Thursday, March 8, 2012


Recently I've had to figure out titles for a couple of new projects. One of which is going to be my next Changeling Press release coming out in a couple months as part of my Hacked Investigations cyberpunk romance series. The other is a project I turned in for a submission call.

My upcoming Changeling Press release is called Blacklist Rogue, and while I scratched my head for a while and brainstormed with my husband a little, it wasn't too hard to come up with once I figured out the pattern I'd unconsciously come up with in titling the books in the Hacked Investigations series. Techno Crazed was the first one and then Savage Bytes. I realized I could break it down into a technical term and an intense, negative adjective. Having a pattern to work from is a bit freeing in that for the fourth book, I'd just have to go back and think... technical term and adjective.

Another example of working with a pattern is Lisa Kessler's Night Walker, Night Thief, Night Demon. I can't say that coming up with titles is my strong point so that method is like a sigh of relief to me.

Where it gets difficult, for me at least, is when you're starting out a series or writing a standalone. I always put off titling my books until I can't possibly hold off anymore since it's not really an enjoyable part of writing for me, unless I have one of those flashes of inspiration where a title just hits me between the eyes.

With these titles, I try to think of the themes and characters and what's going on in the book. For instance, my latest release Captive Moonlight, I picked out that the hero is taken captive and he's a werewolf. So I thought of Captive and all the words related to a werewolf. Moon... Wolf... Moonlight... I finally decided on Captive Moonlight since I liked the way it read, and it fit the criteria for what I had thought up.

So, here are my questions for all of you, which I'm really curious about. For authors, when and how do you come up with your titles? Readers, what kinds of titles pique your curiosity when you're browsing for books?

~ Sarah Mäkelä


  1. Titles are tough. I have a story about a local TV weatherman who is being investigated by a Wicca organization because they suspect him of using illegal magic to predict/control the weather. I went from WEATHER DANCE to ALL ABOUT MAGIC to MAGIC IN THE AIR.

  2. Nice post Sarah :). I usually come up with the title part way through the first draft of the first few chapters. But currently I'm working on a novella that I can't figure a name for to save my life!

    At a recent conference I met with a NY editor and asked him for feedback on my first page of three of my books. He loved one title, didn't like another, and really didn't like the third- and that's the one he asked to see a full of ;).

    Taught me not to fret about the title quite as much (But yes, I DID change the title before I submitted it to him-LOL).

  3. Great post Sarah!

    I'm a weirdo because I love titles! I think it's my sales and marketing background... I usually have a title within the first few pages.

    And if it's a series, it's usually helpful to market it if the titles have some kind of connection... So all my Night Series start with the word Night and the second word is something that relates to a super important plot point. (Except Night Walker! LOL That one I picked because that's Calisto's race and it seemed like a good way to open the series...)

    My werewolf books (Moon Series) starts with Moonlight, and every other book is named after an almanac moon... Hunter's Moon, Blood Moon, etc.

    Titles, like book covers, don't need to be as perfectly related to the book, but instead are short, catchy and portray the "mood".

    I think your Hacked investigations titles have been perfect for the series! :)

    Great blog!

    Lisa :)