Enter title here… umm, yeah… title…hmm

It’s the first Wednesday of the month already, and time to share our hopes, dreams and fears with the Insecure Writers Support Group, the brainchild of Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh, and this month’s hosts are; Beverly Stowe McClure, Tyrean Martinson, Tonja Drecker, and Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor!

Do stop by their blogs and say hello (especially Ellen – she usually has cake πŸ˜‰ !)

This month’s optional question is; What’s harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names?

As you might guess from the blog title, titles are hardest for me, without a doubt. Character names mostly just roll out of my head and onto the page, but titles? Damn, they’re difficult.

You can spend hours sweating over the perfect title, only to have it completely ignored by the publisher. Here are some examples of my own stories;

Sleeping Beauty became Different Dreams,

Jenny’s Legacy became Family Heirlooms,

Not Just for Christmas became The Birthday Girl,

The Direct Approach became No Time Like the Present, and

The Perfect Christmas became It’s Got to be Perfect.

(Witch’s Knickers stayed as Witch’s Knickers though πŸ™‚ )

I’m fine with that. I get it and I bow to the superior knowledge of the magazine publisher, who not only knows their target audience, but also the titles of every other story in the magazine.

Novels, though? That’s trickier. First you need something to get the attention of the agent or publisher (unless you’re self-publishing). After that, you need something that will attract (and not put off!) the reader because, let’s face it, humans are fickle creatures and although ‘girl’ is probably offputting by now, there’s as much likelihood that ‘the bagel seller’ or ‘elephant in my pocket’ might also not work because the reader had a traumatic breakfast time trip to the zoo.

Relevance to the story may not be necessary though! I hear that The Concubine’s Secret, contains neither a concubine nor a secret, and although I haven’t read it, that little snippet of info makes it instantly more memorable to me!

How about you? Titles or names, what’s your bugbear?

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18 Responses to Enter title here… umm, yeah… title…hmm

  1. That’s a lot of title changes.
    I wonder how many people have had a traumatic experience with elephants?


  2. I like coming up with titles, so I’m not sure how I’d feel about all those title changes that were inflicted upon you. An anthology editor once added an exclamation point to my title, which I wasn’t all that keen on, but I agreed, anyway. In retrospect, I kinda wish I’d nixed the exclamation points, (He added more of ’em within the body of the essay, too.) because in my opinion, they make it look like something written by a melodramatic over-excited middle school girl. (Not entirely appropriate in a book about dealing with old age…)


    • Angela Wooldridge says:

      I guess it depends on the circumstances and how strongly you feel about it. It tends to go with the territory in the women’s mags market, so I don’t let it bother me.


  3. emaginette says:

    I loved both your before and after titles and think An Elephant In Your Pocket would make a great kid book. I can see him or her with a hand in their pocket feeling very safe indeed. πŸ˜‰

    Anna from elements of emaginette


  4. Lee says:

    I’m the title queen, but I’d rather have your problem. The book only needs one title. I dither with dozens of names. Well, at least the “important” characters names. Your titles, btw, are awesome, even the post title. But Witches Knickers kicks it!


    • Angela Wooldridge says:

      I still am very fond of witch’s knickers. Very pleased they kept that one. (Probably a good chance nobody else would be using it πŸ˜‰ )


  5. I’m with you, although neither are that huge a problem. I like naming things. *shrugs*


  6. Loni Townsend says:

    Heh, my novel titles are made up terms. Therefore, I suppose they have no meaning except to me and readers of the series?


  7. Juneta says:

    I did not know that about the Concubine’s Secret. That sort of cheating in my eye cause I do look at the cover, title and blurb for interest in the story first.


    • Angela Wooldridge says:

      To be fair to the author, I think it was a decision by the publisher (not sure where I heard about it)


  8. Fun titles! I’m having a heck of a time with the title for my WIP. I think it’s because I don’t generally like the titles typical of my genre. Happy IWSG day! http://www.raimeygallant.com


  9. I struggle with titles, so lately I’ve been having my readers come up with them. The best suggestions win a free ebook of their choice. It’s been a lot of fun, and it’s a great way to engage your fans.


  10. Those title changes are so interesting! I’m starting to get a reputation about having sugary snacks πŸ™‚


  11. I really appreciated your examples of title changes. I have a really tough time with them, too. And Concubine’s Secret doesn’t have a concubine or a secret? That’s interesting. Hmm. Maybe I should name my next novel . . . Cinnamon, even though I don’t think it’s relevant?
    Have a wonderful June! (Sorry I’m late to comment and visit.)


  12. And, oops, my post should be connected to google and not wordpress. So here goes again.


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