Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The art of writing the title

Tip of the Day: if you read Meg Cabot's blog, you've probably read this blog entry that she re-posts every year about her experiences on the day of 9/11. If you haven't, you should go read it. It's a great summary of someone's experiences in NYC on that horrible day and how it felt waiting to hear from a loved one working near the World Trade Center. And how it's important to never forget that day and all the people that lost their lives and loved ones.

Okay...moving on to something not as serious...

After trying this attempting-to-be-published thing for a few years now, I've grown to realize just how important a good title is to selling a book.

Not only to the public. But to an agent. And to a publisher. And so on and so forth.

If you have a good title, it helps everything.

You'll get more attention with agents. The interest will build. And everyone will want to read the book.

The writing then sells it. But the title get the interest.

But if you are anything like me, you are horrible at titles. Like really bad. You can come up with decent ones, but nothing that really gets the whole body of the book summarized in a cute, concise way.

So much so that I'm tempted to come up with titles before even starting my books. And until I come up with a good title, I won't even start writing page one.

Has anyone done this? Worked from the title first. I imagine lots of people have. But usually my titles start out as "Ally's book," "untitled," or "that one where something happens." Nothing that's inspiring or relatively likely to remain the title of the book.

And then coming up with a good title after the fact is hard. I usually put down random words and try to start making combinations. There there's lots of internet searching for common phrases that having anything to do with my topic that can be modified in a cute way. And 200 potential titles later, there's still no good options. Nothing that seems to fit exactly with the book in the best way.

And so the process continues.

If you are a master title maker, please share your wisdom with us!


1 comment:

Kate Fall said...

Here's my wisdom: Titles are Hard.

But yes, I totally believe that they sell the book. Of course I believe it, I've read thousands of book blurbs based on the title. I'm dying to read Stephen King's Mile 81. Oooh, what happens when you hit Mile 81? I have to know.

I like your idea of googling phrases about your subject. Mostly we just ask our writer friends. Here's 10 ideas, what resonates most? I'm on my FOURTH title now for my current WIP. And if I think of a better one, I'll drop it in a second.