Publishing · Uncategorized · Writing

How Important Are Titles? Round Robin Post

This week it’s all about titles in the Round Robin conversation! The question posed is this: “How important is a title? What attracts you to a certain title, and how do you determine what to title your book? ”

Now, if I was a marking guru, which I’m not, I would say the title was absolutely important. That and the cover are what buyers are going to see first, right? It needs to attract them enough to get them to pick up the novel and read the back blurb or the first few pages.

When I’m walking through the bookstore and glancing over the titles, I honestly don’t have anything in mind when I’m looking. I’ll read anything and everything under the sun, so it’s a little hard to categorize what I’m hunting for in a book or a title. It really depends on my mood or the season or whatever I happen to be writing at that time.

It’s a lot easier to write Fantasy novels when your brain is already set to “Fantasy” by what you’re consuming. Now, I do have to be careful there because I don’t want MY fantasy novel to start showing traits of the novel I’m reading and all that. So I pick a different sub-genre in the fantasy realm to try and keep things separate.

How do I determine the title of my books?

That’s … a painful process, actually.

Persona was known as “The WWII novel” for many years. I actually had to brainstorm with another author on Google+ to get to that one.

Tapped was easier because I just stole the name of the super soldiers (Yes, I used super soldiers) in that book. I have been tempted to change the name to “Grey Men” from time to time but … that’s marketing strategy and I’m still sort of blundering my way through it.

For those unaware … I’m awful at marketing.

Sedition was called The Ebony Blade at first. And then just Kiavana, the name of the region where much of the book takes place. But after several drafts and a lot of moaning and groaning, I looked at what the book itself was about and came up with the vein of sedition that really pulses through the whole novel.

Generally speaking, I don’t come up with a final title until after the third or fourth draft. By then I have a better handle of what the book is showing about humanity or what adventures I’m promising the reader if they purchase it. But it is really a pain in the rear-end.

Ahem. I’m having the censor myself because my eight-year-old giggles if I use other words at the end of that sentence.

ANYWAY … I find titles and blurbs and the synopsis a pain. I suppose if I didn’t and I actually enjoyed that work, I’d be much better at it and my novels would see more success. Maybe I’ll make that part of my New Years Resolutions for 2017 – “Learn to love titles and blurbs!”

Check out what some of my fellow authors think about titles in general and their own processes for finding the perfect title for their own work.

Marci Baun
A.J. Maguire (YOU ARE HERE)
Victoria Chatham
Skye Taylor
Judith Copek
Helena Fairfax
Heather Haven
Dr. Bob Rich
Connie Vines
Margaret Fieland
Rachael Kosinski
Rhobin Courtright


9 thoughts on “How Important Are Titles? Round Robin Post

  1. Titles would be easier for all of us if we were marketing gurus, but we’re writers … Writing the story is hard work, but it’s the fun part, and the rest is just work. Especially the synopsis, the tag line, the title and the blurb.

  2. You’re not alone when it comes to the pain of deciding on a title. My current WIP is tentatively titled “Red Dawn.” It won’t remain that way, but that’s where it’s at.

    I’m like you when it comes to browsing for a book. I’m not really sure what I’m looking for in a title until I see it, unless it’s seasonal. I love holiday themed romances.

  3. Oh A.J. I understand the angst and I do know (some) about marketing. However to market successfully you have to do demographic studies and statistics, which most authors can’t afford. Which is why companies spend thousands on a product title. I think most authors go by intuitive gut feelings with a little product analysis…

  4. AJ, I too often don’t find a title that sticks until I get to the latest draft. Maybe because, by then, you understand your story more? I also liked your rule of not reading exactly what you write. I was writing a trilogy based on Greek mythology when my younger sister and mom were reading Rick Riordan’s various books. They kept begging me to read them and I had to answer “Absolutely not!” because I didn’t want to read them and go, “Ooooh, what a wonderful idea!” And then not be able to use it or be writing and go, “Wait, isn’t this incredibly similar to…?” 🙂

  5. I hear you about marketing AJ. I am not good at it all and keep saying I will get to it – when I finish the next book.

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