1. mom42terrificgirls
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    mom42terrificgirls Member

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    What if your title is already taken?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by mom42terrificgirls, Oct 1, 2014.

    A publisher I pitched to suggested I change the title of my novel because the meaning is "too deep." I came up with a new title, but found there is another novel by that name. Are any of your titles the same as one already published? Does it matter? I am rather attached to the original title and it's just one publisher's opinion. Not sure what to do.
     
  2. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Publishers can (and often do) change the titles of the manuscripts they accept for publication.
     
  3. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    There are many books with the same title. I suggest finding another one but titles are not part of the copyright as far as I know or if they are, no one enforces it.

    The problem with duplicate titles is people have a harder time finding your book.
     
  4. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Correct on all counts.
     
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  5. elynne
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    elynne Active Member

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    I really want to title my current fanfic project "Tongues of Serpents," for reasons that make perfect sense with the story, but since I just read the Temeraire book Tongues of Serpents I kinda can't. oh dammit I went and looked at the Wikipedia page to make sure I got the title right and there's been two more published since that one, a;siejqiejrg;oiwjeroiejrtkj
     
  6. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I don't think titles can be copyrighted. So long as the plot and settings are different, you can make a book called Tongues of the Serpents. @GingerCoffee is right, though. It'd be harder to find your book if there were multiple books all with the same title. Especially if the last names are all the same. Better hope your last name isn't 'King' or 'Smith'. :D
     
  7. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    The thing is, even if your title is original, there's nothing stopping someone from naming their book the same after yours.

    No one is using my title currently (except a rock band) but I don't expect that to stay the same for long. So I'm not going to get too hung up about it yet. I do think a catchy title is part of good marketing. I am still thinking about that.
     
  8. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    If titles can't be copyrighted, then wouldn't it be a good marketing move to call your novel The Bible? You could even have a prominent character named Jesus. ;)
     
  9. Gawler
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    Gawler Contributing Member

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    This has never been a problem in the past. Conan Doyle wrote The Lost World about dinosaurs on a plateau in South America. Michael Crichton also wrote a novel called The Lost World which oddly enough was about dinosaurs on an island off the coast of South America.
     
  10. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I'd be very careful about choosing a name for your book that duplicates another book IN THE SAME GENRE. Especially if the other book (s) is fairly recent. However, if you put certain titles into the Amazon search engine, you'll be suprised at how many of them there are.

    I don't think a duplicate name makes finding your book particularly difficult, either. In fact, it might make more people aware of it! Folks who are searching for another book with the same name as yours will be alerted to yours during their search. And that's not far-fetched at all. I've found myself exploring books with similar names, when searching Amazon for a particular title.

    I would just take care not to duplicate directly, if your story is similar to the other. I mean, I would not call my book The Shining, if it was about demonic possession in a deserted hotel in midwinter! However, if your book was a fantasy about a magic egg that only shines when in the presence of its rightful owner, thus leading the people of that world to recognise their true Emperor after years and years in exile, then you could easily get away with that title.
     
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  11. jonahmann
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    jonahmann Active Member

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    Neither titles nor ideas can be copyrighted.
     
  12. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    But I bet Lucasfilms would find a way to successfully stomp on your hopes and dreams were you to name your book "Star Wars". ;-)
     
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  13. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    There must be a million short stories and novels named something like "Into the Heart of Darkness".
     
  14. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I don't think titles have copyrights but if some are already entrenched in the public's mind, I doubt a publisher would use them. They want you to be excited about this work. Not distracted.

    I agree with Jannert on the idea of not picking a duplicate title in the same genre. But if you're smart you can ride the coattails of a bestseller in your genre by picking something that sounds like it.

    The only thing worse than a duplicated title - is a book with two titles!
    I remember a while back I was collecting early J.G. Ballard sci-fi and I came across two novels - The Burning World and The Drought. Ballard loved doing end of the world scenarios so I thought cool, a book about a fire plagued world and a drought-stricken world. I got them home and discovered they were the same book - the drought! I felt a little cheated, not out of my 2.95 but rather the vision of a story ( the fire-plagued world ) that never was.
     
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  15. mom42terrificgirls
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    mom42terrificgirls Member

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    Thanks, everyone, for your thoughts on this.
     
  16. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is precisely why I don't title my manuscripts. I'm not that invested into anything other than my story. I might get a bit iffy with a publisher who wants to change too much in my manuscript, like themes or a message (i'm cool with constructive criticism of my writing though) but I wouldn't make an issue out of the title they propose, unless it is a pretty naff title and I hated it. Also, I don't think titles can be copyrighted, and there are many books out there with the same name. The only issue might be if you are riding on the success of another novel, giving your novel the same or very similar title hoping to get some sales through that.
     
  17. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I title my manuscripts with the understanding it isn't the final version.

    You're right, if I named my story Philosopher's Stone, then people would automatically think Harry Potter even if my story was about a completely different stone set in a completely different setting. But then again, since names in your drafts aren't final, you could always make up some stupidly insane title. :D Like The title that's totally not a rip-off of Harry Potter! Wooo!
     
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  18. mom42terrificgirls
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    mom42terrificgirls Member

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    I should have made myself more clear. I was in a hurry when I asked this question so I apologize. I will probably self-publish and the publisher I pitched to doesn't publish my genre. It was sort of a practice pitch at one of his workshops. Again, sorry for the misunderstanding.
     
  19. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Then maybe we can help you when you get to the stage of making your book cover? Put your title on it (you can have several versions) and post here to get some feedback.
     
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  20. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    If you really, really want to keep the title, then keep it. Just make sure that everytime you talk about it, you say "*title of your book* by *your name*"

    Besides, when they do the film version it will be followed by the year 2015 (or whenever it goes into production) so people will know it's your version ... :-D
     
  21. mom42terrificgirls
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    mom42terrificgirls Member

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    Thanks, Jazzabel. Three more chapters and then will start the editing process. :eek:
     
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  22. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    mom42terrificgirls likes this.
  23. Lilly James Haro
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    Lilly James Haro The Grey Warden

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    I think so long as it is not a very famous or iconic name it should be fine.
    For example, I wouldn't name my novel Pride and Prejudice or The Hunger Games because they are so well known but other than that it should be fine.
     

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