One of the many troubles writers face is getting a title for their works, be they articles, short stories or books. I have always been faced with such herculean task over the years with articles and short stories. Currently, i am faced with the challenge of titling my first real book!
Did you notice the adjective “real”? Yes! That is because this wouldn’t be the first manuscript i will be sending to the printers for publication. Back in my University days, I did a publication for students. It looked more like a pamphlet, so I don’t like to think of it as a book.
The current prospective book in question would be my third manuscript.
I started my first manuscript and story (a gothic work) in my final year in secondary school and completed it in my second year in the university – about a three year span. But the story/manuscript is yet to be titled.
I started writing my second story (a crime thriller) in my third year in the university and almost three years after graduation, the manuscript is yet to be completed, but the story is, in my head. It is also yet to be titled.
My third manuscript was written and completed back in 2011. It isn’t a story but a …. Hold that thought yet.
I have a serious challenge when it comes to titling my books (?) and reasons are not far-fetched. I consider too many factors and that hinders the title I will eventually settle for.
First, I consider which title best captures my story/work. A zilllion titles may rush into my head, but just before settling for one, another factor sets in.
I then ask “is this title sell-able?”
According to surveys, purchasers of books are drawn by three major factors: The book cover, the title and the author (in no particular order). For indie and fresh authors like me who haven’t made a name for themselves like the Stephen Kings and John Grishams of this world, having a mind-blowing book cover and eye-catching title may get you your first set of fans.
After going through the above two factors, a third factor yet sets in: Is the title appropriate for my reading demography? How about my close friends? Will they approve of it? My parents, what do they think of this? My Pastor?
And the list go on….
You may see the above factors and be like “Arrrghhhhhh, your Pastor too?”
Don’t take that literally.
Better take it literally.
Whatever you settle for, my point is that there are too many things I consider before titling my books (?).
What factors do you/should one consider as a writer before titling your/one’s book/write-up?
4 thoughts on “HOW DO YOU TITLE A BOOK?”
I totally agree with you.
It’s such a fight trying to name my articles.
One time, I used a very catchy phrase and got a lot of traffic to that post.
Sometimes, when I write I have a subject matter that influences a considerable number of well suited titles in mind first then build my writing around it.
Whatever works for the writer though.
I guess one major trick to getting zillions of traffic is using “catchy phrases” as you said. But most times, such phrases may not have any bearing on the post and that would be “unethical” in my opinion. It would be a huge misrepresentation.
Well, I have always found a way of linking my post with the title whenever I use a kind of “misleading” title.
Thanks for dropping by, my Lawyer. Yes, I know you.
And kudos on the great job you are doing on your inspiring blog. I have been there a couple of times.
I am particular about titles and I am glad to see someone else that take the issue seriously. One writer likened the title to the porch of a home; many people will use tha t to decide if they enter or turn back. (I certainly do).
Most of my works start with the title. I have loads of titles I haven’t used . Usually I try to give a title that teases. The more shocking the better. Titles like Naked, Was It Rape?, Heart Of Brass, and Blue Hand Fan , seem to leave you wanting more. (Abi?) Anyway, keep looking for the best title and sometimes a 2nd or 3rd opinion might be just what you need.
Keep up the good work,
@ St9ja. You are so on point with those title suggestions. They sure do catch one’s fancy. A teasing title really does some magic. However, there is an “ethical” and emotional part to it. Sometimes, using “shocking” titles just to get attention/draw traffic gives me restless nights as I would feel guilty of “deceiving” my reader. I would feel I had let not just let my reader down,but also myself. It is that serious.