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  1. Senko

    Senko Member

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    Who really assigns the Title to a published novel?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Senko, May 31, 2013.

    I wonder this: is the author himself/herself usually allowed to have that right?

    My guess is, like the movie productions, that some other people decide.

    Have you people some comments on that?
    Or, if you have been published, for example a novel, have you decided on the
    title and it has ended without change?
     
  2. Edward M. Grant

    Edward M. Grant Contributing Member

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    The publisher.

    They may well choose to use the author's title, but unless you're Stephen King or Dan Brown or some other mega-bestseller, they get the final say.
     
  3. Thomas Kitchen

    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    What Edward said: for your first couple of novels the publishing company decides, as they know best about marketing and selling (usually). However, once and if you are published a little more than once or twice, then publishers may begin to listen to your input, including book title. Sometimes your first novel's title will remain the same, but it almost always changes, even if only slightly.
     
  4. erebh

    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Those who can do, those who can't teach...
     
  5. Thomas Kitchen

    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    ^What's that supposed to mean, Erebh?^
     
  6. erebh

    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ha, it means, in my head, the name I have for my book is just great - when you said the publisher 'might' listen to me, I had an imaginary argument with my imaginary publisher over the name. Like I said, all in my head...
     
  7. Thomas Kitchen

    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    Haha, that's quite amusing actually. Did it end with the head publisher being fired? :p
     
  8. shadowwalker

    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    From what I've gleaned from published authors, there's no hard and fast rule. A friend of mine has had one title changed; the other five titles remained as she had them. Others have said basically the same thing - unless the title is horrendous or bland, publishers don't tend to mess with them, and author input is included. This is also something that can be included in the contract. Authors - even new ones - are not totally powerless.
     
  9. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i have to think that's somewhat of an exaggeration... do you have stats to back up that claim?
     
  10. erebh

    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    We took the argument to my office, talked it over for two hours and then decided I was right all along. He's ok really, he just needs to remember who's boss.
     
  11. Thomas Kitchen

    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    To be honest, I was only presuming. But I would have thought that the majority of first-time/unpublished writers wouldn't know how to create a good title (including myself), and that publishers would have to guide you before you could manage to create a marketable title of your own. Then again, it may just be me that can't create a good title. :p
     
  12. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I was under the impression that the publishers might, or usually, suggests changes to the title, or suggest potential titles, but that it needs to be approved by the author. Of course, this sort of "approval" is relative - I mean, you're not gonna let a business relationship suffer because the publisher didn't want your title. I can see the author would probably just go with whatever the publisher suggests, assuming it's not horrendous, but I am under the impression that, at least technically, publishers only suggest titles.

    To be fair, if an author really genuinely hates a title so much, I don't think a publisher who's signed with you and put all the money and effort into publishing you would break the contract over it. Likely the publisher would just suggest something else. I assume in the end, it's probably a matter of compromise, with some power struggle in play.
     
  13. Nee

    Nee Contributing Member

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    This is correct. If you have a great title then you have a great title. A great title means something that lends itself to a good marketing plan--something that in some way is pertinent to the times or in of itself is intriguing and invites the reader to take a closer look.
     
  14. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Ordinarily, the author chooses the title, but the publisher has the final saym because the title is a key element of the marketing.

    Submission editors frequently ask the author to change the title. However, I have no idea how often they take the bull by the horns and decide unilaterally on a different title. I'm pretty sure it's a last resort.
     
  15. Senko

    Senko Member

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    Thanks for all your comments.
    I really appreciate that.

    I guess it´s mostly about marketing and sales for the publisher.

    I have never gone through that. In fact, had never written a novel
    or anything close, yet.

    But, having read myself many novels I have the impression that choosing
    the title is in fact someting very important to an author.

    Sometimes, I´d bet that it´s really a decision an author wouldn´t let other
    people to make. Unless, of course, there´s a risk of not being published or..

    Maybe the sacred writing piece of an author, when it comes to publishing, and
    everything related, is not so sacred.
     
  16. shadowwalker

    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    If the author thinks their work is sacred, they aren't ready to publish - most likely, the book isn't either.
     

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