The Great Title Search

Someone asked a question about titles on my Facebook page a few days ago, and it struck me that I could talk at some length on the subject. Titles are the bane of my life, and I would be willing to bet that most writers feel the same way. I have lost sleep over titles. I have sometimes suggested calling a book The Great American (or Canadian or British) Novel, but I have not yet found an editor who will take me up on it. The title of a book needs to have some relevance to the story, and ideally it ought to be both original and eye-catching.  Perhaps it also should indicate what type of book the reader can expect. Titles like Simply LoveOne Night for Loveand A Secret Affair, for example, pretty well advertise themselves as love stories.

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My own choice of title is not often the one that appears on the cover of the book. Usually I don’t mind–the title I give most books is only a working title, marginally better than sending the finished manuscript in without any title at all. I can’t remember what I originally called the first of the Bedwyn books, but it was rejected. After weeks of back and forth, my editor finally suggested Slightly Married and I loved it. I was working on Book 3 at the time and immediately came back with, “Oh, and Slightly Scandalous would suit the book I am writing now.” I can’t remember which of us  came up with Slightly Wicked for Book 2, but it was all decided within five minutes–three books named, and the next three books made easy. All we had to do was come up with one word for each that could be put with SlightlyTempted, Sinful, Dangerous.

Sometimes I have been more dubious about losing my own title. Almost a Gentleman became The Proposal. I like the present title, but I was partial to my own too. The Man Called Rebecca became Truly, and that title was imposed upon me while I was away in Wales for six weeks–no internet in those days and little chance of communication. I have always disliked that title. It says precisely nothing and could be made to apply to every book ever written. It is the one title I may be tempted to change when the book is republished, though I have always sworn that I would not change any of my titles and confuse readers even more than they already are by a change of cover.

I have been happy to keep a few of my own titles. I can remember a few fellow Regency authors assuring me at one conference that my title Lady with a BLack Umbrella would not stand, but it did. I don’t think there is much chance that anyone will duplicate that one! And I would have been willing to fight for my title Longing if there had been any suggestion of changing it. It was my precious Welsh book, and the word is a translation of the Welsh “hiraeth,” which means the type of longing or yearning (often for home or a spiritual home) that goes soul-deep in most of us. It is the title of a  Welsh song that must be one of the most beautiful ever composed and figures in the book, sung by a male voice choir. The title stayed. That book is already scheduled to be republished, by the way, probably in 2015. A Summer to Remember was my own title. I expected it to change, but it was kept. It really suits the story, and I hope it a book to remember as it started the whole train of Slightly and Simply books.

Sometimes (rarely) titles come easily. They sum up the whole book, or they are there in a key phrase of the book. In the one I have just finished, for example, the hero waltzes with the heroine in the first chapter because he expects her to have some sensible conversation. He even tells her so–and then they proceed to dance in silence. At the end of it he tells her that she is not sensible after all but only enchanting. The title of that book is Only Enchanting!

And sometimes titles can be mixed up and cause endless confusion. At the beginning of the recently published The Arrangement, my next book is correctly identified as The Escape. The teaser chapter at the back of the book, however, calls it by its original title The Affair. Please note that Book 3 of the Survivors’ Club series, Sir Benedict Harper’s story, due out at the end of May, 2014, is THE ESCAPE.

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To one person who leaves a comment here before the end of next Tuesday, September 10, I will send a signed advance reading copy of A SUMMER TO REMEMBER. I have discovered a little pile of them still in my basement. And, I’ll throw in a copy of the anthology BESPELLING JANE AUSTEN–four paranormal novellas based loosely on four Austen novels. Mine is a reincarnation story based on PERSUASION. Last week’s winner was Sheila Hudnall.

117 thoughts on “The Great Title Search

  1. I am terrible at choosing titles my daughter is always trying to get my input on her books. She doesn’t eve like my picks. LOL

  2. Sometimes I think titles, or even projects get better when talking to a couple of people. Not sure I would want to have to think up titles as well as the whole novel. Brain overload. Sounding boards of several people would take the stress of coming up with a name. Reminds me of a movie character holding her head, while saying “The stress of a NAME” Sort of how a new mom will decide what to name her new baby. Sometimes, it is something they have seen, been, or even just made up, but it will be uniquely theirs.

    • I thought that One Night For Love was the beginning of the Bedwyn series? Or at least the story of Lauren and how she ended up left at the altar? It is not only funny about titles, but how the audio books are picked to be read. The only one missing from audio is One Night for Love.

      I love audio and I usually buy it along with the book. Some series (not necessarily yours) are often audio from book 5-7 and they never go back and read 1-4… doesn’t make sense to me.

      Love all your pictures posted on fb and especially your children and grandchildren.

