Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Do You Judge A Book By Its Title?

Last weekend I headed up to northern Ohio with historical romance author Donna McMeans. We were able to spend over two hours with patrons of the Bellevue Public Library talking about our books and stories. It was a great time with lots of good discussion. One of the things that came up were book titles and I recounted an experience I had this past summer with someone who stopped by my table at a local festival.

The lady was looking over the books I had laid out on the table. I've learned to let their interest guide me because you never know which cover will grab which person. Everyone is different.

She picked up Truth, read the back, and then indicated that she'd try that one.

There was only one problem. Truth is the third book in my Finding Anna Series. It's a serial series and can't really be read out of order. You need to start at the beginning to truly understand everything that is going on.

When I informed her of this and directed her attention to the first book in the series, Slave, she blanched. The title was a turn off for her. She had preconceived notions of what a book with that kind of title had to be about.

This isn't the first time I've had such a reaction. Slave is a powerful word in the English language.

So why did I choose such a title?

I will tell you the same thing I told the library patrons. When I sit down to figure out a title for any of my books, the first thing I look for is a word or phrase that will depict the overall theme of the book. It needs to be a reflection of what the story is about.

Slave is no different. The first book in my Finding Anna Series introduces readers to a young woman who believes herself to be a slave. It colors everything she does...every decision she makes. Her mindset is what drives the entire first book.

Yes, Slave is a powerful title, but it is the one that fit the story best. I've never had anyone question the title after they've read the book, only before.

Was there ever a book you read where the title didn't fully make sense to you until after you read the book? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

(Sherri Hayes writes contemporary romance and BDSM erotic romance. Visit her website at

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