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Thread: Book Title

  1. #1
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    Book Title

    Hi folks

    Sorry, by the way, that I am all over the forums (fori???) this morning. But I worked last night and it was a very, very quiet shift. So I made myself acquainted with this board.

    I am having trouble with the title of my book. I have already changed it 3 times, and I still don't like it. Yet I am pretty sure the title is almost as important as the back-ad, which is probably what makes or breaks the sale of a book.

    So are there any guidelines, does anybody have any true and trusted ways to come up with a killer title?

    Thanks!



  2. #2
    Senior Member Frank Baron's Avatar
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    Re: Book Title

    Actually, whatever spiffy title you come up with will likely be changed by the publisher. That's one of the perqs they like to keep control of. (Blame those suits in marketing I mentioned yesterday.)

    It doesn't hurt to come up with a catchy one of course, but don't get married to it. You're very likely to be disappointed. For several years, as I worked on it, I called my book: Sinkers & Jerks: A Pretty Good Book About Fishing. The marketing poobahs didn't like it. (Morons.) Happily, I'd negotiated the title part of the contract to make it mutually agreeable. So, they supplied alternatives, which sucked majorly, and I came up with the one we eventually agreed on (What Fish Don't Want You To Know).

    I still prefer the original but...such is life in the writing lane.

  3. #3
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    Re: Book Title

    Hey, thank you! That helps me a lot. Now I am not going to waste anymore precious time on the title.

    I'll just go back to obsessively editing the manuscript.

  4. #4
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    Re: Book Title

    That's good advice. A lot of writers spend days worrying about the title and not getting any work done. Just keep going. The title thing will get straightened out later - it'll just come to you. And then it'll get changed.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Herman Munster's Avatar
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    Re: Book Title

    Gidday Sabina

    My writing process is not unlike a production line.
    It starts at the Musing directory
    001 Special - They call us SPECIAL Main.doc
    002 Priority One main.doc
    etc
    When they are DONE, the directory gets moved, whole to DONE sub directory.
    That way I know what is finished and what is not.

    003 DONE
    004 is just two chapters, I do want to finish this but the inspiration is not going there yet. Time will tell, it could become a promo short, or just die, no matter.

    So all my books are in a series, so keeping track of what come 1st, 2nd etc is critical where I mention past events, or past events come around to bite the MC/Hero on the butt.
    I don't seem to have issues with titles but then I think I am an unconventional writer. Usually the title comes to me as the book forms in my mind. I don't do outlines, I just follow the pen on the page. Most times, I have no idea what the ending is, and then I often have multiple climaxes, so the ending can be indistinct, in conventional terms.

    I remember one time the story was strong but no title. Maybe 10k into it, the title popped up and it was there. One pair of books had a good working title, then I didn't like it. Halfway thru the work "0010 Hiding in plain sight, Oz" then "0011 Hiding in plain sight, Oz Pt2" 80k words each. It was just a phrase in the book that seemed to work as a title. It is settled, and DONE, both of them.
    My title is invariably something, someone says in the work. I find that titles of books I have read often don't have anything to do with the books. So I "never judge a book by its cover". What is on the covers is different.

    Today, I am doing a first edit on a recently DONE work: Petraeus, That is about General David Howel Petaeus, the US commander of Iraq and Afghanistan. He is the victim of a kidnapping. So it has nothing to do with him as a person, I am just using him as a figurehead, a semi realistic victim. That name seemed obvious. I wrote the title "023 Petraeus" b4 I even wrote the first sentence.

    As others have advised you, the title shouldn't be that important. I don't KNOW but stories of publishers arbitrarily changing titles is legendary. I feel it is far more important to WRITE the work, not title it. You may even leave that to the editor or publisher. Again, the work will either speak its title to you, or it won't. WORRYING about that will only slow the creative process!

  6. #6
    Senior Member Lea Zalas's Avatar
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    Re: Book Title

    This is just in fun and VERY tongue-in-cheek, but given your line of work how about: How to Cure Psychosis: Kill Them All

    Then you could do a sequel: How to Like Living Alone Without Becoming Like the Crazies You Got Rid Of

  7. #7
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    Re: Book Title

    I list.

    After I'm completely done with the first draft of the manuscript and letting it rest for a couple of days, I start listing potential titles and key words. I cross some off, add more and eventually something rises to the surface. If I need to change my title to get the darn thing published, fine (I read that Twilight was originally titled Forks, BTW). but I also figure it could be part of the hook that gets agents to read my manuscript.

  8. #8
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    Re: Book Title

    If you want to see just how "killer" your title is, try the Lulu Title Scorer. For that matter, try it with a few best sellers and see how good their titles are.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Lea Zalas's Avatar
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    Re: Book Title

    That's pretty neat Jeff. The new title I've been bouncing around only scored 27% while my old title scored 63%.

  10. #10
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    Re: Book Title

    Lea Zalas Wrote:
    -------------------------------------------------------
    > That's pretty neat Jeff. The new title I've been
    > bouncing around only scored 27% while my old title
    > scored 63%.

    BLAM!

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