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.