Thursday, January 10, 2008

Thursday Talk Time - Liz Fielding's 50 BOOKS!

This Thursday at The Pink Heart Society we're are pleased to be able to celebrate alongside much loved author Liz Fielding as she hits a milestone new authors can but dream of!!!

FIFTY BOOKS…

Oh, boy. I had hoped to come up with something a little more inspired as a title to this blog, but it’s just after Christmas. My brain is fogged with chocolate and the rest of me is in a state of collapse after delivering book number … I’ve forgotten. Fifty-something. But it’s going to be called WEDDED IN A WHIRLWIND, which as someone has already pointed out, sounds pretty uncomfortable.

Maybe that’s what I should write about. Titles. The ones I’ve loved, the ones I’ve hated. The ones that sank a book without trace. Things have changed quite significantly on the title front since my first book, AN IMAGE OF YOU, turned me from a wannabee to a published author in 1992. I can’t remember what my original title was, something involving second chances, I think – a popular theme at the time. But instead of imposing some awful title of her own on me, my first editor just made me keep coming up with titles until I finally managed one that she liked. And I was tearing my hair out. Who knew that titles were so difficult?

I think we brainstormed A POINT OF PRIDE, although back then I used to tremble so much when talking to my editor that those early conversations are something of blur.

I managed INSTANT FIRE, DANGEROUS FLIRTATION and OLD DESIRES all by myself, but then something changed. A new editor said, almost jokingly, that the perfect title would be The Bride, the Bachelor and the Baby. It actually provided the missing plot element in an idea that had been floating around in my brain. The woman on the doorstep of a grand mansion. The occupant in a foul mood. Why was she there? Why was he angry? That title gave me the light bulb moment. Of course. What I needed, was a baby. By the time I’d written the book, that title had been snapped up by someone else and my book was called THE BRIDE, THE BABY & THE BEST MAN.

Then I had an editor who was into films. She dumped my own – perfect -- title Tender Deception and lumbered the book with THE THREE YEAR ITCH. It might not have been so bad if, in between delivery and publication, the Modern and Romance lines hadn’t been split into “Presents” and “Enchanted”. By no stretch of the imagination could The Three Year Itch be described as an “Enchanted” title. An early lesson in the publishing equivalent of Murphy’s Law. What can go wrong, will go wrong. My editor did her best to make up for that with GENTLEMEN PREFER … BRUNETTES which we both liked. Actually, that was at the height of the exclamation point titles and I said she could call it what the devil she liked so long as it didn’t have a exclamation mark. She even gave me the choice over the ellipsis, but anyone who’s ever read one of my books will know that I have an ellipsis addiction and have make a effort to keep them to the minimum.

It became increasingly obvious to Marketing at about this time, that they’d hit on some kind of magic formula with the The Bride, The Bachelor and the Baby, however. They realised that if they could get a “hook” into the title – instant recognition -- it stood a better chance of selling to busy women grabbing a little fantasy along with the weekly shop.

Fortunately some books lend themselves to this kind of “does what it says on the tin” title. THE BACHELOR’S BABY, THE BRIDESMAID’S REWARD, THE BEST MAN & THE BRIDESMAID. Some bring both author and the entire editorial team to the point of despair. THE MARRIAGE MIRACLE and A FAMILY OF HIS OWN came into that category. I didn’t care much for either title, but I couldn’t come up with anything better and since they both won awards, I have grown to love them!

It seems to me, however, that we’re now going around in increasingly small circles trying to fit the buzz words into the titles, to the despair of both authors and editors, while readers can no longer tell the difference between books. In an attempt to get away from this HMB ran an experiment last year with slightly “different” titles. Nothing as risky as those of fabulous Anne Weale titles such as “Thai Silk”, but an attempt to get away from recycling the same words. I have to tell you that it was a disaster for the books involved. Today, readers buy books with titles that tell them what they’re getting.

My fiftieth book, out in the US and the UK this January – February in Australia and New Zealand -- is THE SHEIKH’S UNSUITABLE BRIDE. My fiftieth Harlequin “Romance”, THE BRIDE’S BABY, is published in the US and UK in April. For a chance to win copies of both these books, email me at liz @lizfielding.com with “50th Book” in the subject line, your name and address in the body of the mail along with which words you think are the “hooks” in these two titles!

To find out more about Liz and her books you can visit her Website or her Blog...

CONGRATULATIONS LIZ!!!!!

17 comments:

  1. Wow, I didn't know that it was our (reader's) fault that M&B titles are so generic! :D

    Congratulations on the yey many books Liz! Love your first title...

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  2. Liz, first up, CONGRATULATIONS on reaching your 50th book (and going beyond that)!

    Secondly, I feel so satisfied that now I know where the current hook-word titles come from. You and your 'The Bride, The Bachelor and The Baby'! Ah, we can blame your book for starting a trend.

