Book Titles: Headache or Smooth Sailing

Book Titles: Headache or Smooth Sailing

Charles author photo B&WToday’s featured guest blogger is Charles Yallowitz, pressing upon the most concerning topic of title choosing! You can find his blog here.

 First, I’d like to thank Amber Skye Forbes for letting me do a guest blog.  I chose the topic of How You Come Up With Book Titles.  I’ve never written about this topic, which is why it was interesting.

 I come up with a book or series title within the first few minutes of a new idea.  I write it down and that title becomes a physical trigger for that idea.  Just looking at it or thinking about it helps me recall the information behind the story.  This works best with series because when you get to the books in the series, your headache probably begins.

My personal experience is the following:

  1. Make a book title and start writing the book.
  2. Realize that title isn’t clicking and make a new one.
  3. Go back to writing story.
  4. Finish story and realize new title is also bad.
  5. Try original title again.  50/50 that it will work.
  6. Edit your book and change title again.
  7. Get frustrated and put ‘Untitled WIP’ on manuscript for a week.
  8. Make new title and hand off to editors or beta readers.
  9. They give you title suggestions.
  10. Cry in the shower.
  11. Move on to another project to retain some sanity.
  12. The real title will suddenly appear the moment you go back to the book.

That is a little more tongue and cheek, but you get the idea.  A book title will originally be based off the basic premise.  As you write the story that premise will probably change and no longer match the title.  You really need to keep your mind open for that title that just clicks and stays for the entire book.  For example, my second book, Prodigy of Rainbow Tower, was originally called The Gauntlet.  This is because the heroes are going on a quest through multiple traps and dangers.  Lame title, but it hit on the main plot point.  I ran through other titles before I realized that it fit better to title the book after the new character.

This isn’t a bad thing because it happens to every author.  Yes, you will have the rare title that appears at the beginning and stays there.  Beginning of a Hero, my first novel, did just that, which makes it the rarity.  The norm is a title that changes time and time again until you find one that rings true.

I’ll finish on a few tips to help with title creation:

  1. Don’t desperately cling to a title.  If it feels wrong then it’s wrong.
  2. Analyze your story for a focal point for your title.
  3. Characters, plot central items, and places can make good titles.

There is no standard length of a title.  It can be one word to 10 words.  As long as it sounds good and clicks into the story.

Book Cover Design of the Week

Book Cover Design of the Week

Cover art by Jason Pedersen

Not only have I decided to do a weekly book giveaway, but I have also decided to do a ‘best cover design of the week.’ I have chosen the cover art of Charles Yallowitz’s Legends of Windmere ‘Beginning of a Hero.‘ The cover artist is Jason Pedersen.

I want to take the time to appreciate everything this cover does right. For one thing, the illustrations are beautiful. I normally prefer photography over illustrations, but this one is so clear on the main subject, so focused in, that the illustration works perfectly. Plus, this book is high fantasy, and illustrations seem to suit high fantasy more.

I also love the color palette: browns, dark greens, golds, and the shock of red. It gives off very earthen tones that suggest the novel is very much an adventure book. Look at the man’s face too. It’s sinister, filled with some sort of malicious intent. His entire stance, too, suggests action, a fight about to begin. And of course we can’t forget the dog, which we can assume is his companion. This dog looks loyal, ready to fight. In fact, the illustration itself is so action- oriented I can imagine this man flourishing his weapon at whatever threat lies ahead, and the dog ready to leap out and join. The glint on the weapon ties this action feeling in nicely.

I enjoy the text chosen as well. It’s suitable for a fantasy novel. The shades of green used in the title and author name pull the illustration in nicely. I also like that ‘Beginning of a Hero’ is a lighter shade of green to draw attention to it. The black border puts emphasis on everything, further highlighting the earthen tones and making this cover art very catchy. In fact, the cover art is what interested me in the summary of the book in the first place. It’s just so well-done–how can I not want to know more about this book?

Jason Pedersen did an amazing job with this cover, and I hope you guys think so too. It’s always helpful to look at cover designs and analyze what they did right. Anyone going the indie route needs to put serious careful thought and consideration into cover art because it will make or break a book. It is clear Mr. Yallowitz has, and it is clear Mr. Pedersen put as much thought and consideration into accurately reflecting the adventurous theme of this book. I have a copy myself, and while it’s been difficult to find time for reading, I hope to find time to devour it soon