I’m sure this is an easy feat for most writers, but not for me. I agonize over book titles. Are they too long? Too short? Do they convey the correct theme of the book? Do they even convey the theme of the book? Will it be a memorable title, or one that is easily forgotten in the myriad of published books these days?
Titles can, in all truth, make or break a book. Would you have read any of these books if these were the titles?:
- The High-Bouncing Lover
- The Last man in Europe
- The Dead Un-Dead
- Mistress Mary
- Nothing New in the West
- Wacking Off
- The Don’t Build Statues to Businessmen
- The Kingdon By The Sea
- At this point In time
- Private Fleming, His Various Battles
I was a bit surprised at a few of them, and I can in all truthfulness say I wouldn’t have read any one of them except for the Dead Un-Dead, because I think it was a cool, really out-there title. To see the titles these books were actually published as, scroll down when you’re done reading.
You can’t, apparently, trademark a title. I found this out when I wrote my third book, FIRST IMPRESSIONS ( which, BTW was the original working title of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice) and did a search to see how many books with the same title there were (423). My second book I called THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME. 366 other authors also called their works of fiction that. SO, how the heck can I can up with a title that (1) hasn’t been used before, and (2) will make the random reader interested in it enough to pick up the book and check it out? Again, no easy feat.
I used to make lists, pages of lists, with book titles. Even then, choosing just one was torture.
I’m so lame at coming up with my book titles I left the naming of my second book in the Will Cook For Love Series from Lyrical/Shine to the editors. They came up with A SHOT AT LOVE. When you read the book you’ll know it’s the perfect title, but I didn’t have anything even close to that I was working with! Thank God for the people in the know who really really really know what they are doing.
Naming your book is an awful lot like naming your child. You want to give it something with character, essence, personification, and beauty. And your book, to the writer, is your baby, your child, your creation, so you don’t want to let it down by giving it a crummy moniker; one that will inspire ridicule and laughter. Honestly, I pity the poor children of celebrities who have been named after fruits, compass directions, and astrological projections. Sad.
See? You probably thought the title was the easiest thing to come up with. I bet you didn’t know how hard it really was to name a book? Well…at least it is for me!
Here’s what the above titles were actually published as, and thank goodness they were!!!
- The Great Gatsby
- The Secret Garden
- All Quiet On the Western Front
- Portnoy’s Complaint
- Valley of the Dolls
- All the President’s Men
- The Red Badge of Courage
Since this is a 52 week blog hop challenge, here are some other authors who are also taking about how they name their books today. Stop by and check out their blogs.