Monday, January 20, 2014

What's In a Name?

I wouldn't call myself a veteran writer. But I do have two books out and a few in the works right now. I feel like this is enough experience for me to bitch about something I find to be the most annoying, awful, impossible, and utterly important thing about writing. Finding a damn title.

I would love to think it doesn't matter. Sometimes I think I genuinely do not care what a book is titled.

If I have read a book by an author and enjoyed it, I will read another. Regardless of title or book cover, sometimes I don't even read the blurb. Oh, it's the latest by so and so? I will pick it up.

There have been times I wished I could just title my books:

Please Read This One It Took Me A Long Time to Write It

Spankings and Sex

A Happy Ending, No Creepy Characters!

It's hard to think up a title that will hook a reader, or at the very least not drive a reader away.

I feel I have become more conscious of this now that I am writing and titling my own books.

Which leads me to a point I think I discovered a week or two ago. A vague title that doesn't really label a book in one way or another is probably better than a completely misdirected title.

Here is what happened-

I read a lot of spanking romances (shocking, I know). I was feeling like reading something with a different flavor. Maybe slightly more BDSM-y. But not weird, dark and creepy. Sometimes I pick up a straight up BDSM book and it has a tendency to scare me rather than make me hot, you know? No fault of the author's, just different tastes for different people.

Anyway, I was feeling a little burnt out on the saccharine/ sweet spanking romances I have been reading by the boat load. Sometimes I like a little bondage, nipple clamps, kidnap scenario or a heavier D/s relationship to go along with the spanking.

I search through the Kindle store and find a book in the BDSM genre, the title did reel me in a bit. Then I read the blurb and some reviews just to make sure it wasn't going to be on the scary side as opposed to the romance side.

I won't say what the actual title of the book was because I don't want to seem like I am calling someone out. The fact is I LOVED the book. I just think it was a terrible title.

For argument's sake let's say it was called The Master's Lair - the title kind of hooked me in, and then I read the blurb and reviews, it sounded like a BDSM heavy romance. I wanted to give it a try!

Based on title here is what I thought I was going to read:
A BDSM romance, where there is a Master, who also has a Lair. And there is a girl that he takes to said lair and lots of kinky shit happens.

Here is what a read:
A really sweet romance between this regular guy, who also happens to be a Dom at a BDSM club. And a woman with a troubled past.

They barely went to the 'lair', there was hardly any kinky shit, the book did not live up to it's to title.

But do you know what? It was a great book! I was annoyed at the title for two reasons.

1. I would never have picked this book up if I wasn't specifically looking for something different. It turned out to be very much the same of what I have been reading, but it was an awesome book all the same.

2. I am afraid that readers who normally read more from the BDSM genre will be annoyed when they read this book and it is not what they expected.

Although, judging by the amount of reviews, and specifically the amount of good reviews, that doesn't seem to be an issue.

It will make me more mindful to not have a misleading title.

Although I don't think it will make choosing titles for future books any easier. In fact it will probably make it a lot harder.

Anyone looking forward to my upcoming release Blood, Sweat, and Tears: the Extended Version?


  1. I've always felt that a good title does two things:
    1. It catches the reader's attention.
    2. It accurately represents what's in the book.

    If you hook the reader, but don't deliver on the promise, the reader will feel cheated. If you accurately describe what's in the book, but the title is blah, you risk the reader passing it by.

    The function of the title is to get a reader to take a closer look at the book. The title, the cover and the blurb work together as a unit to sell the book.

    It's a tough job to come up with a title because you are limited to two to fours words. And BDSM can be tricky because there are all different levels, from light to hardcore SM.

    BTW, an author should always check Amazon to see what titles have already been used before titling one's work. You don't want to pick a title that has already been used multiple times--you don't want someone who wants YOUR book to buy someone else's by mistake.

  2. Love the pic first of all. Where do you find those?

    I know the book you mean and I will tell you I wouldn't have bought it because of the title. I would just have passed it right by thinking it would be too heavy 'lair' stuff going on.

    I agree with Cara - title, blurb and cover are SO important and although there are a handful of authors I will simply buy without reading blurbs, they are a handful. Cover is probably least important to me (unless it's over the top sexy then I won't buy it - too much). Title will catch my eye or not and blurb is important. I always download samples too because more than once, the book hasn't lived up to my expectations and - like Cara said - I felt cheated.

    Anyhow, it's a giant science project with lots of smoke and mirrors. Wait, I don't know what I'm saying there - do I mean magic show with smoke and mirrors? And it's fun coming up with stuff.

    Nice post lady. :)

  3. Hmm. "A really sweet romance between this regular guy, who also happens to be a Dom at a BDSM club. And a woman with a troubled past." Now I really want to know the title of this book. A regular guy who happens to be a Dom at a BDSM club? Really? I mean he could be kind, patient and understanding, but regular? No kinky stuff at all? Yup, I want to know the title of that book. Great article. I try to pick an appropriate title for my books, but now I wonder....

  4. I love your blog posts! Always entertaining.