My Kingdom for a Title
Posted by Christina Brooke Jun 11 2012, 12:33 am
I know, I know, this is a totally self-serving post, but what the heck. Inquiring minds want to know! Specifically, my inquiring mind wants to know…
I have a new three book series contracted for St. Martin’s Press (yay, the Westruther men!) and I’m trying to think of a series title as well as titles for each of the three books. Now, I won’t go into those here, but it got me wondering about all you Bandita Buddies out there.
What do you like in a book title?
For me, the ideal title fits the story in both mood and subject matter. It should be intriguing or funny but hopefully not twee. It should be snappy, easy to remember, easy to say. I write fairly sexy books (and this next series will be the hottest yet), so ideally there should be a sexy element to these titles, too.
It should also distinguish this book from the others in the series. I often have trouble connecting a generic title with a particular book and then I get mixed up about whether I’ve read it before. I have often bought the same book twice because of that and kicked myself afterwards.
Some publishers and authors have been clever enough to market series with the number of the book in the title–notably the Stephanie Plum series–ONE FOR THE MONEY and so on. You always know which book you’re up to with Stephanie.
Liz Carlyle is the first historical author I can recall using that idea with ONE LITTLE SIN, TWO LITTLE LIES, and THREE LITTLE SECRETS and Mary Balogh cleverly titled one of her series FIRST COMES MARRIAGE, THEN COMES SEDUCTION and AT LAST COMES LOVE.
Then there are all the ‘like a song/movie/book/play’ titles, for instance, Julia Quinn used James Bond titles in her wonderful Bridgerton series, Susan Elizabeth Phillips uses a lot of songs. My HEIRESS IN LOVE (SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE) and the forthcoming A DUCHESS TO REMEMBER (AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER) are from movies (my editor chose them, by the way, while I came up with MAD ABOUT THE EARL. Eloisa James used Shakespearean plays–PLEASURE FOR PLEASURE from MEASURE FOR MEASURE and so on.
For historical novels particularly, there are a few ‘buzz’ words that always seem to be popular, like ‘sin’, ‘wicked’, ‘duke’, ‘night’, ‘rake’ and so on. In fact, perhaps my next book should be titled TO SIN WITH A WICKED DUKE, or ONE NIGHT WITH A WICKED RAKE. You think I’m joking, don’t you? I’m not, actually. A title is a sales tool and no doubt those titles would sell well, as many others like them have done.
I like witty titles and plays on words, and I also like sensual sounding titles, like Meredith Duran’s BOUND BY YOUR TOUCH and WRITTEN ON YOUR SKIN. I also love Jenny Crusie’s titles because it’s almost like one of her characters is talking. ANYONE BUT YOU, MAYBE THIS TIME, DON’T LOOK DOWN. Her unique voice is right there in the title.
So today, for a chance to win my (thankfully) already titled A DUCHESS TO REMEMBER (out June 26), please come up with a title for a Regency historical romance. It can be as over the top as you like! Or if you’re not feeling creative, please tell me the titles you love or titles that made you pick up a book from the shelf!
Posted in A Duchess to Remember, Christina Brooke, contest, Jenny Crusie, Liz Carlyle, Meredith Duran, Stephanie Plum, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, titles