Coming up With the Perfect Title for Your Book is…..Nearly Impossible

Photo Credit: Water for Sixth Grade

See! I promised you guys that I’d get back to some great book posts today. And this is one of those posts that I definitely ask for your input.

Let’s see, there are four parts of a book that can be seen without ever reading a page. The title. The author. The blurb on the back. The cover. I’m sure I’ll be hitting on those other topics at some point, actually I know I will be, but for now let’s just talk about the title. You’ve worked months upon months writing your masterpiece. You finish it! Celebratory glass of wine! Or bottle if that’s what you like. You likely spend a few months getting it out to beta readers and revising and rewriting and then……YOU’RE ALL DONE! Uhhh not quite.

You’ve spent all that time working on the actual story and not particularly worrying about a title, because how hard could it be to come up with the perfect title for the book that you know inside and out. Hard. You come up with a short list of potential titles and realize that they’re all pretty much the same thing. And they all suck. You ask some of your beta readers to offer up some suggestions and you realize that they’ve already spent hours giving you feedback and reading your book. They don’t care.

Now you’re stuck.

Then weeks later after you’ve already battled depression and forced yourself not to think of your book just sitting there in your desk drawer collecting dust, it comes to you. The perfect title! You rename your Word document and jump up in the air. Tears may even be streaming down your face as you run over to whomever it is you run to screaming that your book has a title.

For me, I actually had about half of my story thought out before I ever started writing. I came up with the title before I ever typed a single word. One of the things that I’ve asked some of my readers is whether they had any idea where the title actually came from. Some did, some didn’t.

So tell me how you managed to come up with the perfect title for your book. There have got to be some great stories to be told about this particular topic. So tell me!

Advertisements

46 thoughts on “Coming up With the Perfect Title for Your Book is…..Nearly Impossible

  1. i have titles for books i haven’t started yet that i love. my big project right now has undergone several name changes, partially because the story grew into something else, and partially just because, i suppose. i have often used a “working title” and changed it when i thought of something coolerโ€ฆ usually it just comes though, out of nowhere, naturally, like most things writing.

    Like

  2. That is the hardest part. I like to wait until I’m done. I usually find my book title in the last chapter.

    Like

  3. I toss on a working title. Usually something that makes the folder easy to find on the computer. For After the Burning…my cover artist (and good friend) and I brainstormed the working title. I had always known that the books would have a series title followed by the book title…his idea shortened the book series title from a typical “blah blah of the blah blah SAGA! ™”, and I realized during that bull session that each book in the series would define the lead character at each step of her journey. *poof* all done. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

    • Hmm. I only brainstormed after I was finished. The titles were pretty eh. And when I did basic searches on Amazon and BN I realized that they were also very popular among after authors so it’d be difficult for my work to stand out.

      At least you had someone help you figure it out! I didn’t. Lol

      Like

  4. Blah. I spent YEARS avoiding thinking about a title. When it finally came time to send my manuscript out to a publisher, I was pretty stuck, because I didn’t even have potential titles. The one I came up with was out of desperation, and I didn’t even like it that much. But it’s grown on me, especially now that it’s looking like it’ll stick.

    Like

  5. With titles for short stories and novels I work on feel, sometimes it just feels right. When I’m struggling I try to pick something in the story that grabs me. It’s a tough one though

    Like

    • I actually enjoy when reading a book and you get to the end of a chapter in the middle and there it is, the title. I trued mildly to do that but it didn’t sound like it fit.

      Like

  6. Pingback: Untitled. Whereโ€™s that Title? | I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

    • Thanks for linking to my blog. I like the four different types of titles you described. I think mine would qualify as part of your fourth type. I think.

      Like

      • I think there are more than four types, but those were what I could think of quickly. I may go through titles I’ve read and figure out some other types.

        Like

  7. I always have a title with in the first chapter. I have only finished writing two books, but I have a folder full of different stories I want to write. My first book I got the title from a short story I had written and just recently decided I didn’t like the title and I wanted something better. My second book has no title other than Book 2. It’s sad really. I can’t think of a good title for it. I’m about to start a rewrite of both books and I hope to find the perfect title for both of them and possibly a title for the third book in the series while I am at it.

    Like

    • When I started working on my second book I started thinking of potential titles. I wanted it to be relevant to the story and not just something random I got stuck with. I looked more into my subject and found a nice long list of terms that are important to the subject. I came up with a title after finding that list.

      Good luck with yours!

      Like

  8. Titles are the bane of my existence. No matter how hard I try I never seem to find the perfect one and end up settling because everything else is already done and I just need something so I can publish.
    I’d love to just start naming books after song titles and be done with it but I can never find a song title that fits. Maybe I’ll just start using song titles that have nothing to do with my books and that will be my thing.
    “Love Me Tender” By K. McKinley
    Oh is that a Romance?
    Nope it’s a post apocalyptic zombie book.
    Sorry didn’t mean to come here and rant.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I have the hardest time doing this. All of my work is titled…Untitled 1, Untitled 2…haha!

