Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Next Top Title Blogfest

"What is in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet?"
Romeo and Juliet

So, if someone had named the flower "Turd", would we even bring our noses close enough to smell its sweet fragrance? Names are important and so I'm delighted to participate in Slushpile Slut 's very appropriate and incredibly helpful blogfest since I am struggling most stridently with my title. Here are the rules taken right from the source:

Post 3- 5 possible titles of your WIP and do not give any background or loglines about your WIP. This will allow the commenters to form a quick impression as to what that title evokes to them and choose a title they like best?! The agent and the reader(usually) only see the title, no hook, no logline, nothing...So the title alone has to grab them.

Here are four of the many titles I've tried.

1. The Pirates' Reckoning

2. Two Bells on the Reckoning

3. So Many Rules

4. An Upstart of a Yank

Please pick one and let me know why.

And once you have done that, stroll on over to see the other blogfest titles and vote.


  1. I really love the last one because it sounds humorous, but I'm gathering from your first three title that your ms isn't comedy.

    The thing is the first three wouldn't make me pick it up. !. I don't have any interest in pirates so that is entirely personal opinion. 2. DOn't really understand it. 3. Quite bland, and sounds like a YA novel set in a bording school. JUST my opinion though. This is very subjective. But I do really think the last one would spark a lot of interest.

  2. An upstart of a yank. I would pick this one up and quickly!

  3. I like Upstart of a Yank. Different. Fun.

    Wondering if you meant Bells (as in ding dong) on the Reckoning (I assume is the name of the ship?) or Two Belles (as is fiddle dee dee Scarlet O'Hara kinda clones?) on the Reckoning?

  4. i like an Upstart of a Yank. It makes me think this is going to be a fiesty young man - my favorite kind of hero.

  5. I agree with your followers.
    At first I leaned toward #1, but that was because you'd been using it. Also, an 'ing' always catches me. But I also wouldn't pick up a book with Pirates' in the title. Except yours, of course. Obviously.

    Two bells would further limit pickups, I think.

    So Many Rules. So many reasons not to choose it.

    Upstart of a Yank (without the An). All this time I thought your characters were from England! No idea why. You, AA, Melissa, and Vicki are wise. This might really open up the potential audience rather than limiting it.

  6. Ooooh, I love Two Bells on the Reckoning, it suggests so much without actually giving everything away!

  7. I'd have to go with #4. Sounds more fun than the others.

  8. I would go with Upstart of a Yank. Jumps out at you.

  9. I like the third and fourth titles the most. But I have no idea why. *shrugs* My brain just makes the decisions for me. I have no control.

    <3 Kelsey Leigh

  10. Thanks so much Jessica, Melissa, Vicki, Susan, Dale, Sangu, Lapetus, Ranae and Kris, Kels, this is so fabulous and exciting. This is the most helpful blogfest I've done.

    More votes, please. What would make you lift the book off the shelf in the bookstore?

  11. I liked #1. But then I'm old-fashioned. The title is to get the agent's attention at first. And she wants to know what your novel is about, Roland

  12. I'd have to go with Two Bells on the Reckoning. It makes me think of a possible play on words (with the Two Bells) therefore intriguing me to pick it up!

  13. I like Two Bells on the Reckoning - that's my first choice

  14. Brian Upstart of a Yank or The Upstart Yank. Hmmmm.

    Suzie, yes, both two bells and two belles have meaning for the book. Sharon, you've read the first half. Perhaps I should let you read the second half. When are we next meeting? (Hint hint)

    Roland, you are so right. They'll probably change it anyway. What concerns me is I won 2nd place in the 2009 PNWA Literary Contest under the name The Pirate's Reckoning, and of course mention that in my query. If I start using a different title will that be confusing?

  15. So Many Rules sounds like a fun read...It makes me think about a teenager or mg breaking a lot of rules and learning about life and themselves. :)

  16. I like The Pirate's Reckoning best of all. It smacks of promise, romance, and maybe even a little redemption.

    ~That Rebel, Olivia

  17. Great entry in the blogfest. As for my opinion on the titles:

    I know everyone likes the Yank one but it doesn't interest me at all. I don't get it. Maybe I'm too western to get the reference (as western us state, cause I live in wyoming) but I'm not sure what the title means. It confuses me in a way that I don't really like.

    I'm not really into pirates, though some movies are okay, but that title is the one that catches my attention the most. Pirate's Reckoning has something about it that might make me pause.

