Thursday, June 03, 2010
As I’ve said before on this blog and elsewhere, I love good titles. I know I’m in a minority, but a good title on a book is far more likely to earn the work a second look by me than is a good cover. If the cover is interesting I may look at it and no further. But if the title is good I’ll always open the book to have a look inside.
As far as my own longer works go, Writing in Psychology was a natural in nonfiction but Write With Fire was tough to come up with. I spent close to a week trying out and discarding different titles on that book, but in the end I’m pretty happy with the one I chose.
With fiction, the Taleran books were pretty easy to title. I wanted a format that was in keeping with common practice in Sword and Planet fiction, such as Warlord of Mars or A Sword for Kregen. Cold in the Light seemed a natural title for a horror thriller, and Bitter Steel is a title for a heroic fantasy collection that I’ve had in my mind since graduate school. My vampire haiku chapbook was harder. I wanted something to evoke the sense of the vampire, and also suggest a certain eroticism. I ended up choosing Wanting the Mouth of Lover, which was a title I’d already used years before on a vampire short story. My image today is the cover of Wanting the Mouth of a Lover by the way, which was drawn by the Lovely Lana.
Now I’m struggling with a title again. And this one, too, is going to be for a collection of vampire material, in this case short stories. My original choice for a title was Holocaust in Rosary, which is the title of one poem in the collection. I like that title a lot but I’m worried that it might be a bit misleading. Here’s part of my problem. Although there will be some pretty nasty vampires in the collection, the majority of the stories feature more of the romantic/erotic kind of vampire made popular by writers like Anne Rice and Laurell K. Hamilton. These are the kinds of vampires that were popular and selling when I first started writing vampire fiction in the 1990s. “Holocaust” seems to suggest a bit more bloodthirstiness than will be evident in the book, although “Rosary” certainly seems to soften the edge a bit.
A second issue, and one I’d like some feedback on, is that I believe this is the first book of mine that could be more popular with women than with men. Now, I hope I don’t get blasted for being sexist. I know plenty of women who like hardcore horror fiction and who read sword and sorcery and hard boiled noir fiction. However, I still think the readership for books like the Talera novels is more likely to be male, while I know a lot more females who read Rice and Hamilton. I hope my collection will appeal to both genders, but the core of the material seems closer, to me, to the kind of fiction that is more popular among women.
That being said, I have to wonder whether “Holocaust in Rosary” is the kind of title that might appeal to women, or if I should try something different. Here are some possibilities that I’ve been thinking of. Anyone have a preference?
HOLOCAUST IN ROSARY
MIDNIGHT IN ROSARY
BLOOD IN ROSARY
MIDNIGHT IN CRIMSON
MIDNIGHT IN RED
MOUTH TORN WITH SORROW