    Like

  10. Sometimes I’ll pick the title before the idea comes to me and I try to build an idea around the title, but usually the idea comes first, then the title. There’s one instance where I found a photo on a stock photo website that I want to build a story around. Titles are important. You need to find one that will grab the reader’s attention but not be cliche or unoriginal. It’s hard but it can be done. I heard that Stephenie Meyer didn’t have a title for “Twilight” when she first sent her book query to agents. She’d tentatively titled it “Forks”. I would have thought of a more original title before submitting my query but then again, she did a get four-book deal.

    Like

  11. I’m not surprised. You’re not really the demographic, lol.

    Like

    • There should be no demographic for those books. They should be burned. Just kidding. Kinda. No books should be burned. I’d cry. Now I’m way off topic.

      Like

      • My teenage boys have said the same thing and I say to you what I said to them, you can’t judge until you read them. I was a naysayer until I read them. But that being said, I’m not sure how many guys have read them and liked them. LOL on the book burning.

        Like

      • No. I always thought I would just cause, but the first book is like $11 on Amazon. I don’t even pay that for the books I WANT to read. Not happening.

        Like

      • I see them in thrift stores all the time. You can probably get it for $5 or less at Goodwill or there’s always ebay. I bought Twilight at Amazon but I don’t remember I paid.

        Like

      • I can’t. I hate having used books. I’m weird.

        Like

  12. I find that sometimes, the titles usually come in the middle of writing. Sometimes, I have the title before I write. And other times, I have serious doubts whether I’ll come up with a title I like after the book is finished, so it really depends. Once I have a title, though, it’s really, really hard for me to give it up, because it always seems to just fit.

    Like

    • I agree with your point about not wanting to change it once you have something. I tried changing mine once I was finished but couldn’t come up with anything I thought was better.

      Like

  13. Titles for my stories were created in different ways. I’m still not set on all of them yet, but some of my titles were created first–it was something that was in my head and pretty much formed the story, and some of my titles were created after I written the story. In other words, I generally have the title created, which often shapes the story, but sometimes I just pick a stand-in title and come up with the title after I finished the story, like I did with my 2nd story and plan to do with my 3rd story.

    Like

  14. Though I think a title is important if you’re writing The Great American Novel (whatever that is), I generally buy a book because I like the author (Tami Hoag), the synopsis intrigues me (The DaVinci Code) or it is set somewhere that interests me (Elin Hilderbrand). I can’t remember hardly any of the titles of Ms. Clark’s books, or even if I do, I don’t remember what title goes with which story.

    That said, I prefer a title that pops (“Gone with the Wind” was originally titled, “Tomorrow is Another Day”). What a difference!

    If you’re just starting out, I think it’s best to have a punchy title (though Nicholas Sparks’ breakout novel was titled “The Notebook”, so go figure).

    Like

    • I agree. I typically go for the author. And if I’m reading a series I like I don’t look at the title or blurb or anything, I just buy it.

      Huge difference between those two.

      The Notebook isn’t even catchy. Or anything. Just bleh to that. Haha

      Like

  15. Hi John. I too find it really hard to come up with a title – particularly a title that hasn’t been used a million times before. I’m in the process of editing my latest novel which had a title I really liked. I wanted to use it for the finished book but I (sensibly!) looked it up on Amazon and I felt there were too many similar stories with the same title. I take part in a weekly blog hope called ‘WIPpet Wednesday’ where I share an excerpt of my current WIP.
    I’ve found it really helpful and it was through doing that that a couple of them (who live thousands of miles apart!) came up with a slightly different idea for a title which I loved so I’m happy. But it’s definitely not easy.

    Like

  16. That’s the thing about writing: I either come up with the title or the story. They never seem to come at the same time. One of the two is going to take awhile to get. I honestly prefer having to think about the title, instead of the story, if I have to choose. Currently, on the book I’m writing, I’m almost certainly going to change the current title. The thing for writer’s to understand is that readers judge books by their cover. The title is the first thing they’re going to see.

    Like

    • I think trying to come up with both at the same time would be rather difficult.

      And I think writers may think that since they don’t necessarily judge a book by its cover/title that readers are the same way. Nuh uh.

      Like

  17. For me I usually come up with the title for my book as I am writing the story or when I am on the last chapter. My titles usually has to with the conflict within the story.

    Like

  18. Pingback: HarperCollins Could Remove all of its Books From Amazon | Write me a book, John!

  19. Great post. I enjoyed reading all the comments.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s