I suck at titles! I always have to wrack my brain to figure out what I am going to call my written masterpiece. Sometimes the title spins around in my head until I can’t think of anything else except what is going to fit and sound right. I slave over the wording to the point where I put the story away to go for a walk to find inspiration.
I found a great article written by Adele Dubois who has helped me to focus on how I can find the title that fits. Also to provide me with some insight as to how the title of your book is important to publishers.
First off, don’t think that since you have a great title and you love it so much, that the publishers are going to love it. Be prepared to have the title changed, if your book gets accepted. It no longer becomes your creation but it falls into the hands of a team that decides if your title is going to grab readers and is going to fit in the scheme of their promotion of your creative work.
If you think about it, the title is the first impression that anyone sees. If you walk into a building and it’s dirty, what do you think? Do you want to keep walking or do you just want to leave? If you walk into a building and it’s beautiful and attractive, you probably want to even hang around after you’re supposed to be gone. The title works the same way. You can catch the eye of a reader who is looking for something new. You could make someone pause on your book while browsing the e-books on a website. Either way, you need to capture that person and compel them to choose you.
She offers tips on how to create a powerful title, to which I have already started using them and wish to share with you. Adele tells us that the fiction titles should be short, convey the genre and capture the story theme. That makes sense. I could never stand a book with a long title as sometimes it seemed ridiculous and when you are looking for a particular genre to read, you want to be embraced by it. Why not give your reader that opportunity right from the start?
Keep the title short to no more than four words. This tip worked for me on the contemporary romance series I am currently working on, about two women in search for love. I had so many working titles that seemed too long until I shortened it to two words and it worked a lot better.
Your title should represent the genre or subgenre. This could be a hard thing since there are so many books that populate the industry, for example Vampires. It is so hard to come up with a title for your vampire story when there are so many books like that out there, but with the help of the next few tips, it may be easier to come up with something.
Try to create an emotional response. When your reader skims the book titles and comes across yours, try to reach out in some way to their inner core. When you’re looking for a book to read, you’re usually looking for a book in particular to satisfy something you’re craving. If you use a word in your title that hits upon that lust, then you have them hooked.
Make it original. The one thing you want to stay away from is having your book title be inundated by the internet so it gets lost in the shuffle. An idea I had, even before I read the article, is checking the internet to see if your book title is already overused. When I started working on my book for an e-book publisher, I went to their website as well as Google and Bing, to see if my title was already in use. Luckily, it wasn’t and hopefully you will get the opportunity to read it some day – with the title I chose for it.
Be current and stay away from cliches. How many times have your read writing advice that says to stay away from cliches, so why would you want them in your title? If you think it’s going to be cute and well known to people, then think again. It’s too known, that’s the problem. In the society that we have now where the electronic age is speeding along so fast that we can’t keep up, why would you want your book to be dated and stuck in the past? Give it a fresh title. Give it something that will last for as long as people are still buying your book.
Use active phrases and not passive. I am a slave to the passive and I am still trying to fix that. It is so annoying that I find it hard to activate my work. At least what I can look forward to is mastering the active one day. If you find that you are running into problems with long titles, using an active phrase will shorten it up. The writer of the article, Adele Dubois, used the example when she changed the title of her novella from The Art of Erotic Painting to Erotic Art. Now that works!
Word of advice – keep writing! I want to see your work out there for me to read. Whether it is through a print publisher or through your own creation via e-book, be proud of your work, be proud of you and always strive to make yourself happy with doing what you love and what comes naturally to you.