    Two Bells sounds more of a literary fiction type of novel and the So Many Rules, I'm not sure what that story would even entail. Doesn't come off as the same story the other novel titles are trying to tell.

  18. Sharon K. You know, if I were writing an MG, I think I'd choose that title. Something to keep in mind as I've thought a little about the MG field.

    Olivia, if only you were an agent and said that. I'd want to sign with you immediately. I might even skip checking the Preditors and Editors website. :)

  19. Dawn,

    I think you are right about the So Many Rules. I think it is okay for an MG, but not for this MS. Thanks for your comments. You've given me lots to take into consideration.

  20. #4 grabs me, esp. if the novel's tone is slightly satirical.

  21. ROFL! I love the last one! It sounds humorous. I'm going to snuggle under my covers and have my chocolates ready for this one. It sounds like it takes place in the Victorian Ages, maybe romance?

  22. I vote "The Pirates' Reckoning" because, obviously, pirates are a big part of your story, and the others don't envoke that for me. This gives away key info your reader would want to know. Plus, it sounds cool. :)

  23. KM

    Thanks so much for your vote and for explaining. You've no idea how helpful that was. You are awesome.

  24. Pirate´s reckoning. Because I love pirates! =)

  25. Thanks Clara,

    Because I'm used to being a bean counter, I'm making up a spreadsheet and tallying the votes, including reasons, and maybe I'll even make a chart. :)

  26. I like The Pirate's Reckoning, it's a classic sort of title. The second one is good, too, but I can see that some people might be put off by it.

    I don't like Upstart of a Yank. Maybe just The Upstart? Leaving off the Yank? Maybe there's an oldfashioned word for Upstart you can use instead?

    Thanx for popping in on my blog, too! ; P

  27. I'm liking Two Bells on the Reckoning. It just sounds intriguing. When reading the story, I'd be fearing the bells and what was going to happen by the second bell.

  28. Hey there Melanie!! Thx so much for participating!! My fave is An Upstart of a Yank....Evokes setting and lets us know right away there has been a notable change to the character...I like that! Hope the Blogfest helped.

  29. Tessa and Diane,

    It is amazing and wonderful how different each person views a title. It gives me hope that somewhere out there my book will find a following.

  30. Slushpile,

    Thanks so much for hosting this blogfest. Yes, it was even more helpful than I thought.

  31. My fave is Two Bells of the Reckoning. A reckoning implies conflict right from the get go, and Two Bells is evocative without being revealing.

    A Pirate's Reckoning is risky, because between Johnny Depp and Talk Like A Pirate Day, many people have strong associations with the word which may not work in your favor. I suspect it may be safer to introduce the pirate on the page, rather than the cover.

    So Many Rules sounds like a middle grade or YA title to me.

    My immediate reaction to An Upstart of a Yank is to think either Civil War or Reconstruction. I'm one of those people who got beaten over the head with the Civil War in high school and college, so even a hint (inaccurate though it may be) would keep me moving down the shelf.

  32. How about A Reckoning at Two Bells? But wait, there's no pirate in that. And two bells sounds too much like cow bells, or blue bells. Arrrr. Maybe there should be a reckoning on the midnight watch.
    But seriously. I like the Pirates' Reckoning. The big question, however, is WHAT DOES YOUR FUTURE AGENT THINK?

  33. Bill,

    Excellent feedback. I so appreciate you. I'm going to do a spreadsheet, really I am. You are not the first person, as you see, who has reservations about the pirate word.

    Also my mother had concerns about the word "Yank" as well.


    Thanks for your comments. I look forward to any feed back from an agent, future or just helpful. Hopefully they will see I am open to revision.

  34. Pssst, just popping back in to let you know you have an award over at my blog! :D


  35. Hello, I'm oh so fashionably late, but here's my opinion: They're all good, but Two Bells on the Reckoning stood out to me. It has a jolly rhythm and sounds piratey without using the word "pirate." It also uses specific words (I dislike titles that are cliched or vague phrases) but carries some mystery, because I don't know exactly what is meant. But I feel high seas drama, conflict, and a rollicking tone from this title.

  36. Olivia,

    Thanks so much for the award. I'm thrilled.


    Since I'm breathlessly waiting to do the next round of revisions based on my future agent's recommendations, you are right on time! Always good to know, right? Thanks for your comments.


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