According to Gertrude Stein a rose is a rose is a rose. Then again, some roses might be more perfectly formed than others. I believe a well-chosen title helps sell a writer’s work. The first impression a book or story creates depends on several factors, one of them being the title. The title will set a certain tone or expectation. Whether an author writes literary work, genre fiction, nonfiction, short stories, poetry, etc., the title should fit the work. If it’s not appropriate, the reader may rightfully feel cheated and misled.
I have a few suggestions for fellow writers that I believe might prove useful:
First suggestion is to do some initial research. For instance, visit Amazon and Google. Check out titles for the kind of work you’re writing to get a sense of what is appropriate.
Second suggestion, go to World Cataloging and type in your title under the keyword heading. See what pops up. If your title is used by many authors many times, you might want to try for something different. Ecclesiastes states that there is nothing new under the sun; however, you can do some variations that are unique. Also, keep in mind that titles are not copyrighted unless there’s a trade mark involved. You can, in fact, have the same title as another author, although if possible, it’s best to distinguish it in some way.
Next suggestion: consider if the chosen title can properly characterizes a theme of your book, story, poem, article via your word choice. Maybe it represents a reoccurring symbol in your book.
Another suggestion: keep your title short if possible. Modern titles are generally brief unless you’re writing an academic dissertation. Otherwise, a few words will suffice.
Last suggestion: Try for a clever use of words which will make your title in some way memorable, interesting, intriguing, and/or provoke curiosity. A whimsical bit of rhyming hopefully also makes a title stand out.
December 1st is the publication date of my new historical romance SINFUL SEDUCTION which has a pre-publication sale. I began with the title THE DEMON LOVER. An editor who read the novel did not like that title for the novel and suggested I rethink it. Although I didn’t contract with her publishing house, I did take the advice to heart and rethink the title. In many ways, my new title fits the novel much better. Kate Miles, my editor at Luminosity, greatly liked both the book and the title which is encouraging.
Take a few moments if you will and look at the novel. See if you think the title suits the book. Your input much appreciated.
Are there any titles that stand out for you? If so, which ones? Why? Comments welcome!