      Linda Wellivere from Battle Creek, MI and Zephyrhills, FL

  3. Very interesting. Of course we’re all drawn by the title. I believe my favorites are the ones that appear within the book. And I really love it when a series follows a theme, as in the Bedwyn series. (LOVE that series btw)
    It annoys me when a title just seems to have nothing to do with the story, why not just name that book about Jeff, “Tom”? So strange. And it leaves me feeling there was no effort put into it.
    I only recently learned that published authors don’t always get to give their books their titles. I would think that would be strange… but I’ve never written a book, only enjoyed them.

  4. A Summer to Remember is one of my favorite books you have written. The Simply and Slightly books are also favorites. I only discovered your books 2 years ago, but once I found them, I couldn’t get enough. I have lost sleep on more than one occasion because I wanted to read just one more chapter, until next thing I know I have finished the book.

  5. I have been reading since kindergarten. My 7 year old son, Walter, and I were discussing why a title to a book is so important. I couldn’t give him a logical answer other than .. It gets a person’s attention or it gives you an idea what the story is about and then maybe you might want to read it. Being 7, and therefore knowing a lot, Walter said, “Doesn’t the cover get you attention.” He picked up one of your books and said, “Mom, you’re telling me that this title got your attention? What about the boy who is kissing the girl?” Back and forth we went until he gave up saying I was crazy and then saying that the book he and I are reading together had a great title. Neil Gaiman’s Odd and the Frost Giants. Now I will have to give him a bigger view of what happens when stories are written and how much the title can change. Walter will probably still think I am crazy especially when I have to do a deep set voice for the bear in his book.
    ps -I really would read the Great American, British, Canadian, French (insert whatever country you want) romance, story, etc. I do get pulled in by the title but truth be told more by the writer and the first couple of pages. I am terrible standing in the stacks at the book store or library reading pages after pages and then realizing I have gotten about 20 pages in and can’t put it down. I have read all the Simply series (some of my favorites that I have read multiple times)

  6. What I find most frustrating with titles is when two different authors have books with the very same title. It seems to me there should be a registry and once a title has been used, no one else is allowed to use it.

  7. You are one of my favorite authors. I can pick up any of your books and know it’ll be a good read. Your stories bring me up when I’m down. Please don’t ever stop writing, me and millions of your fans would be lost without your words. Keep the stories coming.

  8. I find it a bit sad that the author cannot keep the title she had in mind when she wrote her book. Even the cover can be change! But I guess everything is related to marketing strategies! I am new to you books Mary and would love the opportunity to read and review A SUMMER TO REMEMBER. This cover is so romantic!

  9. Thank you for the interesting post about book titles. I learned only recently that authors don’t always get to name their books – what a surprise! It has to be disappointing to be saddled with a title you don’t like and think is a poor fit for the story. By the way, I am reading The Arrangement and enjoying it very much.

  10. I also prefer my titles to have some relevance to the book, preferably before the last page. If it is rather subtle, even better.

    Looking forward to more Mary Balogh books.

  11. I love all of your books. I can’t wait to read the new ones. I can’t imagine trying to come up with titles. Mine would probably stink! I think the ones you came up with work perfectly.

  12. Whenever I had to do a paper for a writing class in college I always found the title to be a real challenge for me. It was difficult to try to think of something that would relate to the material but be catchy enough that it might intrigue the person to want to read it or learn more. I was very surprised to read you don’t always get to pick the title of your books I had no idea. I thought authors always created the title. Thank you for sharing all the interesting pics you find with your Facebook fans and for the interesting facts about your writing.

  13. A Summer to Remember is one of my favorites and also the first book of yours that I read! I unfortunately don’t have a copy since I borrowed it from the library. I would love to have one on hand to reread again and again!

  14. I always check the title in english, because sometimes when the title is a little bit long, they make a confusing translation that has nothing to do with the storyline or the characters. And if the title is confusing the cover is also confusing.

  15. The first book I KNOW I bought just because of its title was TOMORROW SUCKS, a book of Vampire Stories. ( & this was long before the recent obsession w/ vampires….) I used it when I was teaching DRACULA. 😉

  16. I will admit I probably have missed some good books because the title was boring or didn’t excite my imagination. Titles and the cover picture really set the tone , they reach out and grab the potential reader

  17. Books should reflect their title. I hate reading a book and then the title of the book does not have anything to do with the story or is it the other way around.. You title Summer to Remember made me think of the many wonderful summers I have had and brought back many fond memories of those summers.

