Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Titling Your Book

I've noticed while reading many writer's websites and blogs that they often have a title for a book before they have written it. Is creating a title easy for them? The search for a unique and interesting title that will grab someone immediately is a great challenge. Is the title simple and eye-catching? Does it tell something about the story or the characters? Or is it a reference to some secondary person or thing in the story? How important is the title? It is very important. It's the first thing a reader will see usually and it has the potential for being how everyone will view the author.

Think J.K. Rowling, you automatically thought Harry Potter, right? When the title "Dune" is mentioned, everyone remembers Frank Herbert, and "War and Peace" brings Leo Tolstoy to mind. But then, most of us are just your everyday writers and won't likely be anywhere near that famous. Even so, each and every title is important. It needs to be there and it needs to capture the attention of everyone who encounters it.

The author of the book is ideally suited to titling the book, but many of us have difficulty with that task. It shouldn't be that hard though. The title just needs to give you a hint of what is inside the book, not the whole story. The author also needs to be willing to leave the title they've come up with behind when a publisher decides another would be better.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when creating your title. First, keep it simple. A long, wordy title is forgettable and difficult to read. Next, the title should give some kind of description about either the story or the characters. It doesn't need to be detailed, and it shouldn't be. Third, it should capture a reader's attention. Sometimes this is helped by the cover design, but not always. Finally, it needs to be unique. If the title sounds like half a dozen others, it will get lost in the pile. Review current titles online or in your bookstore to see what's common and what's not. Title your book appropriately and it will help get it noticed by friends, family, editors, publishers, and most importantly, readers.

1 comment:

BernardL said...

I agree. The title is very important. I find myself drawn to short titles, even one word titles. I think it stems from being a big Dean Koontz fan.