April 19, 2010
As the writer, we are often too close to our work to be the best judge of our own book title. Statistics show that more than 50 percent of the time, the editor and/or marketing personnel in a publishing house will come up with the best "selling" title.
That’s not to say that an editor won’t accept your title, so don’t submit your works as “Untitled by Donna Smith” unless you just really can’t come up with a thing!
Oftentimes a title needs some explanation. A subtitle comes into play in this situation. An example of a subtitle would be “Sixteen Wheels, A Guide to Nashville Highways”.
If the publisher is usually responsible for the final decision on my book title and I am self-publishing, what are some good tips for coming up with a great title?
- Know the genre of your book
- Ask yourself what you want your title to instantly convey. If it doesn’t instantly convey your message, you most likely need a subtitle.
- Find a dozen books on Amazon.com in the same genre as yours and study their titles. What do you like and dislike about them?
- Jot down major characters and words that correlate with their persona.
- Keep the censoring down to a dull roar in this stage. Write down every title or phrase that comes to mind and weed them out later. It could be that one of the phrases has one word that can be extracted and become that perfect title.
- After you have come up with at least a dozen title concepts, put them away for a day or two. Come back with a fresh perspective and take another look.
- Narrow your choices down to three or four possibilities. Solicit the opinion of a few friends/family members who enjoy the genre you are writing in.
- ABOVE ALL, give yourself permission to use a working title—and keep an open mind about the need to reconsider the title upon finishing your masterpiece.
After you take a poll, carefully consider the input and live with the results for a bit longer. Call it a “working title”—and call it a day!