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Monday, November 23, 2015

Choosing an Unforgettable Book Title

One might think that choosing a title for a book is easy, comes naturally. And maybe that's true for some people, but for me? Not so much.

I'd say a novel goes through several different titles before I settle on one. There's the title I come up with off the top of my head so I can save my latest manuscript and not call it "Book 1." Then there's the title I extract from my beta readers or critique partners when they're finished reading my novel. Then there's the "moment of inspiration" title that eventually becomes THE title that I query the book with.

Are you like me, or do you find coming up with a title an easy thing to do?


I recently read THIS post by Pub Crawl that has changed the way I choose a title for a novel. And not just any title, but a beautiful title you can be proud of. And the crazy thing, is that it WORKS! So, to give you some highlights in my own words, here are some tips to choosing an unforgettable title:

1) The Eyes Have It: Chances are your manuscript is riddled with amazing titles and you don't even realize it yet. Have a beta reader or friend comb through your manuscript and pick out favorite phrases. Your own beautiful writing may contain that perfect title you're looking for!

2) Phrase It: Come up with different phrases you might use to describe your novel. If you're writing a middle grade novel about a pirate ship, your phrases might look something like this:

A Boy and His Ship
Pirates at Midnight
A Pirate's Journey
A Pirate's Life for Me
Journey of the Neverland Pirates
The Ghost Ship's Lost Treasure

*I'm sure you can come up with something better! :)

3) Word Game: Make a list of words that describe your novel. Is it a fun, flirty novel that takes place in the summertime? Your list may look a little like this:


From this list, you can combine words:

Summer Kisses
Flirting with Summer
Sun-kissed Beaches
100 Days of Summer
Under the Summer Sun
The Happiest Days of Summer
The Summer of You (ooh, I LIKE that one! I may have to save it for a future book title! I call dibs.) :)

Who knows, you may just have a title in there somewhere! :)

4) The Beauty of Poetry: Sometimes the most beautiful titles can be found amongst lines of poetry. If you're writing a book and stars play a major role, try doing a Google search for poems about stars. Or maybe you're writing a YA contemporary romance and need something about love. Check out poems about love or the heart.

5) More Than Music: Be sure to check out titles of songs too. Your favorite band may just have the perfect song title that would translate well to some or all of your book title.

6) Research It: Now that you've chosen your title, it would be wise to do a Google search and make sure there aren't too many other works out there with the same title. You certainly want your work to stand out, so chances are, if a best-selling novel with that title already exists or the market is flooded with other works with similar titles, then you may want to think about choosing a different one. The last thing you want is someone to look up your book and then end up buying someone else's instead.

Hope this helps you the next time you're faced with choosing an unforgettable book title! Good luck!


Liz A. said...

Titles are hard for me. But that's okay. I figure if a publisher wants to change it, then having a title I'm not thrilled about is okay.

Patchi said...

6 is a must. There are so many novels with similar titles... once I even bought the wrong book because I didn't pay attention to the author's name.

Elizabeth said...

I definitely struggle with titles, sometimes even with blog posts, lol. Every once in a while, I think of a potential title for a book I haven't written yet, so I keep a short list of those random ideas.

Heather R. Holden said...

So many great tips! Titling had come pretty easily to me during my teen years, but it's more-or-less a struggle now. (Probably because I overthink them too much anymore, LOL.) And oh, so true about #6. I do this for all my projects, and have had to give up some nice titles as a result. (Would rather be safe than sorry!)