Monday, 25 March 2013

Would the title of a book stop you buying it?

I've just started editing and rewriting the last book I wrote for Robert Hale, "Two Gentlemen from London" and I'm looking for a new title. I can't imagine why this title was allowed to go ahead – I'm sure it's the reason this book didn't sell out. Robert Hale never changed any of my titles and I wish they had.
For instance: The Mesalliance and A Dissembler? How many readers would be attracted to books with such  obscure titles?
The only book that sold out before it was published was, "The Ghosts of Neddingfield Hall". I'm sure this has something to do with the fact that the word "ghost" was in the title.
I changed the title of a novella from, "Wed for a Wager" to "Bride for a Duke" before putting it up as an e-book and this has been one of my best sellers. Of course it could be because the book is considerably shorter than my others, but I think it's because of the words "bride and duke" in the title. What do you think?
At the moment the new title for, "Two Gentlemen from London" is "A Necessary Bride". I'm not sure about this but it's what I'm using until I come up with something else. The heroine has to marry the hero so that he can protect her from her depraved stepfather - so the title is accurate and I think indicates that it's a Regency.
Obviously it's essential the title tells the reader what genre the book is - no point giving a thriller a romantic title. My latest book, "A House Party" has been criticised by a reviewer as having a misleading title. She complains that the book revolves around the central characters and the minor characters (the other members of the house party) are not sufficiently developed. This is a Regency romantic adventure that takes place at a house party - so I think the title is fine. But you can't please everyone every time – and I certainly didn't please her.
Any suggestions for a better title gratefully accepted.

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