  18. I’m very visual and titles never catch me the way the artwork does. I’ve noticed I tend to lean toward dark haired men when choosing my novels. I’ve also noticed that whenever I travel, I tend to take one of your books with me. There is something comforting, familiar and timeless about them, and I read the same ones over and over, regardless of whatever else I may be reading 🙂

  19. I can see how one would lose sleep over a title. Sometimes it’s a phrase in the book, sometimes its a description of a book. I love the Bedwyn family. Thank you for writing such wonderful books. They hold my attention, which is hard to do.

  20. I love reading your books! Still have not read them all but I am definitely working towards that goal. Just bought The Arrangement for my Kindle at a very reduced price today on Amazon for anyone who hasn’t bought it yet – this is a great deal!

  21. I have to think that the publishing of a book has to be awfully hard on a writer. You put your heart and soul into a manuscript and send it away only to have some editor chop up your baby, make you delete and add stuff and then tell you that you can’t even name it what you want. How rude! lol

  22. A Summer to Remember was the first book of yours that I read. I loved it so much. I picked it because I only had 3 dollars and it was at a special price (I think it was a reprint) at 2.99. It is still my favorite. I became a big fan of yours and now by everything of yours I can get. I’m glad that your older books are going to be reprinted. I know you don’t want to change titles but with Truly if you really don’t like it I think you should. Just have it listed as formally Truly. I don’t know how long it took you to write but I think you should at least like the name after all of your work.

  23. Picking a title can be very stressful, I’m still trying to find a title for my book that just jumps out at me. Do you have a title for your book before you write it, or do you wait until the book is finished before you give it a title? I had read a post online that suggested waiting until after the book was written before given it a title.

  24. I loved reading your books specially all the simply and slightly series… Found the whole series while on vacation in Dubai but unfortunately here in switzerland i can hardly find all kinds of books as they only bring selected ones in the english library! 🙁
    I think i need to start ordering my books online tho i dnt like online shopping 🙂

    Nice post tho, yr one of my 2 favorite authors 🙂
    Cheers

  25. Ms Balogh………if I tell you how much I loved this book it won’t be something you ‘ve heard for the first time!! I must admit that I wasn’t very fond of Lauren in One Night For Love (Neville was, is and will always be one of the sweetest heroes I ‘ve ever read about!!!! What I feel for him can only be described in terms of longing for the ultimate male book hero each time this book comes to mind…….) but that’s the beauty of your books! If I tell you again how much I LOVED Lauren and her story with Kit in A Summer to Remember, you will think I am so unoriginal……..I ‘ve shed rivers of tears in these books and in the first 2 of the Bedwyns that I ‘ve read! ( I can’t wait to continue and finish them now!).
    We, international readers, don’t have the privilige to attend a book signing to have your copies autographed (THANK GOD FOR ONLINE BUYING OF BOOKS!) and I ‘ve entered countless giveaways of many authors but never won! LOL! I never lose hope, though, and still pursue my dream of having/winning an autographed copy by my favourite author!!! Maybe Lady Luck will look this small faraway country this time??? 😀
    Warm greetings from a huge fan from Greece!
    Chryssa!!! 🙂

  26. The first book I read by you was Slightly Married. I have all the books in paperback and I am starting to add them on my eReader. I never thought that the title of the books written would be something other than what the Author gave it. It’s great to be able to learn all sorts of tidbits to your writing process and your books that we might not have known if it weren’t for the Internet!

  27. How interesting to hear your comments about how the titles to your books “come about”. I think that a title is really important, and should be relevant in some way to the actual book. If it is memorable as well, so much the better. I have often picked up a book at the library for a second look, and then a read, just because the title is so intriguing. I have always enjoyed your stories, and the various articles on your blog give us a fascinating glimpse on how they come about.

  28. I learned very quickly that titles and covers can be deceiving but nevertheless, it is what attracts me to a book in the first place. I might spot it on the library shelf or in a bookstore window. Then I usually turn the book and read the back (or in older books inside the cover sleeve or in paperbacks the first page before the story starts). I have to be honest, I cannot remember why I picked up my first Bedwyn book (it was Alleyne’s story) apart from being captured by the blurb and since then I have been hooked. The titles didn’t do it for me for sure as the similarity is confusing to me (English is my second language and because I read a lot I hardly remember titles but names and story lines). A lot of series use that technique to make sure the reader identifies them as belonging together. In the end I pick books for various reasons and titles are only a minor point. Sometimes I go for boring or very simple book covers with nondescript titles just to see what hidden jewel I can find.

  29. Titles aren’t very important to me anymore, unless they are telling me that a book is part of a series I like. I’ve picked up too many books with amazing titles and not that great of a story. As I am an aspiring author, that kind of bums me out that they would change it from something that you liked to something that you really don’t like. I would hope that we could discuss it like you mentioned above, so that it’s something that everyone can agree on… But that is just me.

