Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What’s In A Name?

The title of you book is important because it gives the reader her first impression of your story. Do it right and your book title will reflect the type of story you’ve written. It will entice your reader and encourage her to pick your book over the multitude of others out there vying for attention. Do it wrong, and your book title will give your reader the wrong impression of your book or just make the reader think your book is boring.

There are many ways to come up with a title for your book. Sometimes, it’s a phrase from your actual story. Sometimes it’s a literary quote. Sometimes it’s a pun or a play on words.

Rachelle Gardner, an agent with Books and Such Literary Agency, wrote a great blog post in 2010 about how to go about finding the perfect title for your book. You can find that blog here. But some of the suggestions she gives are:
  • Find other books in your genre and study their titles
  • Use visual words
  • Use a thesaurus
  • Make sure your title is different from what’s already out there

When I wrote A Heart of Little Faith, I took the title from something the heroine said to the hero. When I wrote Skin Deep, I picked the title based on the idea of beauty being only skin deep. And for my current work in progress, The Seduction of Esther, well, it kind of just popped into my head—we’ll see if it gets changed if it ever gets published!

How do you pick your titles?


  1. I have several titles in mind for my WIP, working title Angel Foster (picked because she revives after death and is an orphan.)
    The Bride Wore Black is one possibility. Until the little Duchess Anne of Brittany wore white to her wedding, brides wore Black. White was for mourning. Another author used that title once. I don't see why I couldn't use it, but it may not paint a complete enough picture of the story premise.
    Love in two times is bad.
    Love once, love forever is clunky.
    Good thing I don't have to decide today.

  2. I've searched quotation sites for some ideas for titles - Fragrance of Violets was the result of finding an apt quotation.
    The one I had the most problems with was 'Her Only Option' - which I still don't really like - but neither my editor nor I could come up with anything better!

  3. I like yours, too, and also Debra's! And I do like your 'Timeless Love' suggestion for Ana's story! I thought of 'Love Lasts Forever' - but think yours is better!

  4. One of my titles came from the book itself. Other titles just come to me. With my series, I try to include something from the title in the story. In two of the books it actually became the closing line.

    I agree. A title needs to convey something about the story and not be misleading.

    One issue I've run into is a few of my titles are also other titles (You can't copyright a title) so it can get confusing. I get lots of Google hits on "This Can't Be Love" which have nothing to do with my book.

  5. I think as more people self-pub and there are more books published in general, it's very difficult to avoid duplicate titles. So you just have to look and see if the same title was recently published, or if it conveys a type of book that yours isn't, etc.