Friday, February 12, 2010

What's in a Name?

Currently I'm working on a contemporary erotic romance and it's title-less (I don't think that's a word). Normally I come up with the title first or at least have a decent working title when I'm in the first draft stages. That way I think of it as the 'Insert whatever here' story. Currently, I'm calling this my 'neighbors' story and that just sucks.

Titles are so important whether it be for hooking an agent's attention or hooking a reader's attention. Of course, nothing will sell because of a title alone, but it's a nice way to catch the eye of someone. Running From the Past (written under my alter ego) is to date, my favorite title. Originally I'd used this title for a different story, one that's currently gathering dust on my computer. It was for the first thing I ever wrote and even though the story was eventually (deservedly) rejected by everyone in the free world, I had a very high response rate from query letters (almost 90%). I credit part of that b/c of the blurb itself and the title. Fast forward two years later, I was working on my first erotic romance and decided to use this title again. Eventually it placed in the GE contest and sold to Ellora's Cave (my first sale to them). Obviously it sold because of its merit, but to date, it's my best seller. While I'm sure a lot of that has to do with the content and the sexy cowboy on the cover, I like to think the title helps draw people in. :)

Interesting history lesson for the day: One of my favorite books, The Great Gatsby, was originally titled Trimalchio in West Egg. Scott F. Fitzgerald's editor told him to change it. From a marketing standpoint, that was a wise choice.

I swear there's a point to my post. I'm asking for title help. See below for a brief blurb of my current manuscript. Some of the content has changed, but the basic idea of this story is outlined and I need help! If I end up using your title, you'll win a copy of my upcoming release from Ellora's Cave, Worth the Risk. It comes out February 24th so you've got over a week and a half. (I've added a picture of Gerard Butler for inspiration).

Scott O’Callaghan got into trouble as a teenager, but now he’s grown and runs a respectable auto body shop. Unfortunately for him, the sheriff of his town has it out for him no matter how much he’s cleaned up his act. When he’s accused of a crime he didn’t commit, no one is more surprised than him when straight laced Michaela Miller provides him with an alibi. An alibi that’s a complete lie. Determined to find out why his sexy next door neighbor helped him out, he puts himself in danger of losing something he’d never considered. His heart.


s7anna said...

So here are a couple of my suggestions :
1. The Troubled Heart
2. False Witness
3. A Man Apart
4. Tempting Alibi
5. The Trouble With Love
6. Second Chances
7. Trust No One

Happy Reading

Cara McKenna said...

Ah, titles.

At first I hoped you were posting about character names—I can rant about those 'til the cows come home.

There's been a trend in recent years in film and books and television to name things "Blanking Blank." Gerund + Word. Saving So-and-So, Kissing What's-Her-Name, Finding Whoozit, Leaving Placename.

With that tired formula in mind, may I suggest, "Bearing Witness?" It's got "bear", which reminds one of "bare", or "baring" one's body, plus it's got a vague sort of drama about it. And "witness" makes one think of voyeurism, another plus for our genre.

Wynter Daniels said...

How about The Redheaded Alibi or His Redheaded Alibi?
I usually have the title before I write the first word, too. But I have one that stumped me. Waiting to see if EC hates it as much as I do!

Cara McKenna said...

I for one don't actually put much stock in titles when choosing a new book to read. I go by the blurb, usually, or a trusted recommendation. For example, I cannot stand the title of Katie Allen's m/m erotica "Private Dicks", but it's nevertheless one of the best stories I've read in the last year and it's not cheesy at all, despite the porno-title.

Liane Gentry Skye said...

Hmmm...Running in Empty comes to mind just because of the car angle. Love the blurb, Katie. I'll think on this one! :)

Savannah Stuart said...

These are good ladies! Keep em' coming :)

Cara, from the perspective of a reader I actually do pay attention to titles. I adore Katie Allen's writing (love Breaking the Silence) but if I'd seen the title Private Dicks w/out knowing who she was, I would have breezed past it.

Jina Bacarr said...

Savannah, since we're on a naughty kick as well as alibi, how 'bout:

Her Naughty Alibi

Naima Simone said...

Hi, Savannah!
I am awful with titles! Positively awful! I had to ask for help with "Sweet Ultimatum" from my friends! LOL! But I'm going to give a whirl because it's worth a new Savannah Stuart release. 'bout...uh..."Lies She Told" or "Past Interferance" Whew! Yeah, my brain's tired! LOL! Can't wait to see what you end up with!

Charlie Alldredge said...

Sounds like a great read!

I always agonize over titles but here goes...

Lie for Me
Sexy Little Lies
Nice Girls Make the Best Alibis
The Bad Boy's Alabi
Worth Lying For

Kaylea Cross said...

Wow, I really like some of those suggestions. Your commenters rock, Savannah!

I like the word Alibi in the title, but I also liked Liane's idea.

What about using Innocent or Innocence somewhere? It plays on him being falsely accused, and highlights that she's the good girl next door. Tempting Innocence.

Hm. It's all I've got right now, but I'll keep thinking.

Dalton Diaz said...

Ooh, Anna, I love Tempting Alibi. How about, His Tempting Alibi, tho? Kind of says it all, yes?

Kimberly said...

I'm really liking Tempting Alibi, I must say!
The blurb does sound interesting--and the picture of Gerard doesn't hurt in the least :-)
I'm thinking about the body shop angle. Something like High Gloss Alibi or Make Me New Again or Better the Second Time or something...
Good Luck! I know you'll come up with the perfect title.

Stephanie Adkins said...

It sounds like a great story, Savannah! :) I'm soooo horrible with titles. LOL You've gotten some really good ones though. :) Good luck!

Savannah Stuart said...

You guys are awesome! I've got it narrowed down to two...I'll let y'all know what I decide :)

Monique said...

You probably have already decided but how about:

A Lover's Alibi
The Sweetest Alibi
A Deceitful Alibi

kinda lovin the word!

Savannah Stuart said...

These are all awesome but I'm going with Tempting Alibi! Thanks Anna, I'm going to email you right now :)