Saturday, 19 September 2015

The importance of titles

I saw a new book being advertised on Facebook, a while ago now. It was being advertised by a large independent publisher, but offered no links apart from to the publisher's website. I opened Goodreads and searched for the book...

Oh dear. It was not the only book with that title. In fact, after three pages I gave up - I hadn't found the book. I imagine there were even more books with the same title - or close enough to it - if I'd carried on searching.

(Yes, I know I could - should - have searched for the author, but by the time I got to Goodreads I'd forgotten both the author and the publisher!)

Surely the point of a book is to stand out. Yes, it might be a great title but if at least 60 other books have the same title - across many different genres - then it's not the best title for your book.

When I come up with a title, I search for it before I write it down (because as soon as I write it down, it becomes a fixed point in time). Even now, after one, two and three years, if you search for them on Goodreads, they are the only books with those titles. And yes, if there had been others with the same title, I would have changed them, no matter how much I loved them. Because I want people to hear my titles and immediately think of me - not wonder, "which one is it...?"


What random thoughts are occupying you on this fine Saturday?



24 comments:

  1. Great thoughts indeed, greetings to you!

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  2. Very true, Annalisa. I did a search for my book title and though there were a few books with the same title, I still used it. After publishing, even more books popped up with a similar title. Now I fear that my book might disappear in a sea of similar titles. Though, mine is the only one called The Amaranthine. The others are just Amaranthine.

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    1. That slight difference might be enough, Murees :-)

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  3. I usually look on Amazon first to see if there's a title like mine. Other thoughts on a Saturday morning - just getting going here on a gray day. Wonder if it will rain? Wonder what I'll eat today? Shall I go to a movie? Wish I could give far deeper random thoughts, but it's the weekend and I'm just glad to not be working. Enjoy your thoughts.........

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    1. You don't need deep thoughts at the weekend - that's what week days are for. I'm always thinking about what to eat!

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  4. For my part, I dislike long titles that are kind of vague. I have trouble remembering them, they don't really stand out, and if I do want to recommend the book to someone, I can't. All the Truth That's in Me is one like that. Even to mention it in this post, I had to go look it up by the author.

    Short and snappy is better, I think.

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    1. I agree long titles can be difficult. I'm thinking particularly of the Ukranian Tractor book, and I purposely haven't looked it up to check the actual title just to prove your point :-)

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  5. The thing on my mind is the recent expose about how few books are actually selling. It's making me pretty nervous about my upcoming release. Hopefully, my title is unique enough to make it easier to find.

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    1. There's stats on book sales all the time, but people still read. You just have to reach out to the right people. I'm sure you'll be fine :-)

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  6. Titles are so important - they are the essence of the story - you are so right.
    Fil
    Fil’s Place - Old songs and Memories

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    1. The essence of fiction and poetry and song, Fil :-)

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  7. I cringe at some of my old working titles, both for books planned and written. They were so corny, cliché, generic, after school special-worthy, insipid, dull, devoid of personality. I strongly dislike the modern trend of one-word titles. Some books are perfect with a strong one-word title, but many others are just so overused and don't tell us much about the story.

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    1. I can't start writing until I have a title fixed in my head. So, there are no working titles for me. I agree that one word titles are missing a trick to lure the reader.

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  8. Researching first is excellent advice, Annalisa - I don't know how authors can write to a 'working title' - like you say, once it's titles, that's it.

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    1. Thanks Liz. I also wanted an excuse to use the phrase 'fixed point in time' :-)

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  9. I do the exact same thing. Now if only I could think of a title for my current WIP and the series it's a part of. It can be tough!

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    1. Good luck finding the right titles. They are hard, but when you find it, it's so obvious!

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  10. Hi Annalisa - it is so important - I know I flummox myself with my blog posts - because I don't want to be too out there .. but now I rather wish I'd opened myself up a bit.

    That was a silly mistake to make wasn't ... I too have searched for things and struggled to find them .. or similar names ...

    Lots to think about .. cheers Hilary

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    1. Post titles are so important - in a blog feed, I automatically go for the interesting sounding ones first. Always yours, Hilary, always yours... :-)

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  11. So you know I'm publishing REVIVAL - The Donald Braswell Story in about seven weeks, right :)

    Guess how much coffee I recently spewed when I picked up the computer and read the name of Stephen King's latest novel :)

    Now, you've taught me a good lesson... I have to make sure to remind people to add Donald's name when they go looking after Nov. 3 ;)

    Cheers:)

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    1. Now that's really unfair. But I guess you can't do much about books that come after yours.

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  12. I don't publis,h but I do read, and so often I'm sure I miss out on a good book because the title doesn't draw me in.

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    1. Exactly. I often just browse shelves, the title draws me in first, the cover design is a close second.

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Please comment - I love a good chat!