Sunday, June 13, 2010

Winners of the Title Wars!


Thanks to everybody who came by during the Next Top Title Blogfest and cast your votes on the prospective titles for my two manuscripts, and a huge thank you to Angela at Slushpile Slut for hosting this fantabulous event! I not only got to hear many great opinions on my own titles, but I also loved reading the titles of the other participants. All in all, it was a very fun and educational blogfest. If you haven't had a chance to read the other participant's titles, I highly recommend it, and read the comments, too. Many times the commenter explained why they liked a title (or not), and I learned so much by reading through these comments.

For my wip #1 (a paranormal romance), Killing Kessler got 18 votes and Three Days in October got 17. Killing Kessler is the title I've been using for quite some time now, so I was thrilled that it took top honors. However, I just came up with Three Days in October last week, and I really like it, too.

For wip #2 (epic fantasy), In the Seventeenth Year (which is the title I've been using for a long time and was suggested by my good friend Sharon over at Random Thoughts - thanks, Sharon!) received the most votes with 14. The Reluctant Prince came in second place with 9.

The thing that struck me the most on the comments I received was that people seem to like titles having to do with time. Probably the comment I got most often was that people liked Three Days in October because it make them feel like something important was going to happen in those three days. The shorter time frame gives the impression of a ticking clock and urgency. This is something I'll definitely be keeping in mind.

I learned more, but I don't want this post to get too long, so I'll save it for next time. Do you have any title wisdom you can share? What do you like or not like in a title?

44 comments:

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I missed this blog fest. I'll definitely check it out, especially since I'm stuck for a title with my new wip. But I've only finished the outline and a few character sketches so I still have time. Besides at least I have a working title (Snow White--though it hasn't nothing to do with the princess).

Interesting about the time element comments. I love the title, Killing Kessler. I want to know who Kessler is and who is killing her (I'm assuming she's a she).

I like short titles that are a play on a theme or could have double meanings. They can't be long (too hard to remember long titles correctly), and must contain an element of mystery.

Jai Joshi said...

Cool! I didn't get a chance to check this out but it looks like it was a lot of fun.

Jai

Jen said...

I can't believe I missed this blogfest! Gosh here I am just continuing to post my own stuff but not having time to visit others!!! Well I'm here now and I must say you have some of the coolest titles! Killing Kessler would have been what I voted for, and I would want to read it right now because I'm so intrigued!

I would have also chose The Reluctant Prince for your second novel, but I'm a fan of those troubled boys with lots of power!! I guess the numbers don't work on me! Ha-ha!!

Piedmont Writer said...

I'm sorry I missed the blogfest but my votes are for the 'time' titles as well. Subconsciously I think if you know the book is about a certain period of time, you can get through it a lot easier. I don't know, that's only what I think.

Susan Fields said...

Stina - Thanks for sharing your great thoughts on titles, I agree - an element of mystery is so important! Good luck finding the perfect title for your wip.

Jai - It was a lot of fun, I'm sorry you missed it! I think Angela had an awesome idea with this one.

Jen - I like the troubled boys, too! Power or no, they're fun to read about. :)

Susan Fields said...

Anne - That's an interesting point. I hadn't thought about that, but it makes sense. Thanks for joining in the title discussion. :)

Lynn said...

I'm glad you got clarity on your titles during the blogfest Susan. I like how Killer Kessler sounds. It's fun to say too. I agree with Anne regarding time.

Lynn said...

Sorry I mean Killing Kessler! Totally different meaning!

Aubrie said...

I do like titles with time references int hem. Very true.

Susan Fields said...

Lynn - Yes, totally different meaning! Though, to be honest, either one would work. The mc is trying to kill him because he's a killer. Hmm...I do sound slightly obsessed with killing, don't I? :)

Old Kitty said...

And brilliant titles they are too!
:-)

My choices for yours were complete rubbish so proves what I know - heheheh!

This was such fun to see and to vote for though! More please!

Take care
x

Joanne said...

