biography of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi
b) a sweet romance filled with evocative descriptions of Tuscan scenery and Renaissance art, with special focus on images of the Madonna
c) a hot, intense love story brimming with luxury, money and power
If your friend told you she’d written a Regency romance and was thinking of calling it “The Scottish Billionaire Laird’s Secret Virgin Mistress” you would
b) snigger, cackle, snort and laugh
c) suggest she leave out the words “billionaire” and “virgin” (And possibly “Scottish” and “Secret” as well… Oh heck, just call it “The Laird”) and demand she give you a copy to read at once
I could really go wild with this quiz idea but I think you get the point. As writers, we sometimes yearn for the title to fit some tiny but perfectly formed element in the story that we’ve fallen in love with, but as readers you (and we) want to know at a glance what kind of a read we’re getting, in this crowded marketplace of books.
When I finished and submitted the first book in my Cherry Sisters trilogy, various editors and marketing people got together in a huddle over huge mugs of strong coffee (or so I imagine) and decided to call it Falling For Her Sister’s Ex. I like this title. It gives you a pretty good clue about one of the key elements in the story. In fact, it puts it right out there.
But then some more editors and marketing people, and possibly some of the original ones as well, got together in a different huddle over different huge mugs of strong coffee AND delectable French pastries and decided on a change of focus in titles for Special Edition, and what they ended up calling it was The One Who Changed Everything. I like this title, too. It gives you a different kind of clue about what’s really happening between Tucker and Daisy. It’s more subtle. It’s about what’s happening inside the characters, not what the gossip would have been about.
The One Who Changed Everything is out now, and I hope you’ll look out for it.
Meanwhile, two things:-
First, tell us what kind of titles you love… and what kind you hate. Can you think of a title that has instantly made you pick up the book and buy it? Of the Harlequin lines, is there one whose titles you tend to like better?
Second, I have a great contest on my Facebook page, with a $300 gift certificate as a prize. It runs through to the end of August. If you want news on all sorts of great upcoming romance and women’s fiction releases, do please enter it! https://www.facebook.com/LilianDarcyAuthor/app_219476854871313