Tuesday Treats & Titles: What’s in a Name?

Or in this case, a title. First, a little good news, at least as far as I’m concerned. I’m about 1/4 of the way through revisions on UNDER THE ASSASSIN’S MOON. I have every intention of remaining diligent and getting it finished by the end of the week. Then I’ll double-check the formatting and my “final check list” and get all the books up to go live and/or pre-order. In the meantime, someone asked about how I come up with titles for my books. Now, that’s a process! 🤣 And it depends. Sometimes, I have full control over titles. Sometimes, a publisher wants final say. Oh, I can make usggestions, but other that COWGIRLS DON’T CRY, none of my Harlequin Desires come close. Which is fine.

See, it all comes down to branding. And marketing. That’s true for both publishing houses and self-publishing authors. Keeping titles “bunched” together makes it easier for readers to find and relate. Yeah? If you disagree, chime in! For me, the book titles in the various series in my Moonstruck world make sense. BLOOD MOON. BAD MOON. HUNTER’S MOON. Etc. Same with the Nightriders–NIGHT SHIFT, REMEMBER THE NIGHT, NIGHT MOVES. Etc. The titles for the books in the Penumber Papers are a mixed back. Some are song titles, some just sort of popped up.

Going back to the beginning of the first books I published, I actually wrote FAERIE FIRE first, then went back and wrote the first book in the series, FAERIE FATE. Then there was the 3rd book, FAERIE FOOL and finally, FAERIE FAITH. See the pattern there? They were pretty easy, given the stories in each one.

So, how do I pick a title for a book? I often keep a list of titles that fit the series–usually created by me sitting and staring out the window while doing word associations. Then, while writing the book, the plot and characters grow into a theme and I either find a title that fits, or I go back to the drawing board. I will admit that SEASON OF THE WITCH didn’t have a title until I was about 3/4s of the way through the writing process and then I heard the Donovan song and voila! THAT OL’ BLACK MAGIC started out with that as a working title. THE DEVIL’S CUT had three differen titles, all with the word devil in them. GHOSTS AND THE ANCIENT STONES? Man, that one took forever–to write the book AND to come up with a title. Hint: I “borrowed” the title from the lyrics to a song. For most of it’s existence, it was WHERE IN THE WORLD IS SADE MARQUIS.

I’ll also admit here that I have a random title file. I’ll hear a phrase, catch a song lyric, or get stabbed with some other inspiration and think to myself, “Self, write that down! It might be a title.” When inspiration hits, I’ve learned not to waste it.

So, that’s my inept attempt at blogging today. I totally need to get these for books ready and out there so I can go back to my regularly scheduled Tuesday Treats and Titles. Quick question: IF you are going to buy a revised copy of the book (and I totally get why you might not!), would you rather I space them out a week apart or release them all together? As mentioned previously, I currently plan to release them one a week for four weeks, the first one going live, the rest going up for pre-order. And now for the fun question of the day: What is the coolest, craziest, or most memorable title that still stickes with you? On that has stuck with me since the 70s: THE WARLOCK IN SPIRE OF HIMSELF by Christopher Staseff. And I’ve just discovered that it IS available from Audible. Yippee! FYI, yes, I loved this irreverent blend of starships and sorcery. I’m thinking popcorn for a treat while I listen to it. There ya go: Title and a treat, leave your suggestions.


About Silver James

I like walks on the wild side and coffee. Lots of coffee. Warning: My Muse runs with scissors. Author of several award-winning series--Moonstruck, Nightriders MC, The Penumbra Papers, and Red Dirt Royalty (Harlequin Desire) & other books! Purveyor of magic, mystery, mayhem and romance. Lots and lots of romance.
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1 Response to Tuesday Treats & Titles: What’s in a Name?

  1. I don’t know what you mean by ‘inept attempt’. I thought today’s blog was most excellent. And highly interesting. I love reading how other authors come up with stuff. And I love talking about stuff like this. In fact, I might have to steal your idea and write a blog post of mine own about the subject. It might not be as germane to others, though, since my titles usually end up just popping into my head and sticking (whether they’re very good or not).

    To answer your first question, I think I’d prefer you stretch the books out to one a week, so they don’t all hit my budget at the same time. But if you release them all at once, I’ll deal with it. Do what makes sense for you. As for the second question, I’m not sure there’s one title that sticks better than any other. Douglas Adams did an excellent job of titles that stick. I mean SO LONG AND THANKS FOR ALL THE FISH? There’s a memorable title if there ever was one. I think Terry Brooks (MAGIC KINGDOM FOR SALE – SOLD!) has some good titles, too. And Piers Anthony with his punny Xanth titles.

    I remember liking Christopher Stasheff, but I’m not exactly sure which of his books I’ve read. Wizard in Spite of Himself is definitely a grabby title. Yay for it being on Audible! I think you might enjoy that Terry Brooks title and it’s on Audible, too.

    Heh, long comment… but like I said, I love talking about stuff like this. =o)

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