Okay, long time no post. Me sorry. But if you don’t already know, I’ve been cheating on my blog a lot with twitter. Visit me there if you want frequent updates on my oh-so-exciting life. For example, last night I tweeted about eating yogurt. It’s a glamorous life.
On Monday I finished the short story I had to write for KISS ME DEADLY, the YA anthology from the publisher of the Mammoth anthologies. I’m happy with how my story, FAMILIAR, turned out. It’s about a witch’s familiar and I’m quite fond of it.
Writing it got me thinking about titling (although this one basically titled itself) and when I saw someone else post about their titles that have changed from working to final, I thought I’d share some of mine over the years.
BITTEN & SMITTEN was originally titled DEARLY DEPARTED
In fact, being the newbie that I was, I fought very hard to keep this title. I lost, of course. And I’m glad that I did. While Bitten & Smitten felt way too cutesy to me (and if there’s one thing I reject about my own work is the idea that it’s “cutesy,” I feel more people were attracted to the title off the bat. It works. And after four years the book is still in print and doing well, so I can’t exactly complain, can I?
ANGEL WITH ATTITUDE was originally titled TROUBLE IN PARADISE
Actually, this book started off as a gritty private detective novel called PARADISE, believe it or not. I wrote 50K for Nanowrimo 2004. Then I realized it had to be light and fun to match Bitten & Smitten since it would be the second book in my contract with Warner. So I changed absolutely everything about it. In fact, in the original version, she hooks up with the character who would eventually be the old dude Barlow while Nathaniel was a (conflicted) bad guy. Don’t ask. It was kind of a mess.
TALL, DARK & FANGSOME was originally titled DEVILS & DIAMONDS
I worked hard on the new titles when I was asked for a new one (since neither devils nor diamonds sound particularly vampiric). I think my list included about 200 potential titles. When my editor picked TD&F I was like, “really?” It seemed kind of silly to me and more of one I tacked on at the end for a joke. But now I know that it’s perfect and I wuv it. I look forward to seeing how it’s translated into German.
THE DEMON IN ME was originally titled LIVING IN EDEN
The original title is now the series title. I like the new title. It was changed to fit the cover direction — slightly darker and hero-oriented. If it had been a cartoonish girly cover (which I did not want) it could have had the original title. As it sits, it had to be a little more blatent about what the book was about, with a bit of a humorous twist. I think it’s very effective — and best of all? I didn’t even have to come up with it. My editor did. I am allowed to keep my second title, SOMETHING WICKED, so that’s cool.
DEMON PRINCESS: REIGN OR SHINE was originally titled NIKKI DONOVAN: DEMON PRINCESS and even before that NIKKI DONOVAN: DEMON SPAWN
This was also a very long process of title changing. My list is long. We had to figure out a title hook and the play on “reign” seems to work okay, I think, although I’m hoping the titles don’t become confusing for readers to differentiate between.
COUNTDOWN was originally THE CHALLENGE
I changed it because there was another book titled the same thing at the time. And the new title (as well as the name of the “game” they’re playing) works better this way and gives more of a thriller feel.
HOT SPELL was originally FEELS LIKE MAGIC
Had to change it because it wasn’t sexy enough for a Blaze. S’okay. I like the new title just fine.
DEVIL’S APPLE was originally NIGHTFALL
This is the book I’m working on right now — the second in my Nightshade urban fantasy duology. I was asked to change NIGHTFALL to something else because there are five million other books with that title. No idea if the new title will stick. Probably not. But for now I like it just fine.
So I guess my point is, most titles end up changing. If you’re really tied to your original title, you might be setting yourself up for disappointment. However, getting a title hook going for a series takes a lot of the guesswork out of things and helps the marketing department.