Blogger: Rachel Kent
During some conference appointments, I’ve heard authors say that they didn’t work very hard on their title because they’ve heard that the publishing house will change it anyway. It is true that the title is frequently changed by the publisher, but there’s good reason to put some effort into the title even when you’re trying to find representation or a publishing home for your book.
When I read query letters, one of the first items that jumps off the page for me is the title of the book. I don’t stop reading the query at the title, but a poor title might sway me to feel negatively about a project even when the book is great. The most common issue I see is titles that don’t match the genre of the writing. Other times authors will just use the main character’s name as a title. Rarely are books published with a name as the title, so it’s best to try to think of something more creative that has to do with the plot.
Even though a title might not be used on the final product, it still gives the publishing house an idea of what kind of title you’d like to see on your cover, and it can start the brainstorming off in the right direction. For example, the original title on Sarah Sundin’s book A Distant Melody was Better than Sacrifice. Both of these titles are three word titles with a similar rhythm. Her title idea of Better than Sacrifice set the title “tone” for all of her following books as well. We just brainstormed the title for her next book and it has a title that fits with the rest, too. She’ll be revealing the new title on social media soon, so be sure to follow her! 🙂
Kathleen Long Bostrom’s next book is going to have the title she proposed for it because she worked hard on finding a great title when she turned in her manuscript. You can check out Will You Be Friends With Me? here.
I’ll put a little disclaimer in here. Some books do very well with just a first name as the title. For example, Christy by Catherine Marshall. There’s no hard and fast rule to find the right title, but it’s a great idea to put some thought into the title instead of throwing one on the book with hopes that the publishing house will find the title for you. Your work on the title will be a great starting place for the titling committee when they meet to discuss your book.
What tools do you use to come up with your title?
How do you start your title brainstorm?