CONGRATULATIONS

Carrie Fancett Pagels' "The Substitute Bride" in O' Little Town of Christmas collection is a 2016 Published MAGGIE AWARD FINALIST in Romance Novellas!!!


Tea Party winners: Roseanna M. White's winner is Debbie Wilder, Denise Weimer's print copy of Widow goes to Andrea Stephens, Debra E. Marvin's winners for Ebook collection are Cheryl Baranski and Rachel Koppendrayer, Carrie Fancett Pagels' ebook collection goes to Joan Arning and paperback to Connie, Gina Welborn's winner is Regina Fujitani, Gabrielle Meyer's paperback copy of A Mother in the Making is Teri Geist DiVincenzo

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Naming your baby - er, book!

Recently I had the pleasure of sharing my new title for my next historical releasing in 2012. "Titling" as publishers call it, is a unique process. Oftentime readers and non-writers assume authors have control over their titles and book covers which is rarely the case. We have "working titles" which we create during the writing of our manuscripts. Once we turn that manuscript in to editors, the team behind the book (editorial, marketing, sales, publicity and whatnot) begin work on crafting the perfect title.
Like a book cover, a title is supposed to "pop" or pull the reader in. It's supposed to have that wow factor that leaves a lasting impression. A great deal of thought and time goes into deciding on the right title. My marketing director shared that their team receives a binder that is about 3 inches thick, full of info which helps them make their decision. They have to be savvy that titles don't overlap or are too similar so keep a close eye on the marketplace, etc.

Sometimes a writer becomes very attached to a working title and goes along with the change a bit grudgingly (okay, with much weeping and gnashing of teeth). Fortunately, I've really, really liked the titles my publisher came up with for my first two books but was delighted when they used mine for the third and fourth.

These were the working titles for my first books and the actual published titles...

Dogwood Winter...The Frontiersman's Daughter
Red River Daughter...Courting Morrow Little
The Colonel's Lady...The Colonel's Lady
Love's Reckoning, The Ballantyne Legacy, Book 1...Love's Reckoning, The Ballantyne Legacy

If you're a writer I'd love to know the working titles for your books, the published titles, and if you think you'd have or have had a hard time adjusting to a new name for your baby - er, book!


If you're a reader, do you have any book titles that are memorable to you?

45 comments:

  1. Oh, there are so many, Laura, but Courting Morrow Little was a title that fascinated, and drew me in! It was so unusual. Shadowed in Silk was another. The Jewel of Persia, When the Heart Cries by Cindy Woodsmall, Before the Scarlet Dawn; the list goes on and on. Oh, and The Maid of Fairbourne Hall; oh, you ask a hard thing, Laura! I could keep everyone here all day! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, love all those titles, Diana! It's interesting that you could just rattle them off:) A sales and marketing team would be proud! Titles are so very important as you've shown. They should be the very heart of the book!

      Delete
  2. How interesting! I dont have any books, but working as a newspaper writer I knew the value of a title that was short, sweet, and bonus if it was intriguing. Once I had to write a whole story around a photo I took of some JROTC students doing a rope tug exercise and it was called, of course, 'tug of war.' I ended up writing the story, after the fact, of the students' plans for joining the military. So, that was writing and titling a little backwards I guess ;) I'm so eager to read your latest book, the title alone sounds awesome!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heather, I've always thought your journalism training was so beneficial - they're the best at snagging sharp, snappy titles. That first glance is critical. Love the 'tug of war' title as it says it all.. Sometimes I don't know the name of the story till it's all done!

      Delete
  3. Oh, and Fire Dragon's Angel! Why don't I just say ALL of them! LOL!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you better name the ones you didn't like. It probably takes less time to think of them. LOL

      Delete
    2. Okay, reading glasses on, just saw Marian's comment. LOL - I DO think it would be easier to name the ones we didn't like. But maybe only if the author is deceased;)

      Delete
    3. "But maybe only if the author is deceased;)"
      LOL, Laura!

      Delete
    4. Marian, that was funny! Laura, that was super funny!