I like the suggestion of time in a title, as well as a double meaning, or a play on words that gets the reader thinking.

Susan Fields said...

Aubrie - I guess I do too, but I didn't realize that until this blogfest. I'm always so amazed at what I can learn from other bloggers.

Old Kitty - Your choices weren't rubbish, you just have uncommonly good taste! :)

Susan Fields said...

Joanne - Thanks for your input. How true, a title that gets the reader thinking is much more likely to get picked up.

JustineDell said...

Titles are tough. I've struggled with the titles with all three books, which I think is funny because if they ever get published, the publisher might change the name. All that thinking for nothing! In the end, I like the names I came up (one is a play on words, one is the theme of the book, and one is the title of a song).

~JD

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

That is such an interesting observation on the time in titles. I didn't pick up on that until you mentioned it. But you're right, it gives it this sense of immediacy, like a big story will happen in that span of time.

I love the choice of titles, too!

Susan Fields said...

Justine - whatever time we spend on our titles now is not wasted. Like Angela said, that's what the editor/agent will see in the subject line of our email. Plus,it will influence his/her thinking about our ms, so it's definitely something worth taking our time with! Sounds like you have some great titles - a play on words seems to be very popular.

Carolina - I'm glad you liked the titles - thanks! Even though I had times in my titles, I also didn't realize that people like that or why (at least not consciously) until I read everyone's comments.

Crystal Cook said...

Darnit I missed this! I love all those titles, and it's funny you said that about the time thing, because that was the one I liked, but I didn't realize why until you pointed it out to me!

I like the title to actually have something to do with the book. Totally wonky titles that are out there drive me crazy!

Kelly said...

What a great idea for a blogfest!
I think your titles are well written, they do stand out!

Terri Tiffany said...

I missed this!! I wish I hadn't as I stink at coming up with titles and they are important. Never thought about the time element but I like that!

Creepy Query Girl said...

Sorry I missed this but it sounds like it was a great way to get insight on your title options! I like 'killing kessler' alot too!

Theresa Milstein said...

It's hard to say what type of title hooks me. It was fun to check out all the titles and see which ones stood out. For many I agreed with the other commenters, but for yours, I think I wound up being in the minority.

Sandy Shin said...

I'm glad the two you're currently using got the most votes!

I'm not very creative when it comes to title (the titles I came up for the blogfest probably attested to that), but I do think titles that have to do with time are interesting. I also have a fondness for titles like THE RELUCTANT PRINCE, which evokes questions.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Susan--Thanks for inviting me to join in on the blogfest. It was a lot of fun! (Sorry I posted late...) It was interesting to read what everyone voted for on other people's blogs too.

Have a great week!

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

I missed this blogfest too.
I'm never really sure how titles get me. For my own, I like short titles. But I tend to go for ones that catch my eye straight away, like a magnetic pull. :)

Genie of the Shell said...

I like two kinds of titles: Those that tell me precisely what the story is about, and those that are so weird or wacky that they make me curious. I don't like vague, "all-purpose" titles that could be slapped on just about anything. Those ones are also dangerous because they are probably already being used, anyway. So, I like titles that are unique and well fitted to a particular story.

Hema P. said...

Sorry I missed your last post, Susan! (Not that my not leaving a comment has made much of a difference, since you seem to have got lots of input :-).)

Wow, like Sharon, seems like you have a way with titles -- great ones, all of them! As for title wisdom (if what I'm about to say can be called that), I feel a lot hinges on the title. The first thing that catches a potential reader's eye, even before the first line, is title, isn't it?

Kimberly Franklin said...

Titles are hard! There's my wisdom. :) It usually takes me FOREVER to come up with one and then I'm never satisfied. Ever. But I love yours!

Dawn Simon said...

I don't know. My track record with titles is all over the board. The title for my last WIP hit me right away, and it seemed to be just right. The title for a past ms switched a ton before I settled on something I really liked. My current WIP has a title, but I'm not sure about it yet. I think it could become a series, and I think I know what I'd call the series, but the book as a stand alone...you got me.

