Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Title Me!

My 21st book is Bachelor CEO. However, like most of the books I’ve written, it didn’t start out being called that.

Titles are extremely important, and often what the author sends in isn’t what goes on the cover. Take the covers on the right. They weren't called that at first.

In fact, my very first novel sold as Temporarily Yours, and Melissa Jeglinski decided to call it A Little Office Romance. She just picked it, told me what it was and I was like, okay, since it was a great title. I also had a great cover and my debut did well. Catching the Corporate Playboy was my title, but many of them are a result of brainstorming and a back and forth between the editor and the author (me). I’ll talk a little more about that in a minute.

Continuity series books are different. All of my three titles were already assigned, and those were The Simply Scandalous Princess (I got to work with the very talented Jacqueline Diamond and Kara Lennox) and then the NASCAR series Tailspin and Out of Line.

Once I’ve fought to keep my title. I loved Hart’s Victory (Harlequin NASCAR) and my agent went to bat for it, especially after marketing wanted to change it. When they couldn’t come up with anything better, they stayed with Hart’s Victory.

But often, titles can be made better. I’ll admit, I don’t stress over the title when I submit the proposal. And sometimes I come up with the new title, and other times my editor does.

The Marriage Recipe didn’t start out that way, but that title is one I came up with. Together my editor and I came up with The Christmas Date.

All of my linked series The Marriage Campaign, The Wedding Secret and Nine Months’ Notice were something else, although I don't remember what. Funny how after a while, I can’t remember. I do remember that Redeeming the Wayward Playboy became About Last Night, a title I came up with. Twins for the Teacher (out in March 2009) was my editor’s much better replacement for Educating Hank. One time I sent in Capturing the Cop’s Heart, and it became Capturing the Cop.

So back to Bachelor CEO. The first title was The Reluctant CEO, but really, once I wrote the book that title no longer fit. The book is part of Harlequin American’s Men Made in America series. I wrote the CEO book, which is why it was essential CEO stay in the title.

So I got the email asking for new titles and the brainstorm began. I sent in these:

The CEO Dilemma or CEO's Dilemma
The Hot & Bothered CEO
Sex & the CEO
Loving the CEO
Marrying the CEO
The CEO's VP Problem
Promoting the CEO
CEO in Charge
Small Town CEO
The Millionaire CEO
Capitalizing on the CEO
Casting the CEO
Cultivating the CEO

At this point, you sent in anything and don’t worry if it sucks.

My editor sent back these:
The CEO's Proposal
The CEO's Secret Wish
Taking on the CEO
The CEO's Secret Love
The CEO's Family Business
The CEO's Surprise
The CEO's Dream
The CEO Takes a Partner

We both realized we still were batting zero. Then we learned that Kathleen decided that the best title would be something like The _______________CEO, so we started with adjectives. My editor sent back this list:


I sent back my reasons for and against each choice and said I really liked The Bachelor CEO. So my editor sent that one to Kathleen, who sent back that after reviewing the books out that month that she wanted to drop the article, and thus Bachelor CEO was titled. It debuts in July 2009.

I’m currently working on Baby on Board, a title we just might get to keep. Or not.



Kara Lennox said...

I hate titles! My December book started out as CATCH OF THE DAY (a very cute but not American-y title). We ended up with THE PREGNANCY SURPRISE.

Ellen said...

It sounds like titles are harder or at least as hard to figure out as writing the story. And I've never yet bought a book because of a title.

Estella said...

It sounds like it is harder to come up with a title as it is to write the book. Book titles don't mean much to me. I don't buy books because of their title.