Titles are not my strong point and the Tassanoxie series may prove my undoing. It all started with the first book, Feather’s Last Dance. When the title popped into my head several years ago, I had no idea it would become the lead title in a series of stories. As I mentioned yesterday, Ellie’s Song, while the second book in the series, was written long ago. It had gone through several titles with the most recent one being Ellie’s Song. It was a happy accident that both books contained the heroine’s name.
Two published titles containing the heroine’s name gave me the (crazy?) idea to include the heroine’s name in all my Tassanoxie stories. For someone who lacks the coming-up-with-a-great-title gene, this probably wasn’t a good idea.
Last year I decided to write a short story for the 2011 holiday season. I cleverly set about choosing a heroine’s name, Merry, that would go with Christmas. Then I wrote what ended up being called A Christmas Diamond for Merry (available December 9, 2011). It’s a mouthful, but my first and catchier choice (sorry, I don’t want to confuse you when you go looking for it!) had a lot of competition. It seems we writers share some of the same ideas for titles, especially ones for Christmas stories.
I recently submitted a novella about Tassanoxie titled Susannah’s Promise which gives readers a chance to revisit Susannah Warden, a character from Feather’s Last Dance. It took three tries to arrive at a title my unofficial committee of title choosers liked. Right now, I’m working on another short story and I have the suspicion choosing a title will take longer than writing the story.
Why do writers spend so much time trying to choose the right title? Because readers are often drawn to a book because of the title. And we write with the hope you’ll be drawn to our stories.
It broke my heart when the editor, without any input from me, retitled my first book Tennessee Waltz. I felt like Tom Hanks’s character in a League of Their Own and wanted to say “There’s no waltzing in this book!” And the title seemed downright cruel because the heroine is a cripple. There was no dancing in her life. To add insult to injury, the company had given this title to another Civil War romance they published several years previously.
A book that was still available for sale in their online catalog! Then I felt bad when they removed that author’s book to add mine.
Hitting upon a perfect title for a story isn’t always easy and sometimes it isn’t an aspect of the publishing process that an author can control. Then again, having a story someone wants to publish even when you don’t get to choose the title is better than having a story no one wants to publish.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Noted by RT Book Reviews for her “fast-paced, rich in detail” writing, Ginger Hanson writes contemporary and historical romance novels. Her contemporary series, set in the fictional small town of Tassanoxie, Alabama, is published by The Wild Rose Press. Feather’s Last Dance (2010) and Ellie’s Song (2011) established the series. The third story in the series, A Christmas Diamond for Merry (short story, ebook only) will be released in December 2011 and a novella ebook is pending.
Lady Runaway, Ginger’s historical Regency adventure romance, was published in 2009 by Twilight Times Press. Her two earlier Civil War adventure romances were published in 2004. Visit Ginger at www.gingerhanson.com