May 8th, 2012

promise tea

The Title

It's now time for your weekly (or as often as I have something) tidbit about the upcoming Enchanted, Inc. book 5.

How about a title? Drum roll please ….

The book will be called Much Ado About Magic.

If you were aware of the Japanese edition, you may have seen that the English title Spell Bound was on the cover. That was the title I gave the book when I turned it in to the Japanese publisher, since I figured they'd give it a Japanese title anyway. I didn't think it was the best title ever, but it does fit the book. However, since then, that seems to have become a very popular title in paranormal romance and urban fantasy, in all the variations -- one word, two words, hyphenated. When I did an Amazon search on that title, I came up with at least five pages of results, and the first two pages were published in the last couple of years. So, I figured that was an overused title and I needed a new one because I want my book to stand out.

I spent a day or so listing the key elements of this book, then finding some common sayings, quotes, movie/play/song titles, etc., and seeing how I could plug something relating to magic or fairy tales into them. I came up with a page-long list of possibilities, with Much Ado About Magic at the top. That one just clicked, and my agent agreed. There has been another book by that title, and by an author who gave me a cover blurb on one of the series (I think book 2), but it was more than five years ago, so I figured I'm safe and we can cross-promote each other.

I guess my writing tip for the day would be to plug your title ideas into Amazon and see how unique they are. You don't have to be totally unique, but you don't want so many that there's a risk you could be on page five of the search results, and you want to see if there's any baggage associated with the title, like another book that's either a huge bestseller that might eclipse yours or another book that's a huge flop or that's caused negative controversy that might get confused with your book.

Picking a title was one of those slightly scary "working without a net" things. The publisher usually has final say on titles, so if a title didn't really work, I could always blame them. This time, I did seek input and advice from others, but it still came down to my final decision, and this wasn't a book that seemed to come with a ready-made title.