    • I think of editors as people who help me find the best title, Christina. If I really like my own title, I fight for it. And only once ever have I been landed with a title I really disliked–and then I was not even consulted. Publishers want authors to be happy. They are not dictators.

  30. It seems to me that picking a title for a book is a little like writing a mission statement for a company. In 1 to 4 words you need to be able to draw a reader in, plus you need a killer artist who can catch the readers eye enough to make them want to pick up that book from all the others on display.

  31. I cannot imagine trying to pick a title for a book! I find that the title of the book has a lot to do with weather or not I’ll read it. That and if it’s by you or one of my other favourite authors!

  32. When I see how parents struggle with naming children, I can certainly understand why writers have difficulty with book titles. Thanks for the insight on this topic.

  33. Great insight! I think titles should match the theme of the book, if possible. As you stated, possibly a phrase or word that has meaning. I like my titles, however since I’ve just signed my first contract, I guess I’ll find out if my title sticks. I certainly hope so. Thanks for sharing!

  34. I love your books and want to thank you for the wonderful stories that have made me laugh, cry, and celebrate love. I am not a creative person so it I cannot even fathom how to go about coming up with the title of a book, far less to actually write a book. May your inspirations and ideas and creativity never ever dry up.

  35. This was a very interesting post. I was quite unaware that you aren’t always allowed to keep the title that you picked out for yourself. I work very hard to write a title and though there have been a couple that wouldn’t have mattered if they were changed I think I would be quite insulted over the suggestion of a change to others.

  36. My first Mary Balogh book was SIMPLY PERFECT, which was………simply perfect! I have enjoyed the rest of that series and many, many others since. My new favorite (obsession) is the Proposal. I love the title!

  37. Oh my goodness! Trying to decide your favorite book would be like choosing one of my children as my favorite! OK. I truly loved THE PROPOSAL and just raved about it in my review. Thus, when I found THE ARRANGEMENT was coming out, I literally counted the days. “The Gods” smiled on me and I received an ARC of it and I was thrilled. I put my review of both books on Goodreads, Amazon and the blog, bookworm2bookworm where I am a reviewer. I am so hoping that “The Gods” will smile on me again and I can get an ARC of A SUMMER TO REMEMBER and a copy of BESPELLING JANE AUSTEN. I would love to read and review these and put my reviews on Goodreads, Amazon and post them on our blog, bookworm2bookworm.

    Fingers crossed and thank you so much for your generosity!

  38. The “Slightly” series was the first one I read, thanks to my daughter who introduced me to you through the Bedwyns. I am forever grateful to her! She still reads every book you write. As a writer, I too struggle with titles and want them to reflect the novel. My first is “Evangeline’s Miracle” and is actually a “double entendre,” which suits the story to a “T.” My current work in progress is “The Seventh Man.” It’s a police thriller.

  39. I have 2 stories on the go – one I have been writing for 20+ years – only write it every 3 years or so (one day … one day). Anyway, I hate what I called it when I was 23 years old, so have shortened it to an acronym, that I always seem to think of with internal embarrassment. Maybe when its finished, the title will show itself.
    The other, written more recently, and still only a short story, is called by its very first word – as that was the way it automatically saved. That one too will probably change, as its not really the best word to have on a shelf!!
    Titles for my stories aren’t really too much of a concern, I would just love to finish writing them!

  40. I love the “Slightly” series….I read one then had to go online and order the others. They made me fall in love with the ton, the era, and MB.

  41. I am sure finding the right title is one of the hardest part of writing. I love when they title is a true reflection of the book and not just some random title used to attract you to the book. I also adore it when books in a series show their connection in their title such as your Simply series.

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful stories with us all, I enjoy them so very much.

  42. I hate figuring out titles for my books. And it’s even worse when you realise someone already has a book out with that title. Luckily none of my books have had their titles changed – yet.. I’m sure it won’t be long though. Can’t wait to start reading the Proposal. That’s my excitement for tonight 🙂

  43. I believe it is the title of a book that first attracts me to it. I like the title to relay how the story line will progress. Can’t imagine how difficult this is for an author, especially since I find it difficult deciding what to wear for the day.

  44. Titles are a draw, and the cover pictures…….except in your case, when I see a book with your name on it, the only thing I check is to make sure I have it, if not I buy it. I have almost everything you have written, I am a book hoarder. I can lose myself in your books, and have been known to sit down and read the entire book before I quit. To have an autographed copy of one of your books, would be my prized possession. thank you so much for sharing your talent with the world.

  45. I am a new reader to your books, and I love them! I think authors should be able to decide the title of their books. The title and cover is what first “grabs” the reader, and who knows better than the author what title is suitable for their “baby”.

