What’s In A Name? (Or A Title?)

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

I’m a little over a third of the way through the first draft of FIRSTBORN. As I wrote in an earlier post, I’m trying out Rachel Aaron’s suggestions to improve my productivity. Now that the holidays are past, and my tree is finally down, I’ve been working on FIRSTBORN. My output has improved, but it still wouldn’t impress anyone. My progress has been good enough though, that I’ve been thinking about what comes after I finish: publication. And I think I ought to change the title.

I surveyed Amazon, and there are a ton of books already with “Firstborn” in the title. “Scion,” too (the sequel to FIRSTBORN). I want titles that convey suspense and romance. We did some brainstorming, and the favorites of my critique group were: BETRAYED BY TRUST, and BOUND BY TRUST. The only problem: when I checked them out on Amazon, there were several similar titles. An alternate, SEDUCED BY TRUST, has no overlap, but doesn’t have the lovely alliteration.

This is a dilemma faced by every author and publisher with books sold online. It’s important to title a book so that it will be easy to find, and will entice the reader to look a little closer. You don’t want your book to be #18  on page three of twenty identically titled books. Ideally, the title will also have something to do with what the story is about. And, of course, even if you come up with an original title, there’s no guarantee that a book published next week won’t duplicate it. Titles can’t be copyrighted, after all.

Here’s a very rough blurb for the first book:

It’s 1979. To save an Elemental Spirit from slavery, Marianne seduces the scion of the powerful family he’s bound to. But the Trust she works for wants more than her loyalty. They want her son. And they won’t let Marianne, or the man who loves her, get in their way.

And for the second book:

Thirty years ago, Evan was conceived through seduction and betrayal. Now he’s inherited what was meant for another man: an Elemental Guardian. Two powerful organizations are in pursuit, and the woman he loves works for one of them.

So I invite you to make suggestions. If you come up with a title different from those above, that I decide to use, I’ll send you a free copy of the book when it comes out.

5 Comments

Filed under Publishing, writing

5 responses to “What’s In A Name? (Or A Title?)

  1. I found this lovely poem in a post from CKHB http://heimbinasfiction.blogspot.com/2012/01/poetry-just-because.html and had to share it with you:

    Sometimes hidden from me
    in daily custom and in trust,
    so that I live by you unaware
    as by the beating of my heart,

    suddenly you flare in my sight,
    a wild rose blooming at the edge
    of the thicket, grace and light
    where yesterday was only a shade,

    and once more I am blessed, choosing
    again what I chose before.

    — “The Wild Rose” by Wendell Berry

  2. I am wrestling with a similar dilemma for my WIP, the fourth in a series. I ‘ve tried in the previous books to tie the title to a quotation (Lord Byron for example for my book, If Love Dares Enough), but that idea isn’t coming together yet for the fourth book!
    The theme is loosely a Romeo and Juliet one – two lovers from feuding families – maybe I should look to shakespeare! I write medieval romance so I’m not much help with paranormal.

  3. How about Prisoner of Trust?

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