My story needs a new title. I’m driving myself crazy here, and I’d appreciate a helping hand.
I mentioned in the comments last Sunday that I’d had some push-back at RWA about my title, Rent & Cornflakes. A very nice editor said “Not a fan of the title. It isn’t really catchy, nor tells you anything about the book. I wouldn’t think this was a romance.” A couple of days later, I pitched an agent. She asked my title, looked surprised for a moment, and then said “Oh. Is it women’s fiction, then?” I said no, it’s a love story. We moved swiftly on to talk about the book, but I knew then that Rent & Cornflakes wasn’t doing me any favors.
The final nail in the coffin was the feedback I got a couple of days ago from the Lone Star contest. Unlike Elizabeth, I did not final, but I got some really useful feedback, including the following:
I really like this story. The only thing I don’t like is the title. This book deserves a better title befitting a single title romance, so re-title it. A title should be part of your marketing package and should interest readers to buy. Your title doesn’t do that. In fact, I probably wouldn’t even read the blurb of a book with that title. Everything else is good.
All righty, then. I really like Rent & Cornflakes. It’s Rose’s shorthand for the things that really matter in life. It fits my heroine and my story, but if it gives the wrong signal to potential readers and they don’t bother to read the blurb, let alone the book, nobody but me and a handful of my friends will ever know that.
So I need a new title that says ‘single title romance, read me!’ A catchy, memorable combination of words that clearly says ‘love story inside,’ which captures Rose and Ian in particular rather being a generic fit for thousands of other contemporary romances out there, but doesn’t sound like a category romance title (Swept Away By The Highlander’s Passion). Impossible? I’m starting to think so.
Here are the bones of my book, borrowed from my query letter post a couple of months ago:
My story is a smart, entertaining 100,000-word contemporary romance set in London and the Scottish Highlands.
It’s Rose’s story. She’s an artist and jewelry designer. She’s not naive or unworldly (her stepfather’s a successful businessman, her mother’s a smart cookie), but she isn’t motivated by money. Jennifer O’Brien described Rose as ‘dreamy, impractical, and optimistic to the point of foolhardy.’ Justine calls her ‘granola with sparkles’ (love that!).
It’s a love story. Rose meets Ian. He’s a hot Scot. He’s a limelight-hogging entrepreneur, and he is totally driven by money. Of course he has his reasons. He’s the leader of a close-knit family and wider community of larger-than-life characters, and under all the trappings, he’s probably a bigger idealist than Rose.
Ian and Rose both have a problem. Each is the potential solution for the other, so Rose proposes that they work together. It’s not the usual kind of deal.
Their co-operation changes them both. Rose discovers Ian’s not who she thought he was, and when their fledgling venture is threatened by predatory media princess Sasha, who has other plans for Ian, Rose has to figure out what she really, really wants.
The book is the first of a series about Ian and his friends and family. My favorite quote from the Sourcebooks spotlight at this year’s RWA was ‘Put a man in a kilt, and you’re done,’ so if I’m trying to send the right signals, maybe the Scottish connection is the way to go. Love on the Loch? Ack.
I tried Kay’s trick of free-writing twenty titles in three minutes. Nope. I tried a series of buzz-words:
Romance, love, true, heart, romance, kiss, care, want, desire, passion, happy, marry, wed, proposal;
Ian McKenzie Kinross, Scotland, Scot, Scottish, Highland, kilt, tartan, clan, loch;
Rose, English, naïve, dreamer, idealist, boho, blond, London, Camden, maven (?), star;
Artist, art, decoration, paint, draw, sketch, create;
Career, business, success, ambition, money, rich, power, ambition;
Jewelry, glitter, gold, gilded, shiny, Gilded Lily;
Negotiate, deal, partnership, build, grow, change, future, entrepreneur;
If these are the pick of the bunch, you can imagine what the others were like 😉
Designs on the Scotsman
More than She Bargained For
Gilt and the Kilt
Bargaining for Love
Spinning my wheels here 😦 . Any and all comments or suggestions most gratefully received. Thank you!