  46. I like when the titles have a pattern, it helps find the next title in the series. Also I like when the books are numbered, I like to read them in order. Start a post on facebook or your website for readers to send in ideas. You can keep a list to refer to. Love your books. Thank you

  47. Interesting post!
    I have a question- I notice in your books a lot of times the phrase or words in the title come up in the book, and I was wondering if you ever do this to make the book resonate more with the title? Sometimes reading the title phrase in a book seems odd to me- it makes me feel as if the title gave away a part of the story! For example when you were writing the Simply stories did you feel that it was easy working the phrase “simply” into the writing he and there?

    I think a lot if the Signet regencies have lovely titles – they are apt to the story and not at all generic. Of course I can’t imagine seeing the title “The Plumed Bonnet” on the cover of one of your historicals…. Are there different trends for naming things between genres, and through the years?

    • I think once or twice, Diane, I have included a phrase in a book because it is the title. Far more often, though, it is the other way around. The phrase comes first, and the title comes from it.

      Yes, titles do tend to go with genre and even sub-genre. A few of my own titles for the Signet Regencies were nixed because they were not suited to the genre.

  48. I had to go and look up that song, Hiraeth. It is very haunting.
    Great longing and cruel longing,
    Longing which is breaking my heart;

    Excellent basis for the book, I have read it, but it was a while ago, I must read it again!
    I think your titles are very appropos to each book I have read. I always wondered how you come up with them!
    THe Slightly series is still my favorite!

  49. I will admit that the thing that gets my attention is not the title but the cover . The first time I picked up a romance novel was because I loved the dress on the front cover 🙂 lol but the more I read the books the more I noticed that sometimes the title does help me pick which book I’m going to buy because I usually end up with like ten different books in my hands when I just went in for one.

  50. As far as I’m concerned, you could just give all your books a number. If the author is Mary Balogh I will read it. All of your books are so easy to read. I never have to force myself to finish one of your books.

  51. I have been reading your books for years and enjoy your historical ones the most.My mother (who is now 82) also reads them but she graduated to the e-reader.Since we moved to se NC its very hard to get them without traveling for miles!!!! Please keep writing as long as you can

  52. I am a professor of Foreign Literature in Brazil and I LOVE your novels. For me, they are like fresh breeze on my face. I am also a huge fan of Jane Austen and I’m thrilled that you also got inspired by her novels. Congratulations. Make sure you come to Brazil and I’ll show you around.

    • I love the idea of a series on survivors. After all, aren’t we all survivors? No one gets through life unscathed. I bought the first two of the series and have them stashed away for one of those dreary weather days that readers love because it gives them some guilt-free hours of delight….curling up in a comfy chair with a good book….heaven!

  53. Hi Mary –
    I loved your discussion on the titles of your books and I’m sure that the same problems must arrive with the cover art as well sometimes.

    I’m a reader not a writer but I’ve always thought of the title as an indication of the story within the covers and sometimes that alone will get me to pick up a book and leaf through the pages and end of buying it!

    I think we can all get preconceived ideas about a book as well for it’s title the same way as when finally meeting someone we may have talked to but never personally met before. I’m sure all of us have been caught off guard upon finally having that “face to face” meeting when the picture in our mind didn’t match up with the person we end up meeting!

    I must admit when I was growing up I always got a kick out of my classmates whose name was exactly opposite as there personalities, i.e names like “Angel” who was the farthest you could get from that – and yes that was the name on their birth certificate!

  54. I like the idea of using one special word for all of a series and then tag another that works for the book. That way I can keep the series straight. Of course, the title must tantalize the reader. Your Simply and Slightly series are delightful.

  55. Loved “A Summer to Remember”! Had to read and now own all of the books in the series. The Bedwyns are one of my favorite fictional families. If you haven’t read this series, give it a go! Hope you enjoy it!

  56. Another interesting blog. I also enjoy reading the comments that your other readers leave. I had a feeling that this weeks blog would have something to do with titles (smile).

    It is nice when a series can be tied together with one word – I’m thinking to the Simply, Slightly and Mistress series. However, the Huxtable series is also a favorite of mine and they all have individual titles. By the way, the first three titles of that series (FIRST COMES MARRIAGE, THEN COMES SEDUCTION, and AT LAST COMES LOVE) are wonderful and match each sisters’ story so well. Bravo to you or whoever thought them up (smile).

    p.s. I almost cried when you said that the next book in your current series isn’t coming out until next May.

  57. Just purchased the Arrangement, can’t wait to get started. No matter what the title I enjoy your books. Your books got me interested in reading again 5 years ago. Thanks

  58. Titles are hard for me because there’s so much in a book and to try and sum it up in one or two words is like the most difficult synopsis ever done. My latest book of yours, The Arrangement was just one more of my delicious reads. It made me sigh at the end and laugh and want to re-read old favourites of yours. So good!

