Thursday, August 01, 2013

Worst Part about Picking Titles

As an author, I was fortunate—I believe—to keep the manuscript titles I presented to Bethany House Publishers for my current Books of the Infinite series. All three titles, Prophet, Judge, and King, passed muster and have appeared on the final printed copies. Hurrah! Alas, my current work hasn't been as easy to name. In fact, it’s been tough. I’m still trying to decide if my current title-pick is right. I’m suffering from Title Trauma, and that's as chilling as my fave Exit Glacier pictured above. Why? Like most authors, I’m fretful about naming my books. Much like naming a baby, naming a manuscript is (potentially) a lifetime commitment that summarizes your labor in a few short words. And choosing the perfect title, like choosing the perfect baby name, can be stressful. Titles are the book’s intro—a hook to lure publishers toward your work and, ultimately, a tool to pique reader interest. Authors who create a short, catchy title that’s unique and appropriate to the book’s content can usually rest assured that their work will carry and keep its unique name throughout the publication process. Some titles, however, are changed during the publishing process because they’re considered unmarketable. Too long, too similar to another title, or just plain wrong, as proclaimed at BookRiot. Which leads us to an author’s worst-case title scenario, once potentially faced by F. Scott Fitzgerald. What if the publisher had accepted The Great Gatsby under its original title—Trimalchio in West Egg!? Yep. One wrong word-choice, and I could join the Awful Original Titles list. Revised from a previously post at: A Book Lover's Library

7 comments:

Laura Pol said...

Wow definitely glad that "The Great Gatsby" is called "The Great Gatsby"! It's original title is...weird (to say the least)! Don't worry though the perfect title will come to you! :)

RJLarsonbooks said...

True, Laura! For both the Great Gatsby, and my potential future work. :D

Cecelia said...

Yep, it's pretty hard to pick a great title for a book! My sister suggested that I think about the book and jot down certain words that described the novel - she said that was a neat way to come up with a title. Might take a bit of time, but, if I think about it long enough, I should come up with a good (not necessarily great) title! Neat blog post!
Cecelia Dowdy
http://ceceliadowdy.com/blog/

Angela said...

Have a contest let us help u with title, say whoever wins could get a free copy of the book. Like I d say ice breaker . Just a thought. I loved you 3 books I just finished. Thank u for writing them. God bless u!

RJLarsonbooks said...

Thanks, Cecelia!
Did you come up with that perfect title? I'm still undecided over here. Your sister's idea is great!

RJLarsonbooks said...

Angela, that's an awesome idea--a definite possibility.
I'm so glad you enjoyed the Infinite series--I had a great time writing them for you! :D

DC said...

Yup. Just finished The Infinite series. Loved them. Thanks for the fun amongst the trials. Definitely a winning balance! God bless.