A Rose by Any Other Name… #MFRWauthor

It’s week 8 of the MFRWauthor bloghop challenge, and this week’s prompt is to discuss How I Choose a Book Title.

call-me-mom-smallI think picking a title for a book I’ve written is a learned skill. In the early days of my career, I tried to find a line in the book that I thought evoked a sense of place or gave some idea what the book was about. That’s how I came by the title No Place for Secrets, and I thought it worked well for that book After my editor at my other publishing house approved Call Me Mom for my first romance, and calling the second book in the Fred Vickery series No Place like Home, I thought I’d come upon a winning combination.

That didn’t always prove to be true I spent a frustrating few years submitting titles for books to publishers who didn’t like my ideas and came up with names for me. And then I discovered the art of word play, and I was in heaven.

goody-goody-gunshots-smallI suggested Candy Apple Dead for my first Candy Shop Mystery, and that title was approved. I wasn’t as fond of the second title in the series (Chocolate Dipped Death) but the other three titles were my suggestions and approved by my publisher

When it came time to name my first Piece of Cake Mystery, I knew I wanted something…punny. My daughters and I spent a long, long evening brainstorming titles, trying to come up with a theme of some kind that would work for several books in a series. I’d learned my lesson by that time and knew I needed to think ahead. At some point, we started looking at old movie titles, and by the time we finished, we were giggling like school girls. Okay, so we were rummy by that time  That’s not the point. The point is, the titles from that series are some of my favorites. One of my kids suggested The Cakes of Monte Cristo as a title, and I couldn’t wait to use that one. I guess it’s fitting that it turned out to be the last book of the series.

dead-on-arrival-smallI picked Dead on Arrival, not because it was the most clever title in the world, but because it just fit. It was my working title for more than a year, but eventually I realized that it was the only title that would do. I’m thinking of titles along the same lines for the books to follow this one in the series.

let-it-snow-smallMystery titles have always been easier for me to come up with than romance titles, so I’m a bit flummoxed about the series of 8 connected romances I’m going to be starting on next. I suppose I’ll write a bit of the first book and get a feel for the book’s tone before I start thinking about titles. I really love to write books that are deeply emotional but also contain bits of humor. That’s what I hope these books will be, but I’m not sure it’s up to me. I’ll have to see what the characters have to say, I guess. Whatever they tell me, I’ll try to honor their stories by picking out appropriate titles.

I can’t wait to see how other authors do it.


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7 thoughts on “A Rose by Any Other Name… #MFRWauthor

    • Sherry Lewis says:

      Hahaha! Well, I’ll have to hop over and check yours out. I think it’s funny that we also share a name Iif not the spelling).

  1. Kenzie Michaels says:

    Back in the early 90s, I had 3 unfinished WIPs, then decided to tie them together. I came up with a rough idea for 8 books and their titles, deciding to take a page out of the Bible, only instead of the Beatitudes, I’d base my romance series on 1 Corinthians 13, making ‘Love Is (relevant to each book). Which was fine in theory, but after I’d finished the first 5 (now ten years later), I decided I hated those working titles, and changed nearly all of them.

    • Sherry Lewis says:

      It’s funny how much we change over the years, isn’t it? What seemed like such a good idea then doesn’t even resonate with us now. I love the idea for the series, though, no matter what they’re named. 🙂

  2. Meka James says:

    I’ve not had to come up with more than one at a time. Picking out titles for an entire series sounds like a daunting task. Hopefully your characters will be kind to you when you start on your next set.

    • Sherry Lewis says:

      Yeah, I’m not sure which is worse — beginning a series without the titles and then running aground midway through, or trying to find the link before you begin. It’s hard work, no matter how you do it.

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