  59. I chuckle that you get your titles changed. It does not surprise me when I see that the artwork on your covers will often show a hero or heroine that look NOTHING like the character you describe in the book. I remember reading Lady With a Black Umbrella years ago (when it was published). It was the title (along with the author) that hooked me in –although it is also a good example of cover art that was not right as Giles was FURIOUS with Daisy in that scene.
    A summer to Remember was also very apt as that is what Kit promises to Lauren–and fortunately it is the first of many summers. At this point in your career, however, you could title your books Another One By Mary Balogh, and I am sure they would sell. Really enjoyed The Arrangement and The Suitor. Can’t wait for Ben’s story.

  60. I think titles are more important for debut authors. If it’s a writer I like, it doesn’t matter what the title is. I’ll still buy it.

  61. I have told you this before….I bought your first book randomly because you share the same name as my maternal grandmother!! Her name was also, Mary Balogh!! She was one of the greatest blessings God ever gave to me!! I was the middle of four children…..I often felt left out…and she made my world MAGICAL!!!!! My memories of spending time with her are some of the happiest times in my life! She LOVED me like no one else did…she believed in me and encouraged me to write…she was one of the very few people I showed what I wrote to…..
    I Bought your book….and FELL IN LOVE with your imagination!! At the time I read your first book, our family was going through a lot of painful things….after I read the first book, I went to Barnes and Noble and bought EVERYONE of your books….and LOVED them all!!! I fell in love with the characters…..and each book took me to another world….to wonderful places…..and the problems in my life seemed to disappear when I was captivated by your words on the page!!!
    I know you were once a teacher like I am….I dream of one day sharing my stories with others…when I finally grow up, I want to be a lot like you!!!

    Good luck to everyone who wishes to receive your book…if we are visiting this page…we are all obviously your biggest fans!!
    Thank you for sharing your stories with us……

  62. You know, I almost think that the title should come after, save a working title. You don’t really know what is going to jump out at you while you are writing. I love the titles that are a simple line somewhere in the book.

  63. While I love A Summer to Remember, I thought One Night for Love was really the beginning of the series. Lauren’s being left at the altar added poignancy to her memorable summer. I was happy to see Neville’s sister Gwen turn up as the heroine of The Proposal. Titles and cover art are really important for marketing, I guess, but you wounded heroes are important selling points for me. I know you will always have characters that I would like to know.
    Thanks for the mention of the sale price on The Arrangement. I bought for the Nook to go with my first day paperback purchase; now I can read it on the run, too. I loved that his point of view only included his remaining senses and that there was no “miracle cure” Is that too much of a spoiler? Please feel free to edit it out of my comment if necessary.

  64. My friend, Kim and I are suckers for amazing book titles. I’m always amazed how you authors can come up with titles that are befitting the book yet, can be quite sigh-inducing. I personally adore titles that are more than one word. When I was reading this part in your post about how The Man Called Rebecca was shortened to Truly, well that was one good title wasted. I would have bought it without second thought.

    I must confess, my favorite novel, (not just of yours but of all time) is A Summer To Remember. And can I just say the title is the most perfect one, I can’t possibly think of any other that would suit the story better. It was especially dear to me because I read the book one summer and truly, it was a summer worth remembering to me because of your book. 😀

  65. I like the title Almost a Gentleman, although The Proposal is quite nice too. Thanks for another fascinating insight into the things that writers go through for their craft! 🙂

    I was wondering, with the internet as big as it is now, and social media…do you feel that it puts more pressure on you as a writer? I was thinking it’s probably great to get to interact with us and to hear how much we love your books, but I also wonder if you feel like that puts pressure on you too.

    • I love being on Facebook and doing various blogs, Daniele. I love hearing other people’s point of view and feeling part of a community. However, it IS a lot of pressure–or a lot of time at least. My days are a lot busier than they used to be.

  66. A Summer to Remember is one of my favorites, Mary. Lauren and Kit’s story is beautifully written and one I will remember always.

  67. Titles can be confusing sometimes. I follow one author who is coming to the end of a long and very successful series. She has had to change the title of the last book several times now. The publishers won’t release the book until sometime after the first of the year. She has recently told us that the publisher has again changed the title and pushed the release date back a few more months. By the time the book comes out none of us will remember which title is the final one and if the other titles had perhaps been released!
    I loved Lauren and Kit’s story, A Summer to Remember, its one of my favorites.

  68. Very interesting! I’m always interested in how your process works. A SUMMER TO REMEMBER is one of my favorite of your books.

