What’s in a Title?


I went strolling through the bookstore for inspiration the other day. What struck me … even more then the vibrant covers … were the names of the books, specifically, the KEY WORDS found in so many Urban Fantasy, and Paranormal Romance book titles.

For example …


  • Hunter
  • Huntress
  • Guardian
  • Angels (fallen, of course)
  • Faerie
  • Demon
  • Blood (blood and more blood)
  • Dark
  • Light
  • Night
  • Moon
  • Wicked



  • Secret
  • Kiss
  • Thirst
  • Blood (of course)
  • Werewolf (odd)
  • Moon
  • Beginning
  • Hell
  • Desire
  • Devil Fire

Now I walked over to the Young Adult Fantasy department and this got pretty interesting. No wonder why teenagers are so scary!


  • Demons
  • Shadows
  • Darkness
  • Blood
  • Witch
  • Dragon
  • Night
  • Fallen
  • Powerless
  • Evil
  • Moon (Red, Black, Dark and a few other frightening versions)
  • Guilt
  • Dead
  • Dread
  • Fire
  • Godless

Sheesh! Do you think maybe it’s our fault the Young Adults are so damn angsty?

Vampire Explored is a blog by Deborah Riley-Magnus, author the Twice-Baked Vampire Series. Book 1, Cold in California

Cold in California cover, lgCOLD IN CALIFORNIA


13 responses to “What’s in a Title?

    • Hahahaha. You know, when I went to the bookstore I thought I was looking for inspiring covers. I was totally shocked at the sameness of so many titles! I LOVE your book title … “No Wings Attached”.

  1. I like the look at the titles. I don’t think I’ve used any of those in any of my books. Flight, Betrayed, Quests Secret are some in my YA books. For adults I Warrior, Dragons, Temple and other like words. Maybe it’s because I do mostly fantasy and alternate worlds.

    • I don’t think the words on this list are what surprised me the most, I think it was how they were used. I read five book titles in a row – out loud – and realized it’s the rhythm of the titles that had become jarring. I understand there are tried and true formulas for the length of a title but something about the entire group (5 books by 5 different authors and publishers!) felt like it was all the same story. Maybe it’s time for authors to fight to develop and retain unique titles that push the boundaries of “tried and true”. I recall that my lit agent wanted me to change the “Cold in California” title, explaining that it didn’t sound urban fantasy enough. He suggested many of the words listed above! He’s no longer my agent … okay, that’s not why, but he’s still no longer my agent, lol.


    • Jenny, now you’ve peeked my interest! I think I’ll do this kind of blog post again, only researching … Romance … Military … Mystery … maybe even Erotica … and see if all the genres do the same kind of thing. I think it’s time to shake things up in the title world! Who’s with me? LOL


    • I wonder … did someone do a multimillion-dollar research study that states “Dark” in a book title has more sales potential than “Light”? If not, it’s time to change book buyers’ perception of a good book vs. a bad book. A dark plot can still be sparked with light in the title, even if the title is “Lights Out”. LOL!


  2. It’s hard to think up something new when you’re writing about vamps and weres!! I think I’ve managed to avoid all thos – but more by luck I suspect!!

    • Barbara, I suppose it’s our job as authors to think up something new where vampires or any genre is concerned. Otherwise, all we’re doing is lumping ourselves in with all the rest of the “same title lazies” and getting lost in the muck. I’m starting an international movement to create original, powerful and surprising titles for our genre titles! WE CAN DO IT!!!!!


  3. Never realized this! NOW every time I go into a Bookstore, I’ll be over-conscious of the titles and the catch words! LOL!

    Too, it makes me want to be sure and “think” out my own titles as I write. I’ve been lucky with the titles I have so far; one of my publishers even goes as far as to check out the title before allowing me to use it on a book.

    Great post!

    hugs, Kari Thomas, http://www.authorkari.com

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