      Delete
  4. This is so interesting because I thought the author had the last say on their titles. It's kind of like a school renaming your child when they enroll. :-) Hmmm... Some intriguing titles that have caught my eye in recent months:

    Threads of Hope
    Shades of Truth
    The Captive Heart
    The Keeper
    A Lasting Impression

    Hmmm...they are all short a sweet but convey an air of mystery, don't you think?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kav,
      I always did, too. You'd be amazed at how many people think that authors design their own covers, too. They just gape when I tell them it's primarily a sales/marketing decision. Yet it makes sense. Love the titles you've mentioned here - I've read some of them and want to read others. Short and sweet is the rule but those few words have to say SO MUCH!

      Delete
  5. after the first, hehe, they are in no particular order, s
    ome delightful titles: Courting Morrow Little, Wonderland Creek, Wind Dancer, To Win Her Heart, Rose of Winslow Street....which I haven't read yet but the title is lovely! -Amy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, Amy! Anything with a flower sounds sweet to me and the others just have an evocative, poetic sound. I think TFOWS has the most beautiful rose cover! Chuckling at your comment below right along with Marian;)

      Delete
  6. I think I like titles with "w's" lol
    !

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Laura! Hope you're having a great Wednesday! I think I might have a hard time accepting a new title for "The Way of Impressions" (because I like it :-), but I would happily accept a publisher's suggestions for my other manuscript, "For the Sake of One Lost". I do like the title, but since I've split that manuscript into two separate books, I'm having trouble coming up with a good title for book one. So far, I like “Finding the Back of Beyond”. (Australian saying for the Outback desertland.)

    Titles that have caught my eye? Hmmm… Well, “The Colonel’s Lady” and “Courting Morrow Little” are definitely attention getters! I also like “Love on the Line”, “A Bride in the Bargain”, “Walks Alone”, “Fairer Than Morning”… I could go on and on. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, more great titles, Gwen:) Personally, I think TWOI sounds so intriguing and has a lushness to it. Your Outback-related title sure sounds intersting! I'll admit I'm not good at coming up with titles. For Ballantyne book 2, the one I'm working on right now, I've come up with "Love's Awakening" which fits the storyline and jives with "Love's Reckoning" but I have a feeling it's gonna tank come decision time;)

      Delete
    2. Thanks for your kinds words about TWOI! You know, you're only making me more determined to keep it ;-) I think I'm unattached to my other titles because they are rather long. But you're titles are great! -- "The Colonel's Lady" instantly captivated me, and "Love's Awakening" is appealing as well. I hope it isn't cast aside.

      Anyway, you've got me brainstorming titles now! LOL! I need to turn off brainstorming mode and finish up the last chapter of TWOI. And I need to shut off the internet too... ;-)

      Delete
    3. Gwendolyn,

      The Way of Impressions screams Regency to me, which is my first love! I adore the title :)

      Delete
  8. The title The Colonel's Lady intrigued me. I'm not only mentioning this because you wrote it, dear Laura. ;) When I saw that title I knew I had to read it.

    On the other side the title Courting Morrow Little didn't fascinate me so much. It's probably, because when I translate that in my Dutch head it's not something we'd say like that in Dutch.

    The picture on the cover is more important to me than the title. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A very good point, Marian. I often forget titles but rarely covers. And the cover is what first draws me in. Love hearing that TCL's title intrigued you. I think that's just what Revell hoped for! I can just imagine how hard CML would be to translate title-wise. I like that title but remember feeling a bit dismayed as I really do feel I write historical fiction and not romance. There's a big difference. Hats off to those clever folks who think of these snazzy titles!

      Delete
  9. I have a working title - since I'm not published it's still a working title LOL "Lantern on Waters Deep". Historical Romance with an element of suspense. We'll see how it flies someday if it gets picked up - perhaps fly right out the window, but I'm not welding myself to it, so that's okay :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love that title! It has a wonderful intriguiing sound to it!

      Delete
    2. I'm with Sweet P! I think it's beautiful and suspenseful and creates this wonderful image, Jaime, of water and light. Plus knowing it's a bit suspenseful doesn't hurt! LOL about the welding part. I know just what you mean...

      Delete
  10. Back again- forgot to post my title for my unpubbed finished work: No Other Voice. I'd be happy either way. This particular title, however, is a huge play on words.