  69. Its a personal experience that titling a piece is often the most difficult process of writing it. I have often felt that titles either give away the whole plot or have little or no relevance to the actual piece in the end. This is not limited to books and writing. When I see paintings like Canaletto’s ‘The Stonemason’s Yard’ – the title essentially reveals only the basic backbone of what the painting actually contains. But there is so much more to be gained than just a scene of a yard here. Thats why I have come up with a rule for myself- I consider the piece of art-whether a book (I’m a self-confessed bibliophile!!) or a painting or any other masterpiece, I go through it without considering the full title so as to not have preconceived notions before I even begin. Often its happened in the past that I haven’t picked up a book because the title looked like something I wouldn’t like, only to hear what a superb book it was from others. So in toto, I do consider titles of importance but not solely of importance as compared with the treasures that lie within!!!

  70. I hate to admit this but I pay little attention to the title except to keep track of what I have read. The title does not draw me to the book—-the author does. I have never been dissatisfied with any of yours!!!!! However, it is hard to wait for the next book in this instant smart phone time. Still, quality takes time and I appreciate the quality in your books. Thank you for hours of pleasurable reading and re-reading.

  71. I generally chose books by author but having some type of sequence (Slightly…, Simply…) does make it easier to find the books. I recently reread several (or most!) of your books. I appreciated the interwoven characters across the books so much more! I just finished Simply Magic and realized that Viscount Whitleaf was first introduced in A Summer to Remember as were many of the other people in in Slighty series. And of course one cannot forget that governess for Freyja and the whole Simple series. I do love them all. Thanks for keepig them coming!

  72. When I read that Book 3 wasn’t going to be out until May, I rushed over to Amazon to see how long the wait had been between 1 and 2. Three months! And now I have to wait nine?! 🙂 In browsing your page, I also saw A Summer to Remember advertised as a “prequel to the Bedwyn series”. And while I love the Bedwyns, I felt that was rather unfair to Kit and Lauren. Their story is so beautiful, sweet, and dear to me, that I hate to see it relegated to a place of “precursorness” by those trying to sell it.

    I love your books so much, and as someone who’s written several short works of fiction, I AGREE, titles are absolutely the worst! Whole scenes can just flow out of my fingertips sometimes, and then I agonize for days over what to call them. Thank you for the many hours of reading (and re-reading, of course!) enjoyment you’ve given me!

  73. A few years ago, I came across a book titled Slightly Scandalous. I was not aware that it was a series book when I started reading. My apologies, but I had never picked up any of your books prior to that. Well needless to say, I got to the third chapter and put it down, went to my local book store and purchased the rest of them. I absolutely fell in love with the series and its offshoots.
    For myself, I like hearing about how titles stay or get switched around. I write poetry so I don’t really have the same issue and certainly not for the same reasons!! It must be frustrating though, having a title that you like but being told that the title just doesn’t work. Most of my own titles are rather easy and workable as well as rather obvious.
    I find that I do have to agree with you on Truly. You say that you don’t want to confuse readers by switching titles, but I think in this case you might want to seriously consider changing it with the reprint.

    Thank you for all of the wonderful stories and characters. I’ve enjoyed many happy hours reading and re-reading your books.
    Happy writing and happy reading!!!!

  74. I could not wait for the printed copy of The Arrangement since I live in the country. Downloaded to I Pad and bought book when I made it to town. Awwww. I have wounded warriors in my family’s past, and I love it when you delve into their feelings and challenges giving others insights. Have always wondered about the naming of books and you do it very nicely. Thank you for such wonderful reads.

  75. Considering I have a terrible time titling all my papers, and those are only for the consumption of a few, I would be terrible at creating a title for the masses.

  76. I’ve nearly finished “The Arrangement” and I’m really enjoying it. Sophie is an amazing heroine. Plus, a glimpse of Gwendoline, Hugo and Lilly from past books plus a mention of Lizzie, Joseph’s blind daughter.

    As for titles, “The Secret Mistress” is the title I’ve found the most lacking. I would have called it “Mistress of The Heart” or “Mistress of My Heart” since that sums up the story better to me.

    No matter what the title, great reading awaits.

  77. I like the way your books are titled but I can’t come up with final titles for my series yet. I must have a title that gives me a feel for the book while I’m writing it but at the end I hope they will have a wonderful symetry like yours, 😉

    I look forward to The Arrangement but especially A Summer to Remember since you said in a post somewhere that your favorite ?scene? was in ASTR. I’m curious to read it. Right now I’m on the Slightlies.

