In a name... Titles

As writers, most of us hate the prospect of putting a title to a book that we have been working on so hard for so long. It's usually a case of very easy or incredibly hard to come up with something that will encapsulate your theme and story, entice the reader to pick up the book and still be small enough to fit on a cover. There have been a lot of trends over the years with titles. Amanda Quick did an entire series with one word titles and Janet Evanovich's number books. They are all effective, and, if done right, can be the turning point between a best seller and a midlist contender.
Already I can hear the collective groan from a hoard of writers who are struggling with titles. The real catch on this is that we spend all that time coming up with a title that will catch an editor or agents eye and then the publisher will most likely change the title when the book goes into production. But that doesn't stop us from struggling with the issue.
One of the most common questions that I get with OBSIDIAN is... what is obsidian? Well, if you've read the book then you know that there is a reference to the black volcanic stone in the book, but it also became a metaphor for how deep and dark our pasts can be and how it colors our life as we continue on to adulthood. OBSIDIAN was the name that I picked for just that reason. I never dreamed that Five Star would actually want to keep it. But it worked on so many levels for the book.
THREE TRUTHS was published originally as THE THREE TRUTHS OF KATIE TALMADGE. I think that I was reading a lot of regency historicals at the time and thought that I could get away with that long a title. But I truly thought that the title would be changed by someone with much better skills at marketing the book. The publisher kept the title and I was left with a book with an incredibly long name. So much for the good will of the Title Gods. I did, however, get the chance to make this better when the book went to Kindle as an ebook. THREE TRUTHS is a much smarter and much easier to handle title and I consider it the grown up version for such a great book.
But what got me started on this topic was the title of a book being pitched to readers in Borders recent email. THE SCENT OF RAIN AND LIGHTNING. I have no idea how the book reads. It's on my to be read list, but the title completely enticed me. I loved the descriptive word play and all it invoked. Not to overlook the great cover art to go with it.
Then there are the THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, THE GIRL WHO... (insert the latest title here). I was surprised to find that there were other books being pubbed out there with similar titles that were not written by Stieg Larsson. Is this an obvious attempt to trade on the popularity of a bestseller? Or merely another example of titles changing to suit the readers demand. Much the same that the popularity of genres changes to suit the demand. 

So, just what is it about titles that you like or dislike? Is it a combination of the titles and artwork? And could just hearing a title entice you enough to buy the book? Let me know..

No comments:

Featured Post

Writing from the Dark Side

Heh! I started out calling this blog post "Blogging from the Darkside" and then went to "Writing from the Darkside" ...