Years ago, while perusing the shelves of my local book store , I came upon this lovely book sitting on a table ---> I hardly ever read memoirs, sticking more to fiction, but that title grabbed me and wouldn't let go. I bought it. I read it. I LOVED it, and I've recommended it to other readers (Yeah, it's a good one--if you like funny true-life adventures, give it a try. Serious. It's that good).
Without that title, the cover would be blah at best--a big sun, a little island, an ocean. Big deal. For me, it was the title that struck me as interesting (maybe I'm a bit of a perv, I don't know). The title is great, it's catchy, and even though the book has very little to do with cannibals or sex (sorry), it was perfect. Had the book been titled differently like, "Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific (the subtitle)" I think I would've bypassed it without even checking out the blurb on the back. This book is an example of how the title was EVERYTHING.
We all know that books need a cool professional looking cover. That's a given. The blurb has even a harder job--draw in that reader and be intriguing without telling them everything. We work hard on those blurbs. But we don't tend to give a lot of emphasis on titles. We should. Oh, we most definitely should, because the title is the reader's first introduction to your book. We want the title to be creative. We want it to be unique (yes, we do, though it seems far TOO many books are out there with the exact same title. Type SECRETS in Amazon and see how many books pop up).
We should want something unique, but it should also have meaning to the book. Nothing vague and weird. Authors and writers are a creative bunch, we should create interesting titles to prove it. Sounds easy, huh? Don't be fooled...because it's not.
So what do we do? How do we go about finding that perfect title for our books? Since I don't have the answers (I'm in the process of naming my current work in progress and it's alluding me), I decided to pass along some helpful links that may be of benefit to you.
The first is a blog post by Rachel Gardner, How to Title Your Book, that you should check out. She gives some sound advice and a few tips that's I've found incredibly helpful. If you haven't heard of her, then you really should check her out. She is well known in the business and provides a lot of sound advice when it comes to publishing.
Karen Woodward's blog, Four Things to Keep In Mind When Choosing a Title For Your Book, provides some excellent advice as well. She also gives tips for brainstorming the perfect title at the bottom of the post.
If you need a break from all the advice on finding a title and could use a good laugh, check out Timothy McSweeney's blog and the guest post by Sarah Walker, How to Title Your Novel. Seriously, it'll give you a good laugh.
There is also a great discussion on the Goodreads boards called The Importance of Titles that gives you insight into what readers think about titles. It's a great thread to check out.
If all else fails, why not try the The Random Book Title Generator. All you have to do is hit the Give Me Some Book Title Options button and poof, six titles will appear. If you don't like any of those, just hit the button again. Who know, right? It's totally worth a shot especially if nothing else seems to be working.
Good luck on your title hunt. Let me know how you go about giving your book a title and what works best for you.
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