1. nygiants_0000
    Offline

    nygiants_0000 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2009
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0

    My book title is not in English.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by nygiants_0000, Nov 30, 2011.

    I am currently nearing the end of the first draft of my first novel. Nearing completion has raised some fresh concerns with me surrounding my novel’s title. I am going to name it based on an important word in a language I made up for all extends and purposes for the novel–don’t want to go into it in detail. The word has significance to the novel, and I’ve come to love it. But my only concern is that it’s not in English, it’s not easily pronounceable and even has an umlaut in it. Is such a title unworkable? Would it even be a turnoff for agents?

    Thanks team.
     
  2. Steerpike
    Online

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,122
    Likes Received:
    5,321
    Location:
    California, US
    The fact that it is hard to pronounce, and the fact that it is not a real word, may have negative impact with agents. I suspect many of them would be willing to look past it and give the work a read, but may suggest changing it before submitting to a publisher. If the name is really that unwieldy, you can expect the publisher to change it as a condition of taking the work on. You could always turn down the publishing contract in indignation, but the reality is as a new author you may have little control over the final title of the work, particularly if you're coming in with a title that the publisher thinks is unworkable.
     
  3. Cacian
    Offline

    Cacian Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2011
    Messages:
    1,907
    Likes Received:
    5
    I would not worry about the pronunciation as such.
    If it is a proper name then you might get away with it.
    Is just the one word or are there more to it?
     
  4. minstrel
    Online

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,726
    Likes Received:
    4,821
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    I would definitely worry about pronunciation. How can word of mouth spread about your book if nobody can pronounce its title? I always hate it when people title their works with unpronounceable words. I've seen established writers do it, but even then it annoys me.

    I highly recommend finding a title that's easy to spell and pronounce, and invites a reader in. A title in a language nobody has ever heard of will probably scare a lot of readers away.
     
  5. lostinwebspace
    Offline

    lostinwebspace Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2011
    Messages:
    466
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    Canada
    I think the key is pronunciation rather than if the word doesn't exist. RoboCop, Amityville Horror, Robopocalypse, Tron, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban are all book or movie titles, and those got gobbled up. I'm betting only a small percentage knew what a matrix was before that movie came out, so that word was probably unfamiliar, too. The deal with these is that they're either portmanteaus of very common words or they're short. So you could get away with calling your book The Kak of John, but not Bramzakoliterolocorz. If a word doesn't exist, you might get away with it, but if it's unpronounceable or people can't pronounce it at a glance, that will definitely turn people off.

    Either way, it's a risk. If people see a weird name for a book, unpronounceable, long...it reflects what's in the book. So they might assume some of the words in the book are as unwieldy as the word in the title, and who wants to slog through that? I read a book that used "the phfintmajka" (sp?) a lot, but thankfully it started about a hundred pages in and it was the tenth or eleventh book in the series, so I was already invested. Still, the first few times I saw it, I literally pronounced it "the blahblahblah" for the first ten or fifteen times.
     
  6. Manic Writer
    Offline

    Manic Writer Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2010
    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Hayling Island, England
    Don't even think about the title until you have completed your final draft.
     
  7. AmsterdamAssassin
    Offline

    AmsterdamAssassin Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2011
    Messages:
    333
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    Depends on whether you want to self-publish or not. If you plan to approach a publisher, they'll most likely change the title if they think it will hurt the sales. If you self-publish, you'll have to figure out for yourself if you want a title that's difficult to pronounce for Americans [I wouldn't have a problem with pronouncing foreign words with umlauts in them, but I'm not American].
     
  8. nygiants_0000
    Offline

    nygiants_0000 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2009
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the replies. I don't think the pronounciation is as tough as I first made out. It's properly on par with 'Ivanhoe', which I have seen some people make a real hash of by emphasising the last e. I actually love the look of the word and think it's eye catching, but I guess most people would see it and think of it as a foreign language text.

    Manic Writer's right though; I'm getting ahead of myself and should be focusing on the draft instead of the title.
     
  9. VM80
    Offline

    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2010
    Messages:
    1,211
    Likes Received:
    43
    Location:
    UK
    Hard to tell, not knowing the word. But I think it can work. Not all titles (books) are English, after all - and then in translation
    there are plenty of examples where they do keep the title intact.

    Made-up language? Again, it could work.
     
  10. thewordsmith
    Offline

    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2009
    Messages:
    874
    Likes Received:
    124
    Location:
    State of Confusion
    Yeh. A book with a made up word for the title would never sell ... Like Aragon?
     
  11. iamnotaweed
    Offline

    iamnotaweed New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2011
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    1
    I'd have to agree with minstrel... I wouldn't want to recommend a book to someone if I sounded silly saying the title... although, if I really liked the book I could just recommend it by author.

    Good luck and congrats on almost completing your first novel!
     

Share This Page