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Title, Title, Who has a Title?

Think of the great titles you’ve come across in your life time.  Bet there are too many to even think about. The Pokey Little Puppy, Gone with the Wind, Twilight, or The Sorcerer’s Stone – that’s just off the top of my head. They’re important, right? Right.

A friend recently pointed out that someone (I don’t know who) had done a survey asking her daughter to select which book won the Golden Heart in 2009 just by looking at titles. The results were startling. She chose all the winners in every catagory except one. Scratching your head? Me too.

So even though the study is not legitimate, it does bear some thought. Just how important is the title? Is it more important to portray the theme of the novel? Or the plot? Or maybe something catchy is better than either of the others?

Many readers and authors often use the Harlequin Presents titles as automatic punchlines for romance novels. The Shiek’s Virgin Wife or Making my Secretary my Baby Mama or some such title. Yeah, they’re crazy. Pregnesia? Really? But the titles says exactly what the book will be about. She got pregnant but doesnt’ remember it. I might like to read that one. 🙂 But you can’t deny, the reader will get a good idea about what he/she is buying.

And then there are the one word titles. Forbidden. Or Betrayed. That one word tells you the theme right out of the gate. Nothing clever or fancy. Just passionate. And brief.

Then there are the ones that engage in wordplay or cleverness – Janet Evanovich is prime example with her number titles. Or former guest Nancy Martin with her clever titles  – Have Your Cake and Kill Him Too. One of the Golden Heart finalists from last year just sold her winning manuscript – Death, Taxes and a French Manicure. Too cute, right? Love those titles.

I think I have titles on the brain because I have to submit a list of titles for my next book. And I gotta admit, the well is looking dry. Because titles are hard. Which was to go? Cute? Passionate? Something with alliteration or assonance? Sigh. Hard to tell.

So tell me…what are some of your favorite titles? Have you ran across any really bad ones?

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6 Responses

  1. Confession time….I sux at titles. I just do.

    Every once in a while, I’ll be listening to a song and hear a sentence or phrase and thing…OMG! What a great book title.

    great or poor titles? Neither comes to mind right now!

  2. Yeah, well, I’m no good either. I usually rely on family and friends to help me with titles for my books and wips. It’s like there’s nothing left over for creativity when it comes to titles.

  3. I’m still PO’ed at you for using “Vegas Two Step” when my WIP masterpiece is CURRENTLY titled “Texas Two Step”

    I’m thinking you read my mind and stole my title. I’m right, aren’t I?

  4. Blame Harlequin. I think great minds just think alike, right?

    How about Texas Tango? Nice alliteration.

    Fox Trottin’ in Texas?

    Dancin’ the Texas Jive?

    I’m going through all my Dancing with the Stars dances.

    Ah, Waltz Across Texas. I like that one 🙂

  5. those are some great titles…and you said you were no good at this! 🙂

    Store those titles somewhere. You’ll use them!

  6. […] It’s funny.  Since I began winning and placing in writing contests a few years ago, I got in the habit of occasionally googling my name just to see where it cropped up.  Trust me, my ego needed an occasional boost in this ruthless business.  Sometimes my name would be found in funny places.  Tonight, I googled the name of my debut novel and found it mentioned in an interesting blog entry by my fellow 2009 Golden Heart class-member Liz Talley.  In the piece, she talked about the importance of a good title.  I was thrilled when I learned St. Martin’s would be keeping mine.  But I admit – the name of the book wasn’t always “Death, Taxes and a French Manicure.”  It started out as “Filing Status:  Single.”  Then, at some point along the way, I felt like the title needed more punch and after considering dozens of options, I changed it. Here’s a link to Liz’s piece: http://everybodyneedsalittleromance.com/2010/08/25/title-title-who-has-a-title/ […]

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