A few years back Jennifer Ashley and I did a workshop on Title & Premise and how writers could get the interest of editors, agents or readers before they even started the book.  Today, I want to concentrate on the title part. 

A lot of writers skip skip working on a title or figure that it’s not that important because it’s only likely to change anyway.  And while it’s true that the writing is what will sell your book, the title can lay a lot of groundwork for you. 

I’ll never forget the day colleague Chris Keeslar swung by my office all excited: “I just got this proposal called THE STRANGELY BEAUTIFUL TALE OF MISS PERCY PARKER. I haven’t even started it yet, but don’t you just love that title?”  Fortunately, Leanna Renee Hieber‘s writing lived up to it. 

A good title will:

  • Indicate the genre
  • Give a sense of the tone
  • Provide continuity for similar/series titles
  • Intrigue the reader

Julie Kenner (The Givenchy Code, Carpe Demon) and Katie MacAlister (Love in the Time of Dragons; Sex, Lies and Vampires) are some of my ultimate heroes when it comes to clever titles.  But a title doesn’t have to be particularly clever or humorous.  Because, remember, it has to fit the tone of the book.

How to come up with a good title:

  • Figure out what best conveys your style. Is it sexy? Funny? Dark? (all three?) Are you trying to convey a certain time period? 

Let’s use Jennifer Ashley’s paranormal-historical Nvengarian series as an example.  Our theme: Fairy Tales

  • Brainstorm lists of words that convey the style you’ve chosen.

-         Prince Charming, Once Upon a Time, Happily Ever After

  • Start playing around with those words and combining them with other aspects that make your work unique. Look for rhymes, alliteration, wordplay. Keep in mind that it needs to be able to fit on a mass-market cover and still have room for the art.

-         Penelope & Prince Charming has great alliteration and works in the fairy-tale theme.

-         The second book in the series was tougher. Nothing in the list above sounded original enough.  So Jennifer concentrated on the time period with a rhyme and came up with The Mad, Bad Duke.  It’s clearly Regency set–a play on Lady Caro Lamb’s words about Byron “He was mad, bad, and dangerous to know”—which Regency readers recognize.  It also sounds playful and sexy.

-         With the third book featuring a fun-loving Scot, we came up with Highlander Ever After, again pulling in that fairy-tale theme.

     

Where to find inspiration for your titles:

  • imdb.com – The Internet Movie Database
  • your CD collection
  • rhyming dictionaries
  • regular dictionary
  • advertising slogans

Most of all, brainstorming should be a fun process, not a hair-pulling one–even if it feels like it sometimes.  Just stick with it,  don’t be afraid to ask everyone you know for suggestions, and go with what feels good.

And a totally shameless plug that has more to do with art than titles: Check out Jennifer’s PRIDE MATES on Clash of the Covers this week.

     

   

The May books are here! 

Elisabeth Naughton starts a hot new series getting lots of great buzz:

  • “Gripping, dangerous, and sinfully sexy, MARKED is a top-notch read! Elisabeth Naughton combines dynamic dialogue and sizzling romance with a wicked cool world. Do NOT miss this series!” NY Times Bestselling Author Larissa Ione
  • “Steamy, intricately plotted, and creatively conceived, this title gets Naughton’s ‘Eternal Guardian’ series, featuring warriors who protect their world from the daemons of the Underworld, off to a sizzling start and will leave paranormal fans breathless and wanting more.”                 –Library Journal
  • “The sensuality of Sherrilyn Kenyon and the intensity of Patricia Briggs. Naughton’s foray into paranormals is deep, dark and sexy as hell.” —NY Times Bestselling Author Angie Fox
  • “Naughton has a tremendous skill with steamy passion, dynamic characterization—especially of strong, multifaceted women whose friendships and family relationships play a crucial part in the story—and thrilling action.” —Publishers Weekly
  • “Elisabeth Naughton’s MARKED gives an incredibly fresh spin on Greek Mythology that is full of humor, action, passion and a storyline that keeps you from putting down the book.” —Fresh Fiction

We think you’ll love MARKED, too.  That’s why it’s our Publisher’s Pledge title of the month and we’ll refund your money if for whatever reason you don’t want it for your keeper shelf.

Leanna Renee Hieber’s Percy Parker is ready for her Broadway debut.

And Gerri Russell has a fantastic introduction to her men of the Brotherhood of the Scottish Templars.

I’ll be a panelist on Friday afternoon for Romance in the Backseat’s Book Bloggers and Publisher’s Conference.  Which made me realize that I’ve been really behind in the blogging. Topics will include how authors, bloggers and publishers can all work together, whether authors should blog, building your audience and more.

But my lack of posts is hardly for lack of good stuff going on.

As many of you likely know, it’s bracket time.  Forget basketball and vote for your favorite romances in the Dear Author/Smart Bitches DA BWAHA TourneyJennifer Ashley‘s THE MADNESS OF LORD IAN MACKENZIE (Historical) and THE STRANGELY BEAUTIFUL TALE OF MISS PERCY PARKER by Leanna Renee Hieber (Paranormal) both made the big dance.

Releases for books through October 2010 can now be found on the Coming Soon page.

Feeling the luck of the Irish?  Win a bundle of books by signing up for our Romance newsletter. And even if you don’t make it in time for the drawing, we still have all kinds of exclusive freebies only available to subscribers.

Unlike many on the East Coast pummeled by the latest nor’easter, New York City didn’t have it too bad–about 8 inches.  Just enough to give the city that beautiful pristine coating…for a few hours.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t use “Bizzard 2010″ as a great excuse to hole up and read a lot this weekend.  If you’re looking for some recommendations for fresh voices, check out the current poll for best historical debut at The Season. Both Caroline Fyffe and Leanna Renee Hieber made the list!

   

Speaking of great debuts, Rose Lerner is giving away a copies of the absoultely amazing historical IN FOR A PENNY.  Get the scoop on where to enter at her blog.  If you’re a fan of Sherry Thomas, Lisa Kleypas, Georgette Heyer and any of the Regency greats, you will not want to miss this book.

 

strangelybeautifulTrue-blood.net, the original fan site of the hit HBO series, is giving recommendations for those in True Blood withdrawal.  And this week, their pick is THE STRANGELY BEAUTIFUL TALE OF MISS PERCY PARKER. 

They say: “Beautifully written with elegant, lyrical passages that delight my English Lit major soul, Ms. Heiber’s debut combines a love of mythology, Gothic Victorian novels, paranormal romance, and science fiction in one novel.”

They’re also offering a special discount when you buy through Barnes & Noble and an exclusive Q&A with author Leanna Renee Hieber.