Susan Fields said...

Crystal - I know, sometimes I'll read a book and I'll think, "Why on earth did they name it that?" It's a little annoying, but if I liked the book I'll usually forgive them. :)

Kelly - Thank you so much! And I agree, this was a wonderful idea for a blogfest - I wish I'd thought of it! :)

Terri - Titles are hard for me, too, so I was really glad for the opportunity to try them out on people. But you could always do the same thing just in a regular post, I'm sure people would be happy to tell you what they think of your prospective titles.

Susan Fields said...

Creepy Query Girl - Thanks, I'm glad to hear such positive feedback on Killing Kessler. So many people missed this blogfest, it would almost be worth doing another one.

Theresa - I was in the minority on a lot of the blogs I visited, too. It really just depends on what hits each individual person. On my wip 1, there were two standout winners, but wip 2 was much more divided.

Sandy - Title are so hard, but so important! That's what I loved about this blogfest, it was a great way to see what (generally) works and what doesn't.

Sharon - I loved reading all the comments, on my own blog and others, especially when people gave the why behind their choices. It was so enlightening. You have a great week, too!

Lindsay - I love when titles have that magnetic pull! Some of them are just so darn intriguing you can't help but pick the book up.

Susan Fields said...

Genie - You make such a great point. That's what my next title post is going to be about - digging deeper, past the all-purpose title to the unique and specific...that makes such a difference!

Hema - You are so right! Like Angela (Slushpile Slut) said, the title is what an agent/editor sees in the subject line of your email and what readers see on the shelves in the bookstore. Without a great title, chances are the reader will never even pull the book out.

Kimberly - Thank you! And I agree - titles are hard!

Dawn - I'm the same way. The idea for a future book I have floating around in my head right now came as a title first, and I'm building the idea around it. But then, other times, I have no idea what to call it, even when the manuscript is finished.

Lilah Pierce said...

I'm not actually here, I'm just dropping off the new address for my site. Its thoughtsbylilahpierce.blogspot.com

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I like the alliteration of Killing Kessler. It makes it a fun title to say. I hadn't thought of the time issue in titles before, but it makes a lot of sense. :-)

melandri said...

wow....awesome ...visiting here from jakarta

TerryLynnJohnson said...

I seemed to have missed a good one here! But looks like fun! Thanks for sharing the title insight.

Talli Roland said...

Titles are so hard! I think the ones that work best are short, snappy and capture the concept easily.

Jackee said...

Yay! The titles I liked best made it through. And the little I know about each one seems like they're great books to go with great titles. Now if only I could get my hands on the ms to read them! (Wink, wink.)

Lola Sharp said...

I missed this BF, but I feel compelled to say that you've been calling it Killing Kessler for so long, I am so used to it, I can't imagine it being anything else. So I vote for KK! :)

Love,
Lola

Jesson Balaoing said...

a very great idea, i love it... keep blogging...

Susan Fields said...

Lilah - It's great to hear from you! Thanks for dropping off the new address.

Shannon - I'm big on alliteration...as you might have guess from my sidebar headers. :)

Melandri - Thanks for visiting - it's great to have you here!

Terry - It was a fun blogfest. I loved reading the comments others left about my titles, and I also loved going around and reading everyone else's titles - there's some great stuff out there!

Susan Fields said...

Talli - Like The Hating Game, which is an awesome title!

Jackee - I hope to have something ready for you very soon! And I'm ready to read your stuff whenever you're ready to send it. :)

Lola - I know, it's hard for me to think of it as anything else, too. Luckily, it got the most votes, so I guess I'll keep calling it that!

Jesson - Thanks!

Clara said...

Susan, you got an award on my blog!

Margo Berendsen said...

Oh, thank you for the award! And I can't wait to read your next post.

I love titles that evoke some sort of image or emotion. The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, To Kill A Mockingbird, Talk Before Sleep, A Thousand Splendid Suns.