Names. By now, everyone (me included) is saturated with discussions of the new iPad (there were clearly no women on the team that came up with THAT name). This was an old spoof on the iPod, but it's just as appropriate now.
Naming things can be a headache. I hate coming up with titles for my books. When I started learning the business, everyone said not to worry about it because the publishers would change it. That was fine with me. Only my publishers never have, so what you see represent my struggles to find those perfect words.
Titles are the last things I come up with. WHAT'S IN A NAME? got its title the day I wanted to enter the manuscript in a contest and I had to write something on that "Title" line. Since the book dealt with people pretending to be someone else (or is it someone elses?), the title seemed appropriate. Even though that wasn't really what I had in mind when I wrote it, as long as it worked, I was happy.
When I started the sequel to WHEN DANGER CALLS, I didn't give it a title until it was finished, and it was just as tough to come up with one. Discarded choices:
Running Toward Trouble
Where Trouble Hides
Never Left Behind
To The Rescue
The books are technically romantic suspense, although they're more mystery/adventure than suspenseful. Rescue has multiple meanings, which worked with the plot themes. Rescued Hearts, which was the original working title, sounded too stereotypical romance and didn't resonate enough of the mystery/adventure themes. Abandoned or Never Left Behind related to the heroine's childhood, and also tied into the hero's covert ops teams which never leave a man behind. The characters leave their San Francisco bases, ending up in a migrant community near the California-Mexico border, so the "running" tied in there. And, being mystery/adventure, the story has plenty of trouble.
From a marketing standpoint, I wanted a title that would let readers would know this book is part of a series. The final title: WHERE DANGER HIDES. I submitted it to Five Star Expressions, and they offered a contract, which I accepted and signed. It's scheduled for a summer 2011 release.
Now I get to wonder if the title will be confusing to readers. I've been reading the "Rain" series by Barry Eisler, and I wanted to get the next book, which would be #4 in the series. It's another one with "Rain" in the title, and for the life of me, I can't remember the order of the three I've already read. I know the first 4 have "Rain" in the title, and the next 2 have "Assassin" in them. It's nice for readers to know they're connected, but confusing to those of us with poor memories when we are trying to figure out which ones we've read – you know how it goes. Yeah, I remember reading this great book about an assassin, set in Japan by Barry Eisler, and the title had "Rain" in it somewhere. And then you get to the bookstore and there are 4 of them.
Sue Grafton has her alphabet mystery series. Janet Evanovich and James Patterson, have their numbered series. In my perfect world, all authors writing series would have a way for readers to know where in the series a book falls by looking on the cover (props to many authors who puts them on their websites, or have some reference to series and book order when you look the books up on line).
With my books, the publisher doesn't do multi-book deals for new authors, and I didn't think to subtitle my first book because at that time, I didn't have a contract offer on a series, only one book. Had I been smarter, I'd have added the extra bit at the start, but I thought that wasn't permitted unless you knew for sure there were going to be more.
So, the official title of the new book is WHERE DANGER HIDES: A Blackthorne, Inc. Novel.
While you're waiting to read it, you can ask your library to order WHEN DANGER CALLS so you have plenty of time to read the "prequel." Unlike FINDING SARAH and HIDDEN FIRE, which are a series, the Danger books aren't a true series. They're connected, with characters reappearing, but in the classic romance tradition, we have a new hero and heroine.
What are your takes on titles, especially for series and connected books? Do you get confused?
Causes Terry Odell Supports
Pro Literacy Worldwide, The Nature Conservancy, The Adult Literacy League, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society