1. Christopher Snape.

    Christopher Snape. Member

    Jul 28, 2012
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    South Australia.

    Coming up with a book title.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Christopher Snape., Dec 30, 2014.

    As of yet, I've been unable to brainstorm a name adequately encapsulating my whole plot. This is despite me working on the title for a year and having over 50,000 words.

    How have other users gone about naming their books? Do you 'title drop'; i.e. name it after a quote a specific character says at one point? Do you reference a plot device in the narrative a la "The Golden Compass"?

    Also, if your story is part of an overarching series, how have you named said series in order to summarise each book?
  2. SwampDog

    SwampDog Senior Member

    Mar 5, 2013
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    Back in Blighty
    My current work is simply one word covering the theme of the novel. But so many are named directly after the character (animal or human) e.g. Moby Dick, Hunter, Jane Eyre. Others relate to settings e.g. Treasure Island, Wuthering Heights. Then there's themes - Blood and Justice, 1984, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists.

    If you were to trawl online - Amazon, say - and compare book titles to the published synopsis, you're sure to find a range of ideas.
    Christopher Snape. likes this.
  3. Chinspinner

    Chinspinner Contributor Contributor

    Oct 15, 2011
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    London, now Auckland
    It was Title drop for me. At the beginning my protagonist says words to the effect of "I always thought I was too young to write my autobiography..." He then goes onto something quite mind-numbingly tedious, but the title just jumped out at me "My Autobiography".
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  4. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Contributor Contributor

    Nov 30, 2006
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    Ohio, USA
    The title of a book can be very important, that is for sure. It's one of the items that can catch a reader's attention.

    I normally use a working title for novels and stories, but sometimes I get the title right off (even though it's a working title) and it does help me keep focused, especially with a short story.

    You don't necessarily need to encapsulate the entire plot. It can be a line or phrase from within the novel. It can be a place or an action. There are so many options.

    While you do want a title that will catch a potential reader's attention (including agents and/or editors--if you're going the 'traditional route' instead of self-publishing) remember that a publisher may come up with a better title. Remember, a title is part of the 'advertising package' for a novel, or a series.

    If you're writing a series, you might consider having similar or similarly structured titles. Also, you'd need a name for the series itself.

    The best thing to do is to go to the library, bookstore, or online and check out what other authors/publishers have used. It should give you ideas. Also, take a look at the list of books that you've read and enjoyed. Note the relationship of the title (how it ties to the novel) with the storyline and characters.

    Also, if you have beta readers, they may be able to provide insight or ideas.

    With my fantasy series, the title of the first novel didn't happen until it 2/3 of the way finished. The two sequels, I knew the titles right off, as they were what the story centered on. With my SF novel, the first in the series, I knew right off as well. Maybe just luck, but also they give some of the essence of the storyline.

    With the title for the series? That didn't happen until I'd found a publisher, and the publisher helped me with that. Mostly I'd send a few ideas, the managing editor would counter...and we narrowed to what was believed was best.

    The titles and name of a series is a form of advertising and branding, so you're right in that it's important to consider and try to get right.

    Of course, my method and my experience will vary as much as methods of writing does between authors. Your title, may not come to fruition until the novel is in it's 2nd or third editing pass.

    Good luck as you move forward.
    Christopher Snape. likes this.
  5. BayView

    BayView Contributor Contributor

    Sep 6, 2014
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    If you're planning to trade publish, don't spend TOO much time worrying about a title - it'll probably change, anyway!

    Well, that depends how big the publisher is, probably. Most of my books with small publishers stuck with the titles I gave them, although some were changed. But my books with Penguin got a different name when I sent them to my agent (she didn't like the original, we brainstormed, found a few we both liked, she got the other agents at her firm to vote on which one was best) and then was changed AGAIN at the publisher (not because there was anything wrong with the one we'd chosen, but it was too similar to another book they were going to be releasing at about the same time).

    Titles are about marketing. Accurately reflecting the book is only one aspect of that - so try to find a good title, but don't crazy about it.

    If you're self-publishing, that's a different story, obviously. Even there, though, I'd say you should approach it from the perspective of the marketplace rather than the perspective of the author.
    Christopher Snape. likes this.

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