Thursday, 1 December 2016

What's In a Name?

To which I am referring to the title of a book. Although, the same could apply to character names, but that is a post for another day. And this book in particular: When Love Flue In.

I have a love hate relationship with titles, and I think most authors would agree. Some come to you as an extension of the story, while others need to be dragged kicking and screaming into the world. Once in a while a manuscript remains obstinately nameless right up until the moment of submission. One of my beta readers had the honour of naming my last short story since my mind blanked every time I tried to come up with something. A cracking title it was too. Simple, perfect, and blatantly obvious with hindsight.

For one of my novels my publisher had turned down my initial title because they already published a book with a similar name and they didn’t want confusion amongst their readers, especially since my book was a low sex content gay romance and the other was explicit het erotica. I doubt anyone receiving the incorrect book would have been impressed. So, I carried out a poll of possible titles with my readers and then submitted my favourites in order of preference to my publisher. Of course, they chose my least favourite of the five.
That story brings up an interesting point, whilst you might think you’ve picked the perfect title for your book, your publisher will likely have other ideas. Here are just a couple of reasons I’ve been given as to why I need to come up with another title:

Too similar to other books they sell.

Certain words are overused. Keep them out of your title.

Needs to focus more on the romance aspect of the story.

Ultimately the publisher has the final say, so even if you feel that the title is perfect, don’t get too attached. Be prepared to lose it. Or self publish!

Is the title really that important? I’d say yes. I’ve overlooked books because the title didn’t appeal to me. Too frivolous. Too dry. Too flat. Once I’m reading I don’t give the title a second thought--I’ve never once finished a book and thought ‘Loved it, but that title had nothing to do with the story’. However the title’s importance in grabbing my attention in an ever increasing market can’t be overlooked. It only needs to hold my attention long enough for me to read the blurb at which point I can make a decision about whether I’m curious enough about the book to add it to my wishlist. In the e-book market the title is probably as important, if not more, than the cover. (In the ‘tree’ read market the visual nature of the cover makes this the more important of the two.)

‘When Love Flue In’ is one of those gems that an author relishes. The title appeared without conscious thought or cajoling the first moment Word asked me to save my document. It needed no polish. It didn’t suffer the indignity of being referred to as Christmas1 in my file for the first few months of its development. Nobody, from beta readers to editors, publishers to readers have ever cast doubt over the quality or validity of that title. It is a title that perfectly reflects the story, with just the right hint of what is to come and a nod to one of the main character’s profession.

I think it is a perfect marriage of title and story. I would say that. It’s like naming a child, when you get it right and the name fits you can’t imagine them being called anything else.
Sometimes it is a struggle. Sometimes I’ve heard it said that the title inspired the story. Sometimes, like this time, it is a flash of inspiration. 

How much thought do you give to the title when choosing a book to read?

When Love Flue In, is a Christmas novella.

A soot-haired chimney sweep, an exploding flue and an uncooked turkey. It’s an unholy trinity that may make all of Dominic’s Christmas wishes come true.

Dominic is celebrating his first Christmas since his divorce, and although he’s spending it on his own, he’s determined to have a traditional Christmas morning, including a roaring fire. Unfortunately, Dominic’s chimney is blocked, which is why Reagan, a soot-haired chimney sweep, is head and shoulders up Dominic’s flue. Dominic is just lucky the man had a cancellation on Christmas Eve.

Unable to take his eyes off Reagan’s low-slung jeans and enticing arse while Reagan sets about the hearth with rods and brushes, Dominic knows five years is a long time to be obsessed with the man who sweeps his chimney every Christmas. This year there’s nothing to stop Dominic from acting on his desires—except his own insecurities.

An exploding flue provides the opportunity for more than just polite conversation and could be the catalyst for a perfect Christmas. But Dominic will need to stop hiding who he really is before a special sweep can light a fire in his heart.

Publisher's Note: This book was previously released by another publisher. It has been revised and re-edited for release with Totally Bound Publishing.

Buy LinksTotally Bound // ARe // Kobo // Amazon US  &  UK

This blog post originally appeared at Female First in Dec 2014.

1 comment:

  1. Hmm I love that story :D

    And I agree, title and cover art are EXTREMELY important in if I click on a book to find out more. And also the blurb...I might click on an interesting cover even if the blurb is meh...but if the blurb AND the cover are meh? Not wasting my time.