    ReplyDelete
  11. OH, Amy! That sure makes me think and want to dig deeper as to just what the story is about. It has a certain sound to it that's very appealing. Since you say it's a huge play on words, I'm even more curious!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Have to take my mom to a knitting class. Be back later! Love these wonderful comments!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Wow, I've been away too long. I love these threaded replies.

    I love both the titles that you chose and the ones they went with, and am so glad you got to keep at least a couple of your original titles. My first title was kept - The Shadow Catcher's Daughter - which made me very happy. They kept the title for my novella - Carving a Future - although they shortened the title for the collection from Colonial Connecticut Courtships to Colonial Courtships (understandable). The working title for my 3rd novel in the Quilts of Love series was Design for Love, but they changed it to Pattern for Romance. It is a colonial and, well, I wish it didn't say romance in the title, sounds more 19th century to me, but I'm sure they know what they are doing and here is where I must trust my editor's good judgement.
    I'm just thrilled to have 3 books on the horizon!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Carla, So good you're here! As I read your post I was just thinking the same thing - how amazing/wonderful to have 3 colonial books on the horizon! And to think it all happened in about a year or so. I'm sure it's been a whirlwind! Hope your mom is feeling better - you, too. I think of you both so often. So glad you had a hand in all of your titles. That makes them even more meaningful:)

      Delete
  14. Well, I definitely thought that y'all could title your own books!

    Some of my favorite titles that captured my attention were A Stray Drop of Blood (Roseanna White), She Walks in Beauty (Siri Mitchell), The Guardian Duke (Jamie Carie) The Colonel's Lady (you know who ;))and The Maid of Fairbourne Hall (Julie Klassen).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anne, You have a poet's ear for these titles. They all just sound right, if that makes sense. I especially love The Guardian Duke by Jamie as I endorsed that one not long ago. It has a great historical twist - and a very compelling hero! Plus the cover is great. Thanks so much for the nod to TCL. I like that title, too;)

      Delete
  15. Holy cow, I am off to two colonial plantations for an afternoon of research and all this great discussion is going on! Glad to see it! I loved The Frontiersman's Daughter as a name. I have a current MS but I better not say the name of it as I might get in trouble. I love Rita's new title - Before the Scarlet Dawn.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I wondered where you went, dear Carrie! Your excuse is stellar so you're forgiven;) I hope you had a wonderful time at both! Rita's title is very memorable which really says something as I have a hard time remembering titles! And the cover is stunning, too!

    I understand completely about not revealing titles. I loved my next title, Love's Reckoning, so much that I didn't tell anyone till it had gone inhouse and been approved. I was honestly afraid someone might "borrow" it! Kind of crazy but it fit my story so well I think I would have been a bit heartbroken. So best keep it close for now:)

    Glad you're back - sweet Carla, too! Just not the same w/o you two!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm keeping my titles close to the vest now too, Laura. You know why. Even if there's every chance they will be changed, you never know if you, as the author, will hit upon the best title while working on the book and since years could pass before that book finally sees print, I'm learning it's best not to share them publicly. Just on the off chance....

      But it's great fun look back at your titles to see what they might have been. :) For what it's worth, I really really like Red River Daughter, and would have picked up that title in a heartbeat.

      Delete
  17. When I first wrote my debut novel, it was a secular book entitled Promised Betrayal. Several years later I retitled it to Promised Blessings when I converted it to Christian fiction. When it sold, my publisher retitled it to Highland Blessings.

    My next novel sold on proposal as Path of Promise, but my publisher then changed it to Path of Freedom.

    I'm not having too much of a problem adjusting. The titles they have proposed were fine with me, and for that I'm thankful!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Oh, Laura, what a FUN discussion!!!

    I have to admit, I was pretty devastated when Revell changed my original titles for the Daughters of Boston series, which I originally named The Wind of God series. As a huge Gone With the Wind freak, I wanted to have the word "wind" in my titles and also wanted each title to be a Scripture. Consequently, A Passion Most Pure was originally A Chasing After the Wind, A Passion Redeemed was Chaff Before the Wind and A Passion Denied was On the Wings of the Wind, Scripture titles all that were also the actual themes for the books.

