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How Important is the Title?

ceejezoid

first registered 10.04.12

last online 4 hours ago

I'm sure this has been discussed before, but...how important, really, is the title of your book?

I ask because the more research I do, and the more changes I make, the less appropriate my title feels. I remember in high school studying Pat Barker's Regeneration, and the thematic importance of the the title, but then something like Twilight doesn't really have the same importance attached to it.

So, is it important? Or is it just a way to find a book in the Amazon listings?


Posted: 08/08/2012 22:59:49

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AudreyB

first registered 22.08.11

last online 18 days ago

I've been trying to come up with an answer, but realize I have the same question as you.

Posted: 08/08/2012 23:15:06

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El Womble

first registered 14.04.11

last online 522 days ago

It's the most important thing! Literally nothing comes before the title. I've spent 5 years honing mine, it's almost perfect and once I've nailed it I'm definitely going to start on the author's dedication, followed by the introduction and I plan to be onto chapter 1 by 2025.

Or, open a dictionary at a random page and pick the first multi-syllabic word you see with a 'g' in it.

(Pick one.)

There are some titles that are wonderful, I always loved "England, my England" (the title was all I loved). "Of Mice and Men" is obviously great. "I Shall Wear Midnight" is wonderfully descriptive.

It's pretty hard to beat "The Wind in the Willows" — almost makes me cry to say it out loud.

"Immortality" means nothing until you read it, ditto "Wuthering Heights". "Crime and Punishment" gives away the ending.

Oh, and there's a big hoohah about "Finnegans Wake" which makes me (sic).


Posted: 09/08/2012 02:12:38

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Emma.L.H.

first registered 21.01.12

last online 20 hours ago

A few people on here have said that my title doesn't fit my book because it sounds too pretty and my book's a bit dark. Yet others have said it's a good title, so...? Confused

I like it, anyway, so I ain't changing it! As for your book, it's obviously your choice. Do what feels right.


Posted: 09/08/2012 02:32:27

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Jenny-B

first registered 19.06.10

last online 1 day ago

Chances are, if you get a publishing contract, they will change the title anyway - to something the marketing team comes up with. So unless you are planning to Indie Publish, I wouldn't stress about it right now.

Posted: 09/08/2012 02:34:29

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Kate M.

first registered 21.02.12

last online 127 days ago

Chances are, if you get a publishing contract, they will change the title anyway - to something the marketing team comes up with. So unless you are planning to Indie Publish, I wouldn't stress about it right now. <nolink>close quotes</nolink>

+1

(sigh)

Posted: 09/08/2012 03:01:34

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liberscriptus

first registered 09.02.12

last online 309 days ago

Chances are, if you get a publishing contract, they will change the title anyway - to something the marketing team comes up with. So unless you are planning to Indie Publish, I wouldn't stress about it right now. <nolink>close quotes</nolink>

Exactly! And they probably have a better idea for a title than you do anyway haha. How many people would have read a book called Men Who Hate Women? The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, however, sounds awesome.

@Kate I'm still envious of your awesome title. I'm so curious to see what they're going to change mine to!

Posted: 09/08/2012 05:34:46

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Carla René

first registered 11.08.10

last online 588 days ago

Think of it this way: The title MUST deliver on a promise. If folks are saying your title doesn't match your book, then they're probably right--it's not delivering on the promise it's set up for your book. Any film, or book or mime troupe or TV show or cartoon strip that doesn't deliver on that promise risks losing its audience altogether.

For instance, if I go see a movie called, "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure," I expect, if nothing else, to see an excellent adventure.

John Vorhaus has an excellent exercise in his book "The Comic Toolbox, How to be funny even if you're not" about brainstorming for titles.

Just come up with some random titles, and practice asking yourself what sort of promise these titles imply.

Out of Her League for instance, might suggest a long-suffering, sympathetic female lead who has trouble coping with the challenges of work and family and a 1975 Dodge Dart that stubbornly refuses to start.

A Most Devout Coward is the title to my comedy novel about a devout Atheist who suffers OCD and social anxiety, witnesses a mob hit in a Manhattan Diner and now must enter witness protection and become a Priest. And I must say, I'm extremely proud of that title.

My titles usually come to me during writing or before, and then I develop the premise around the titles, but you can reverse engineer it and lay out your premise for your novel and then list the predominant elements of that premise. Once you do that, then brainstorm and write down every single idea you come up with for a title. Remember that with the Rule of Nines, nine out of the ten answers you come up with will be complete and utter shite, but there will be one golden nugget that will resonate with you. And if not, then keep making lists of tens of names until one does hit you. Don't try to make it funny or dramatic or TRY to do anything to it. Simply allow your mind to wander and write down what comes. Don't try to edit your choices, just let them rip, no matter how stupid and ridiculous they are. You'll know it when you find it.


Posted: 09/08/2012 07:38:25
Last Edit: 09/08/2012 07:45:14 by Carla René

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Milorossi

first registered 29.10.11

last online 2 hours ago

VERY, very important.
I buoght (ages ago) A Confederacy of dunces. Based on the title alone.
HAd no idea about the author,etc..


Posted: 09/08/2012 07:50:16

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moonmanmad

retired user

Think of it this way: The title MUST deliver on a promise. If folks are saying your title doesn't match your book, then they're probably right--it's not delivering on the promise it's set up for your book. Any film, or book or mime troupe or TV show or cartoon strip that doesn't deliver on that promise risks losing its audience altogether.

For instance, if I go see a movie called, "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure," I expect, if nothing else, to see an excellent adventure.

John Vorhaus has an excellent exercise in his book "The Comic Toolbox, How to be funny even if you're not" about brainstorming for titles.

Just come up with some random titles, and practice asking yourself what sort of promise these titles imply.

Out of Her League for instance, might suggest a long-suffering, sympathetic female lead who has trouble coping with the challenges of work and family and a 1975 Dodge Dart that stubbornly refuses to start.

A Most Devout Coward is the title to my comedy novel about a devout Atheist who suffers OCD and social anxiety, witnesses a mob hit in a Manhattan Diner and now must enter witness protection and become a Priest. And I must say, I'm extremely proud of that title.

My titles usually come to me during writing or before, and then I develop the premise around the titles, but you can reverse engineer it and lay out your premise for your novel and then list the predominant elements of that premise. Once you do that, then brainstorm and write down every single idea you come up with for a title. Remember that with the Rule of Nines, nine out of the ten answers you come up with will be complete and utter shite, but there will be one golden nugget that will resonate with you. And if not, then keep making lists of tens of names until one does hit you. Don't try to make it funny or dramatic or TRY to do anything to it. Simply allow your mind to wander and write down what comes. Don't try to edit your choices, just let them rip, no matter how stupid and ridiculous they are. You'll know it when you find it. <nolink>close quotes</nolink>

^ Best advice for choosing a title I've ever read.

Posted: 09/08/2012 08:04:44

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