Friday, May 23, 2008

Choosing a title

You may be wondering why I would bring this up before the first draft is through. Well I may be wrong, but I believe that picking the right title is one of the hardest tasks we face, that is assuming we can write our way out of a paper bag.

Now is the time to start a list of possible titles, so that by the time you finish your book, you will have many options. Keep in mind that if a publisher accepts your work for publication, there is no guarantee that the title you choose will be the one on the cover. But if you choose the right title, it may help you sell your book, both to the publisher and potentially to the public.

I see three potential parts to the title, and they may not all apply to your book. That is something you must decide.

Main Title - this is the one part that is core, and must be on your cover. It should communicate something about the content, mood, or genre of your novel. To me, this is the most advanced form of poetry. Distill a novel into a few words. Not easy. I added a resource link below that is helpful.

Sub-title - maybe you have a main title that is iconic or short and memorable. If you need more room to communicate to your audience why they should pick-up your book, use a sub-title. It should serve to further explain the content. Remember, the goal is to take someone from browsing to picking up your book and then on to buying. This is marketing.

Series title - often you know the story you are telling is part of a larger story, and that you will probably tell more of the story in other books. The best way to do this is branding the first book in a way that can be used in the future books. It can be as simple as 'Book 1 in the [series name] series' or you can repeat a word as with the Bourne series. The Lord of the Rings is a good example of a full phrase to tie your books together. Most advice I have found tells me not to think about a series before selling your first novel. I like to be optimistic and think ahead.

Read this site for a great breakdown of types of titles. It will get your juices flowing. Remember, this is marketing. If you don't care about sales, use an artistic but obscure title. If you want to move units, put on your marketing hat.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I personally think, that a title explains pretty much everything about the novel its self. A great mind-picking name for me is 'The Proud Egg and The Saucy Spoon'.''This will be a gobsmacking excellent tale'', would come to my mind if i saw this in Borders, Waterstones or even WHSmith's collection of rifting events in life. The title MUST have capitals at the start of every letter in the magnifisant first wors of this tale. The only word's' that you do not put a capital on at the start are the conjunctions.
Well I hope that I helped you all out VERY much.
Many Thoughtful Prayers
Margerat Thatcher'not the excellant famous mind-blowing woman' :P haha.