    I must say I rather like Gentlemen Prefer...Brunettes. I love a good title and I was interested to hear how your story was helped by the editor talking about a perfect title. I've written a few books that were driven by their titles, which was rather fun, working out why certain things happened after I had the title.

    I hope your new book zips off the shelf in a whirlwind of sales.

    Happy 50th.

    Annie

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  3. Hi Jopee! No, honestly, we live to please...the reader is always right!

    Titles do help, Annie. The Sheikh's Unsuitable Bride started life in my head as The Sheikh & the Shopgirl, then the Sheikh & the Chauffeur (the car providing the "crucible" that keeps them together). Sadly, "chauffeur" is stll seen as a "male" thing, so my editor came up with the The Sheikh's Unsuitable Bride. Which works :)

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  4. Many Many Congratulations on your 50th book Liz! And welcome to the 'golden' club.

    I'm not going to say a word about titles - not when I've just been given 'Bedded By The Greek Billionaire'!

    But with your books, titles don;t matter anyway So long as it says 'Liz Fielding' on the cover, I know it's going to be great writing, a wonderful heroine and a hero I'll fall in love with - what more could I ask?

    Congratulations again

    love

    Kate

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  5. Wow, fifty books! What an achievement. congratulations.

    Titles is a fascinating subject and one I have to say I'm a bit miffed by... Not that I'm any good at thinking them up myself, but I feel all those buzz words are really irritating and make our stories sound all the same when they're not.

    My first book was called Bedded by a Bad Boy, which was okay except I think those Bedded by titles are really old-fashioned (who the heck talks about getting bedded anymore!) I loved the bad boy tag though (my hero was a Harley riding ex-con so he definitely qualified). But then they renamed it Bedded by a Playboy in the US! So far I've had only one reader email from the States. Guess what she said: Loved the book, but the title was all wrong and I nearly didn't buy it because of it! Sigh. You're telling me.

    Many congrats again. You've inspired me to not be such a wuss and start trying to think up my own titles.

    Heidi

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  6. You have my total sympathy, Heidi. When the title is totally wrong you just never get over it.

    At least in Romance we don't get the "Bedded" titles!

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  7. LOL We don't, do we, Liz! Even when they are!! :)

    Many many congratulations on the release of your 50th book.

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  8. Congratulations, Liz!

    Thanks for explaining why the titles are as simplistic and direct as they are. That's what readers want, that's what readers get!

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  9. a big congrats on '50' books; throws confetti into the air.

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  10. Thanks, guys!

    In my early days I used to have titles turned down for being too long. Short and snappy was best. Now some of them are practically a plot summary! I do love The Bride's Baby, though.

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  11. Liz,

    Congrats! I have to say I buy your books based on the author name. As a reader, I HATE HATE HATE the "hook titles" - especially anything with Virgin, Bedded, and Mistress in the title. So old fashioned and cliche.

    But I've learned that the stories have so much more, so I still pick them up at the grocery store and cringe at the checkout when the 20 something acne faced check out guy gives me (the 40 something woman)the once over for my selection.

    Actually, I should tell him to read a few, and maybe he'd get a clue where girls are concerned! Too bad you don't have more input.
    Nina in Ohio

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  12. Ah, long titles....my August book is Falling For Mr Dark and Dangerous. Wondering how they're going to fit all that on a cover.

    Congratulations on fifty, and here's to fifty more!

    Donna

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  13. Ah, long titles....my August book is Falling For Mr Dark and Dangerous. Wondering how they're going to fit all that on a cover.

    Congratulations on fifty, and here's to fifty more!

    Donna

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  14. Yay! 50 books, Liz. You must feel so proud (and accomplished!).

    I must confess - I don't buy books based on titles - I buy by author name and/or back cover blurbs. And your books are always must-buys.

    Awaiting your next 50 with bated breath.

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  15. Liz, I'm with Kate. So long as the words 'Liz Fielding' appear on the cover the title could be in Swahili for all it would matter to this reader.

    Congrats on your fiftieth book!!! And ehre's to another 50!!!

    Ally

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  16. Golly, you are all so lovely! Sorry I went MIA yesterday, but we had a storm and power cuts and then the 'net was sooooo slooooooow I thought I'd go out of my mind.

    It was really interesting reading all your ideas on titles. I have to admit to preferring them short and snappy -- sadly there are only so many combinations of the words "bride", "baby" and "bachelor" and I think I've used most of them. That's one of the problems about writing a lot of books -- finding a new name for a hero is the hardest, then the title. Oh, and writing the book. The bad news is that it doesn't actually get easier!

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  17. Hi everyone --

    Thanks for taking part in the competition. I've drawn the winner of the books from the entries I received via email and it's Patricia.

    Congratulations Patricia! The books are on their way to you.

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