The Name of the Game… er… Novel

2010
03.26

How many of you have ever browsed through a book store and picked up a book just because of its name? Come on, be honest! I’ll be the first to admit that I have, so now that the ice is broken, free yourself and admit it.

Similar to picking up a book based on a super awesome cover, as Natalie Whipple discussed, people will (whether you like it or not) pick up a book because of a catchy title. That may not be the only reason people pick up books, but it surely is one of them.

So what should you name your novel? Whatever you want. Chances are the publisher will change it anyway. That is not to say that you shouldn’t give it a title, though. In fact, if you already have a great title, you have a chance of keeping it, but don’t be upset if it gets changed.

Additionally, a great title might make a slush reader give it a solid look. If readers are picking up books based on titles, you can bet that good title will stand out in a slush pile as well. Here are some random examples of groovy titles that I made up on the fly:

The Untimely Divorce of Josephine Williams

Beyond Death’s Grasp

On the Fringe of Existence

Beneath His Feet

The Shaman of South Central

In History We Trust

Don’t some of these just grab you by the brain stem, forcing your hungry eyes to take in more? I hope so, otherwise this post turned out to be lame.

So how do you come up with a great title? I can’t help you there. 🙁  My method isn’t really a method: I think, then it happens. Almost instantly. If it doesn’t happen instantly, I put it on the “back burner” in my head, and a week later it will just pop in. I wish I could tell you more, but there’s nothing more to tell.

So, if the title of your current manuscript is, “Work in Progress,” I challenge you to come up with something great. You would be surprised how a good title will inspire you to keep writing.

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4 Responses to “The Name of the Game… er… Novel”

  1. I love titles that gain deeper meaning, or change in meaning, as you work through the book. I know whatever I pick is likely to be thrown out by the publisher, but that doesn’t stop me from trying to pick a title that develops with the story.

  2. J. Michael Fontes says:

    “Life in 6 Minutes” . What do you think of that one? I could pen it under the name Alex D. Devry

  3. Myrna says:

    I do pick up books because of their titles. The only other factor more likely to influence my reading choices is whether or not I already like the author.

  4. C. Michael Fontes says:

    Indeed! A fond previous read always helps my decisions as well.

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