  78. I didn’t realize an author would not necessarily have the final say on the title of their book. Though I admit the title doesn’t really make a big difference to me as a consumer unless I know it has some special meaning. The cover draws me in if it is an unknown author to me and then I read the back of the book if I’m in a store. If at home on the computer I read the reviews of the book just for a little extra info. I purchase all books of my very favorite authors regardless of the story, including yours Mary.
    I purchased The Arrangement thinking that maybe this time it was going to be a difficult read for me becuse of the blindness aspect since I’ve been dealing with my mother’s visual limitations. And then there was the anxiety issue which was hard for me as well. But I thought it was a fabulous, well written story. I would not have changed any of it.

  79. I forgot to mention that I was a special ed teacher and as I read The Arrangement I had several ideas for Vincent. I won’t say more…

  80. I love all of the titles of the many of your books that I have read, but especially the Slightly, Simply, and Huxtable series. Whoever chose, they are “simply” wonderful, and I love when a connection to a title is revealed in the book

  81. I must admit, I have methodically read all of your books that I could get my hands on regardless of the title. The writer draws me, not the title.

  82. I wish your website had a ‘like’ button, I agreed with so many of the comments written here! I just started reading your books this year, and now I can’t get enough. I love the Web series, and am looking for the first four of the Bedwyns, as I was able to get my hands on the fifth one first. I’m already through the first two Survivors, and am really looking forward to Flavian’s story. I must find out why he stutters! Thank you for being such a prolific writer!

  83. I love all of your picks, especially the Bedwyn series. I just downloaded The Arrangement on my Kindle and am already enamored with the story. Thank you for your wonderful books!

  84. I also have a grandmother named Mary Balogh! She was from Hungary and she and my grandfather came to America in the 1960’s. When I first saw one of your books it made me smile. Seeing her name on a book cover felt like a link to my grandma – almost like a warm hug. I’ve been a fan ever since.

  85. You shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, or even it’s title, but the truth is they make all the difference between picking the book from the bookshelf and reading it’s synopses, and just look for another one. For example i picked up’A Summer To Remember’ because of it’s title and so it became one of my favorite books.

  86. I like when titles make sense in terms of the book, but I agree with some of the other readers that titles are never as important as the first few pages of a book. And then if I find an author I like, titles mean almost nothing. I would read anything with the author headline of ‘Mary Balogh’ for example. It’s cool that you have a blog!

  87. I agree with the reply from another of your readers above. Your books could have a blank white cover with your name and a number and I would buy it. Never tire of your books, Mary.

  88. The Slightly series was what started my Balogh craze! They were great (and fitting) titles, they were what drew me to buy them. Thank you for letting us enjoy the world of the Bedwyns!!!

  89. Thank you so very much for answering my question about titles with this informative post. It’s mind boggling to me that an author can be paid to write two, three or four hundred pages, but yet can’t be trusted to come up with her own title?!? And your post proves my point – *your* titles are interesting, and I would even say brilliant in the case of The Man Called Rebecca. And while I like the Simply and Slightly titles for the series, I find ones like Lady with a Black Umbrella much more descriptive and more likely to tempt me to read.

    This all makes me wonder if it is the same case with lit fic – was, for instance, Prayer for Owen Meany an editor’s choice? So much more intelligent than the hundreds (thousands?) of books out there with the word “Duke” in the title!

  90. Very interesting topic. I love the title Lady with the Black Umbrella and think that all of your books and short stories have been well titled. Just like the right name for a character, I believe the right title for a story is important, even if just for the integrity of the author’s work. I especially enjoy reading the title within the story.
    Thank you so much for writing so many wonderful stories! I finished reading The Arrangement in just two days, a lovely book. I am really looking forward to reading The Escape when it is released.

  91. I have loved your work for the longest time, I appreciate your talent and that you share it with others. Every book, every series, is my favorite at the moment I am reading it—you never disappoint!

  92. I love your books! It is always sad when the story comes to an end. I keep wanting it to go on and on. There is so much depth to your stories. You always have those wonderfully good-hearted, patient characters who show their steadfast love till they win their love. Of all your books, there are many that I have read numerous times, but I think Tangled and The Secret Pearl may be my two most favorite. Thank you so much for all the enjoyment you bring to your readers.

  93. Loved the David Tennant photo accompanying the post. Which prompts a question. If given the option, which of your books would you choose to make into a movie?

  94. Hmm. I really don’t like movies made from books, Melanie. I suppose I would like to see what could be made of the Bedwyn series. The costumes and scenery would be worth seeing. But I don’t think I could bear to see actors who bear no resemblance to the way I imagine the characters, and I would certainly want approval rights over the script!

  95. I’m about half way through The Arrangement. Thanks for the info about The Escape vs The Affair. I was quite confused. Can we expect 4 more books after that to give each Survivor their own story? Hope so. I’m liking this series a lot.

  96. I like how the titles help identify a series of books – ‘Slightly’, ‘Simply’ – except for the ‘Web’ ones. I hate spiders!

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