Oh, to Be Entitled


I've spent a delightful week at

Candice Hern's discussion board

, talking with the Bluestockings about

Your Scandalous Ways

& my heroes & heroines, & sharing my addiction to crumbly old books. It made a nice finish to long workdays of trying to beat the WIP into submission.

However, since the battle involved some forays into crumbly old books and buying a couple, that was fun, too.

What isn’t fun is coming up very soon, I think: Titling the WIP.


Oh, sure, I have a working title: Gag Me With a Spoon. This is my reaction to most of the titles I come up with.

I have a fallback title but I’m not in love with it.

Strangely enough, the majority of my books carry the titles I originally gave them. Along with most of the traditional Regencies, the first three Carsington books have my original titles. But Not Quite a Lady, like other of my books, involved considerable discussion with publishing professionals. Likewise Your Scandalous Ways, which started out as Not Quite a Hero.


The Lion’s Daughter started out as The Black Queen.

Captives of the Night started out as The Golden Prince.

Making titles isn’t easy. Sometimes you nail it the first time. Other times you end up with a title you don’t love but accept as the best you can do at the time.


We can’t just stick any title we want on a book. There are titles that might sound “too contemporary” or “too romantic suspense” or “too mystery” or “too historical fiction” or too Monty Python.

Then there are good words and bad words, and these change over time as well as from publisher to publisher.

Many of you can easily list the current popular title words: Scandal, Mistress, Secret...etc. Listing them is one of those entertaining book games, like Make Fun of the Cover.

Some publishers' titles are distinctive, even to me, a writer stupendously oblivious to publishing trends. At Harlequin, for instance, I noticed the interesting He/She titles: Virgin Slave, Barbarian King;Scandalous Lord, Rebellious Miss; Notorious Rake, Innocent Lady.


Thing is, I suspect that Innocent Slut, Lazy Duke is not going to go over really well with my publisher.

Sometimes authors are inspired. The perfect title comes as a bolt from the blue. Sometimes...not.

And sometimes readers (including me) think they can do better. Or at least funnier.

If you want to amuse yourself, here are some titles you can try renaming:


Gone With the Wind

Sense and Sensibility

Moby Dick


Great Expectations

Originally posted at Word Wenches

--and as you all know by now, the untitled WIP became

Don't Tempt Me