Thursday, May 04, 2006

Title trauma

Does anyone else find titles as difficult as I do to create? I can imagine an entire plot, people it with characters, work out the twists and turns and conflicts – but can I think of a title? No.

I am about to complete what my editor and I refer to simply as ‘Pirates’. It features piracy in the Adriatic, not the Caribbean, and the pirate is the villain not the hero – so far, so hopefully original. But I can’t call it ‘Pirates’ can I? It needs an original title that is going to hook the reader and hint at the swashbuckling romance contained. My mind is a total blank.

So I thought I would cheer myself up by finding a title in advance for the next project, a Regency novella for Summer 2007. It has to contain Middle Eastern exoticism and be lush, exciting and, so my editor tells me, Hot. Plenty of scope there then. Nope. So far it is firmly imprinted on my brain as ‘Camels’, probably the least romantic romance title ever.

And the next full length book? My mental filing system has that one down as ‘Stagecoach’ and won’t be shifted on that either. “What does Stagecoach conjure up for you?” I asked my husband hopefully. After much cogitation he came up with “John Wayne and women giving birth in snowdrifts and lots of boiling water.” Possibly not the most helpful image for a Regency romance.

What do readers think? How important is the title to making you pick up a book? And if there are any writers out there who have the same problem, do comfort me by telling me I’m not the only person in the world who is rubbish at titles.

Louise Allen


AnneMarie Brear said...

As a fellow author, I understand your title 'problem'. :o)

Stagecoach and regency? it doesn't fit for me. When i think of stagecoach I think western. :o)

Good luck anyway!

Regards Anne Whitfield

Anonymous said...

"How important is the title to making you pick up a book?"

Not very. The back cover blurb is more important, and the front cover pictures may not always be accurate but they do usually get the historical period right (there are exceptions, of course).

Mind you, if I see there's a Mills & Boon out with the name 'Louise Allen' on it, I'll buy it. And I don't get to pick the book up before I buy, because there aren't so many places selling M&B anymore (yes, I'm still annoyed about them no longer being stocked by Tesco).

Lois said...

A title never makes me pick up a book unless it suggests it's REgency, then I'll check. LOL Anyway, it's always the back cover that makes me get it. But I certainly like a catchy title as much as the next guy! :)


Kate Allan said...

I tend to name my works-in-progress after a leading character if I can't think of anything else, and don't usually worry about titles too seriously until I'm ready to submit.

Definately try and get the word 'pirate' into the pirate book if you can. Maybe not 'camel', unless it's a comedy. :)

Anonymous said...

I try and use a phrase from the book- apart from the first, The Unconventional Miss Walters, though she is called 'unconventional' several times.
By the way I loved both your books-

Eva said...

I cast a cursory glance over the picture on the front cover and then turn to the blurb on the back. Then I read the title. Unless, that is, I'm checking library shelves.

I had the idea that the publisher had a big say in the title. Currently my two wannabes have titles but I've assumed that if they're ever picked up they'll be changed. Am I mistaken?