What’s My Title?

What’s My Title? I know. You’re probably saying “Wannabe Princess” “Prima Donna” maybe even “Old Duck.”  But hey, I’m not talking about that kind of title, today I’m talking about the title of your work in progress. This can be for artwork, photography, a blog site, any creative venture. Where do you come up with titles? When do you arrive at your chosen title: before the work begins, during the planning stage, after the first attempt? How married are you to your title?

That’s a lot of questions. Go get a cup of tea, or coffee. I’ll wait.   tea cup and saucer 1188

Okay, so now you’re back and alert, right? Oops, that’s another question. We will assume the answer to that one is yes. Anyway, I recently had a bit of a conundrum (I love that word) to work out. Before I’d written much of the rough draft, I’d researched and carefully chosen the title of my novel, London Calling, basing the title on a work by a London based band. Then that title got overused when the summer Olympics were on. But I didn’t worry. Heck, there was even a fashion show out here in my little desert town that used the title. I knew this work would not be finished for a long time, (I had to keep putting it aside during the last year when I published and promoted four books, yikes!) so I figured by the time I came to publish it the Olympics would be long past.

A couple of months ago, I visited the blog site of the 2012 golden heart finalists, and one of my fellow finalists is from England. She announced the book she was working on was titled, London Calling.100_1240 Even though I know titles are not copyrighted, and there are often multiple books with the same title, it didn’t seem right to use this one. As I read the author’s news, I had that sinking feeling like a pricked helium balloon, inhaling the helium, my voice squeaking, “Oh damn, no!”  It seemed so personal, which is silly, really. But, after looking closely at the situation—her book had a focus on the city of London, and mine had a London subplot—I decided I would not use the title. However, I couldn’t come up with anything that appealed to me.

I desperately needed a magic wand. MP900414028[1]

A couple of weeks ago, I hit on a new title. It resonated with me, and excited me. It made me get that work that had stalled at rough draft refined, and polished. And you know what? I like this title better.

Today, along with its new title, the polished draft is off to Beta readers. Yay! But am I telling you the title yet? Not on your sweet life. : )


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16 Responses to What’s My Title?

  1. Gina B. says:

    Hi Robena!

    Ah, titles…for me it’s always a challenge coming up with something I really like. I struggle so much I took an online class on titling your work about two years ago, which was fun and helpful.

    Once I title something the story sort of becomes its own little entity in my brain and it’s hard to change it, but I think it’s always good to be open to change. Because you never know…like you discovered, you might find a new title you like even better 😉

  2. robena grant says:

    It is hard to make that change, Gina. Especially when the title is something a character says in your story. London Calling came from the heroine’s best friend, London Fitzpatrick, who lived in the city of London, and loved to announce over the phone, London Calling! : )

  3. Hi Robena
    Actually, it was funny that Robin Bielman and I both had the same titles for our books, Worth The Risk…now that’s a common title. I noticed on Amazon several with the same, but for both of us to have the same title, months apart release dates AND the same heroine’s name was something we laughed about. Since. I’ve only kept ONE of my titles, I know now not to get attached…it’s going to be changed. 🙂

  4. You big tease! LOL But yay on finding a new title you love.

    And it was quite a thrill for me to have my debut novel be the same title as Charlene’s most recent release at the time. 🙂

  5. Sam Beck says:

    Congratulations on finishing your WIP! I’ve learned not to get too attached to my titles, because, so far, only one I came up with made it to the front of the book! “Private Practice” stuck. The work I titled “Substitute Stripper” became “Lover Undercover,” and “In Your Hands” became “Falling for the Marine.”

    Can’t wait to see what your “London Calling” becomes!

  6. robena grant says:

    I’ve only had one title changed so far. And dang it, it’s my worst seller. Poor baby. : (

  7. What? A cliff hanger blog? Not fair!

    >rhythmically tapping fingers on desk<

    I don't have the luxury of titling my books because I work for Harlequin – though one book out of 16 so far got my title – The Medic's Homecoming. I don't know if it was an oversight or if I got lucky. LOL

    For my self-pubbed books I love choosing titles, whether 500 other people already have the title or not.

  8. robena grant says:

    Ha ha, Lynne. You already know the title because I told you at lunch. However, since the first grandchild has just been born, I’m certain your brain has turned into granny mush. ; )

    I don’t know how you ladies can live with those changes of title, but my guess is you learn to trust marketing and know that they know what works.

  9. Dee J. says:

    I totally know what you mean. I really struggled for a title with my High Stakes novella, but after a couple of months, I hit on something that I really like. I’m looking forward to getting it out in the world. ALSO looking forward to your new WIP!

  10. robena grant says:

    Thanks, Dee J. Looking forward to yours too! : ) I’m thinking of doing something different with this one, holding it back for a few months. I have one with the editor now. If I’m lucky I’ll have two books out each year, and evenly spaced. 2013 was a constant juggle and a bit too much for this old brain.

  11. Sometimes I wish the marketing team would communicate their reasoning.

    • robena grant says:

      I know, Kate. Me too. My GH title was Exposure. (Which I loved.) The series was desert heat. They made that title Desert Exposure, put on a cover that looks like Afghanistan war and the book sank like a giant stone in a river. But I’m not bitter. Ha ha.

  12. Liz Flaherty says:

    I’m always so happy with my titles–and attached to them, Not that they usually stay… I remember in my way-back-prepublished days, that I had a big St. Bernard named Murphy in a story. When I read a book during the writing of mine that had a…yes, right, St. Bernard named Murphy in it, I almost felt violated! 🙂