Saturday, February 28, 2009

My novel title is taken!

It's OK, just breathe. Breathe... there you go. Don't freak out. Let's just calmly talk about what it means.

If you find that the "perfect title" for your novel is already taken, first consider the legal side of things. According to the copyright.gov website, some items not eligible for copyright protection include "Titles, names, short phrases, and slogans" which means you are in the clear on legal grounds.

Next ask "Is the other book similar at all?" If you have a fiction story called "The Snake" and a plumber has published a how-to book on cleaning your pipes called "The Snake," you aren't likely to have much inadvertent bleed over. But if the other book is in a similar genre and or is simply another work of fiction, you have to decide if it works for you or against you.

I'm just guessing here, but if you have a book called "The Firm" it is possible that you might get some sales, particularly online sales, from readers who think they are getting the John Grisham novel. I would not recommend this as a strategy for book sales because rather than developing a following of readers, you will most likely develop a following of haters, annoyed that they got the wrong book.

As long as it is branded properly and the cover art is distinct enough, you are probably OK with a title that is already used. If it is a very popular title, I would recommend looking long and hard to make sure you can't find another choice for your book.

Until next time, let's keep on writing.

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2 comments:

makeart said...

Thanks for that!! I did a search on this topic and your's was the first in the search results. I'm thinking of writing a novel and ran into this dilemna, but I'm feeling a lot better about it now. Best wishes!

J Hugh Thomas said...

Glad to help. Good luck with the novel!