Bad, Bad Titles

This late in the game, the lack of even a proposed title for the sequel toThe Problem With Black Magic is getting worrisome. The problem is, I hate any title that sounds pretentious, and I also tend to dislike cutesy titles that reference pop culture. These limitations render 99.9 percent of all possible titles off limits.


Since I can’t tell you what the book will be named, at the very least I can tell you what it probably won’t be named; I can’t say these are absolutely ruled out though, because anything’s possible if I get desperate enough.

So here are some of the titles I’ve come up with that are really very bad and probably shouldn’t be used by anyone, but I’ll try to present some of the positives just in case I need to justify this after the fact.

The Problem With White Magic

Pros: A logical progression from the first book; unquestionably accurate.

Cons: Everyone who downloads the book will instantly slip into a boredom-induced coma, because the title is just that dull.

The Problem With Familiars

Pros: Pretty representative of the actual story.

Cons: See: Cons, “The Problem With White Magic.” Besides, do I really want to use “The Problem With…” naming scheme for the whole series? That’s going to get really irritating around book 6.

Magically Delicious

Pros: Catchy, memorable, and shockingly appropriate.

Cons: As a marketing jingle, I have to assume that General Mills owns this phrase. If I try to appropriate it, I will probably be killed by a breakfast-baron assassin and buried in shallow grave next to I-95. My final resting place will be marked by a single spoonful of Lucky Charms.

Kidnapping for Fun and Profit

Pros: Catchy, I feel like I must have heard it somewhere before but it doesn’t seem to have been used as a title for many things, if anything.

Cons: I’m hesitant to use a title without any reference at all to magic, or spells, or demons, etc. I don’t want there to be any doubt that this is a fantasy book.

Solid Spell Society

Pros: Hey, that sounds like Ghost in the Shell!

Cons: Breaking my “no pop-culture references” rule; makes zero sense.

Hot Demon Erotica

Pros: I will sell enough copies to be able to put my future children through coll—well, okay, maybe not. I will sell enough copies to put ONE child through college….public college.

Cons: Totally inaccurate; will be killed by a betrayed erotica fan, my shallow grave on I-95 marked with whips and chains, or some sort of latex camisole thingy—I’m actually not that knowledgeable about that whole scene. Incidentally, this also rules out other racy titles like “Slave To Dark Passion,” and “Fifty Shades of Demon.” Blast.

Memos From Purgatory

Pros: Intriguing; takes things in a totally different direction from the first title.

Cons: This sounds slightly pretentious to me, even though I can’t quite figure out why. Similar titles, like “Postcards from Purgatory,” or “Things to See and Do in Purgatory,” are similarly bad.

Hacking Through The Moon

Pros: Sounds kind of mysterious and cool; came to me in a dream, which is often a good sign.

Cons: This dream didn’t make any more sense than dreams normally do, and I’m not sure how this relates to the story—well, maybe a little, but it’s a stretch. Besides, Deborah Geary, author of “To Have and To Code,” already owns the patent on all computer-based fantasy titles, so this is probably a bad idea. Geary seems far too nice to kill me and dump my body, but she might force-feed me chocolate chip cookies until I get diabetes; that seems more her style.

Prophecy Girl

Pros: Simple, memorable, non-pretentious.

Cons: Already The name of a Buffy The Vampire Slayer TV episode from…yeowtch…1998. Buffy was 15 years ago, what has happened to all of us? What has happened to the world?

Pale Demon

Pros: To the point, evokes Sam’s character in very few words.

Cons: Kim Harrison already used it in her The Hollows Series, so this one is DOA.

Pros: You know what? Screw Kim Harrison.

Cons: No, no, I don’t hate Kim Harrison! She seems like a very nice lady- it’s Rachel Morgan you hate! RACHEL!

Pros: That’s right, I hate Rachel. How the hell is she even still alive? Arrrrrgh death to Rachel! DEATH TO RACHEL!!!!!!!!!!!

I seem to have totally forgotten what I was talking about…I’ll have to get back to you another time. I’m actually busy working on a book called…uh…something.


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