    Well ... that didn't fly with Revell, unfortunately for me at the time because I was very upset, but my agent told me that titles change approximately 80-90% of the time, so not to get attached.

    Revell asked me for more suggestions, so ... being the Queen of Anality that I am, I gave them about 150 or so titles from which to choose, and one of them was "A Passion Most Pure," which I really didn't like, but they loved it. I still remember my daughter saying, "Gosh, Mom, do you really think anyone is going to want to a romance with the word "pure" in it?" But, apparently they did, thank God, and then after that, the other two titles fit like a glove.

    Favorite titles of mine are Gone With the Wind, Inherit the Wind, Wind Dancer, East of Eden, A Lasting Impression, Love on the Line, The Colonel's Lady and Veil of Pearls, MaryLu's newest.

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  19. I've had two picture books published and Concordia went with both working titles. I was very happy. Right now, I'm trying to sell a YA fantasy novel called Fairyeater and can't imagine it being called anything else.

    The nonfiction book for special needs parents Harvest House is interested in is called "Shut Up, It's Not a Blessing!" While everyone I know thinks it's a strong title, I don't hold out much hope for the publisher keeping it.

    Thanks, Carrie, for sharing this post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pam, I try to get these posts shared on Twitter and FB, so I am glad you saw it!!! LAURA FRANTZ writes such amazing fiction and we are so blessed to have her as one of the fifteen contributors on this blog. She always has such thought-provoking posts!!! Wonder what they will call my MS if/when it gets published. There is another French book with Escape from Versailles in the title, so I wonder if that part won't fly!

      Delete
  20. Jennifer, You're a beautiful example of how a pub works with an author's original ideas and makes them better:) I love your appreciative spirit. I, too, have always liked my published titles better and think they fit my books to a T. I've heard so many wonderful things about your work and since we share a love of the Scots, it's on my list to dive in to Highland Blessings soon! Thanks so much for commenting - and happy writing!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Julie, LOL - I think I'm a Queen of Anality, too;) I love hearing the story behind APMP. Long before I knew you but was first contracted by Revell, your debut was the first book I ordered. I'd never read any of their fiction and when Amazon delivered your book, I recall just staring at the cover and thinking how perfect the title was. For me it was easily remembered and had that poetic sound that I love.

    But like you, I'm a wind girl! And I am SO glad your next series had that word in it. Since we both know the wind is the Spirit it means even more. I would have been a bit heartbroken, too.

    When my editor contacted me to tell me they'd renamed my debut TFD, I felt a bit off kilter. This sounds strange but it was like the baby I'd created and loved and lived with for the 10 year period I'd written it had been adopted by someone else and renamed. It was an odd feeling so I commiserate with anyone who is very attached to a title.

    BTW, dear Julie, I just rec'd my NEW COVER for Love's Reckoning and I haven't stopped smiling since!! Since we're releasing the same month, you've been in my thoughts and prayers all week. Can't wait to see yours when it happens!! I sure love mine:)

    Bless you for taking time to comment. You're such a JOY!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Pam, You are one of the few authors who have kept their titles:) And I must say, I LOVE the title "Fairyeater." That says so very much! YA Fantasy is so strong that I hope you find a home for it, soon. And I honestly like your non-fic title as it is very honest and heartfelt and certainly something many special needs families and teachers have sometimes thought for years and years. It certainly gets your attention! Reminds me of a sports ministry I know about that is called "Shut Up and Serve." It's all about serving Jesus and certainly gets your attention! Thanks so much for commenting, Pam.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Titles do matter. I once wrote a column when Jerry Garcia died, and then I went on to criticize the drug scene that surrounded him. The editor titled it "Grateful he is dead." That was so WRONG! I would never wish someone dead. The title was terrible, and as far as I'm concerned gave the reader an opinion of the column before they ever started reading it. Angie G.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ohmigoodnessgraciousme!!! I cannot believe they put that up as title! Often it is what sells.

      Delete
    2. Oh my, I second Carrie. You're right, Angie, it poisoned the reader prior! How sad. Another good reminder of how careful we have to be with titles. Thanks so much for your comments.

      Delete

Thanks for commenting, please check back for our replies!