Need your two cents.

6 Oct

So. It has been brought to my attention by one of my “beta” readers (the folks who read my manuscript in its second draft and gave me comments. I assume they’re “betas” because I would be the first one to read it, by default, so I’m the alpha reader. This in no way means that I am the pack leader or exhibit displays of dominance—ruff shaking, hand on the back, lip curling—over my beta readers. Indeed, I try to keep my beta readers happy, so they won’t be surly and take their bad mood out on my story) doesn’t like the title “Thrown.” He is a very quiet beta reader. He would never, ever, ever talk about this incessantly, or send email after email telling me how “Thrown” is too quiet.

Well. He started out by saying it was too quiet, but then couldn’t help himself and called it “boring.” This was after he surveyed romance novels in his friendly neighborhood grocery store. Mind you, many of these are Harlequin romances, the smaller, 50,000-word books that have titles like (and I’m not making these up, they’re in stores now): “Cattle Baron Needs a Bride,” “The Librarian’s Secret Scandal,” “Innocent Secretary…Accidentally Pregnant,” “Emily and the Notorious Prince,” “His Virgin Acquisition” and “Powerful Greek, Housekeeper Wife.”

Granted, these are a particular line of Harlequin books, and I’m sure Harlequin has done tons of research and focus groups to figure out what sells to this particular audience. And if Harlequin wants to buy my book and change the title, am I going to stamp my foot in defiance and refuse? No. I do fear they’ll change it to something awful (“The Riding Instructor and the Movie Star,” or “Riding Amanda”—eek!), but if I sell my book, that will be the least of my worries. Besides, assuming I keep at this writing stuff, won’t it be colorful to have a terribly named first novel that I can laugh about later in my bestselling career?

So here’s the deal. I humored Hal (he’s the reader who hates the title “Thrown”) and came up with more titles. He felt the setting—Aspen—is a big hook for romance readers, that it holds such cache, romance and allure that I should mention it in the title. He loved one of them. Now I want to know what you think.

Should I stick with “Thrown,” or change it to “Tall, Dark and Aspen”?

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