Entitled to a Book Title: One Author’s Game of Naming Her Books

Book titles how I love thee! Many factors tug on my purse strings when buying a book, but a catchy title alone can be enticing and set the tone of the story. Here are some general titles used by more than one author that hint at what the reader can expect:

Opposites Attract, Sex on the Beach, Seduction, Double Trouble

Here’s one I made up. I Googled it just to make sure this title isn’t already used:

The Centerfold and the Pastor’s Son–the reader gets an idea that an attractive woman not shy about posing nude will, at some point in the story, have a son of a pastor on (in) her hands. He might have set ideas on what, to him, is proper and what is not. So already a reader sees the story conflict in the title alone. Reader is intrigued—how are these two going to resolve the obvious conflict? The question might result in a sale.

This week I had the pleasure of drumming up a book title for my newly contracted erotic romance about a woman who goes cruising to the Caribbean, looking for Mr. Right (release date to be announced). It was titled Cruise Control, but the editors and I wound up changing it. Here are several titles I suggested:

Onboard Benefits, High Seas Heat, Port of Call: Passion, Woman Overboard, Gone Overboard, All She Wants For Christmas, Hands on Deck

Here’s a naughty one I shared with my close friends for obvious reasons. It gave us some giggles: The Captain’s Log

Adorable title suggested by my editors at The Wild Rose Press: All Hands Below. It sets the hot tone of the story as the scene opens in a steamy ship’s engine room, and there’s lots of luvin’ touchin’ and a-squeezin’ that follows, me mateys!

Now, one thing I do when playing with titles is check the internet to see how often a book title is used. My erotica romance Private Dancer, yielded five or six results of books with the same title. It’s also a beautiful Tina Turner song classic, but I liked the title enough to keep it. A title I suggested to my editors as an alternate was Command Performance—the hero desires a private dance with her, just before he tells her goodbye. Title shmitle–it’s the only Private Dancer about a Honolulu pole dancer with a heart of gold.

Where Do We Get One?
Song titles, people, song titles. Nothing wrong with that!
Night Moves by Hartlyn Holmes is one I have on my e-reader. I don’t know that the author knew that the title is a Bob Seger classic, but as a reader, I was swayed by the title of the book.
Character names, or a play on names.
Marley and Me (the movie)
Nora Roberts’ The Pride of Jared McKade (an older Harlequin)
Knight Moves (Jamaica Layne, time traveling knight, erotic)
A phrase in the book.
Boss With Benefits, my debut novella, took its title from a scene in the story, where the heroine tells the hero, “I don’t want a boss with benefits, I want a lifetime love,” (or something like it). Boss With Benefits was also a hook I used in the blurb pitch, so a good title does comes in handy for many things.
Please don’t use trademarked slogans, phrases or names for you book title!

You might win your battle in court, but it could also cost all your book royalties and then some to make your point. Google your title, check for trademarks on it or anything that comes close.

Most of all, writers, have fun naming your baby!

This entry was posted in Erotica, Fiction, New Books, Romance, Romance Writers, Writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Entitled to a Book Title: One Author’s Game of Naming Her Books

  1. PD says:

    Nice article.


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