Title is easy, right? It is what you called the file on your hard drive. It has always had a name. After all, it is your baby. Are you sure?
Three really distinct groups of authors categorize the majority: Before, during and help me.
These authors know the title of the book before they pen the first word. All words are in pursuit of said title. In these books, the title is the egg.
Somewhere along the way, and usually before line edits, these authors realize the characters have decided on the title. The working title either becomes the title or is scrapped in favor of the only moniker which fits the book.
These authors have gotten to beta with no concept what to call their books. It is still titled, WIP or story or book. They are willing to take suggestions, put out polls and allow a cover artist to put something on it.
Something is missing in all of this: Research. Oh, do not groan. It is a necessary evil. Think not?
Guilt by Association
Ruta Sepetys is in a bit of a PR pickle because her YA book (written a year earlier) is titled Between Shades of Gray. Would you want to be fielding her inbox?
Got a story of best girl friends in a tandem wedding? One turns into bridezilla and demands matching 16-foot train gowns. Women in White is probably a good play on words. It is also is the title of a serialized novel from before the turn of the 20th century, a handful of other books, a movie and a plethora of porn DVDs.
Lost in a Sea
Some themes have a finite number of descriptions. Space transportation a few centuries from now takes a crew on a five-year mission of star charting. Your romance may well fit under the title Starcrossed. Be ready to share your title with more than a dozen books.
You have crafted the best memoir of bar psychology known to the publishing world. Of course, you want to call it No Crap on Tap. Denver beer drinkers are going to wonder how many brews you had at Falling Rock Tap House.
Before you get busy visualizing the cover of your book with the title you are certain is the destiny of your story, search for your proposed title. Some conflicts you need to consider are:
- Businesses with similar taglines
- Same title in another genre
- Similarity to bad books
- Many books (or movies) with the same title
If you are having trouble getting a title which does not come with a loaded history and expectations, become a Help me! author. After all, you can think of at least one book you would have named something far more appropriate, and there is absolutely no shame in asking for help.
Who really wants to compete for a title?
What book would you have named something else? Have you read two books with the same title? Have you ever bought the wrong book because it shared a title?
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