Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What's In A Name? We Shall Soon Find Out

In Shakespeare's play, Romeo and Juliet, Juliet says "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." In the scene, Juliet is telling Romeo not to be hung up on names.  That may be true if you're a Capulet who has fallen in love with a Montague.  However, in titling your book, the name you choose can waylay your good efforts before they have a chance to get any recognition.  I'm not saying your title is the key to your book's success.  But just like professional looking artwork, and a snappy book blurb, your title is an important tool in getting your book sampled.  Titles may not matter to some people, but unless you already have a large following, your title is an important marketing tool.

I'm saying this now because after much haranguing over title ideas, my good friend and publisher (Chris Meeks of White Whisker Books) and I have settled on a title for my latest book.  I think it's a good title.  I think it's a very good title.  I'd come up with it over a year ago, but not for this book.  I had been sitting on it to use in my Hollyweird series.  I'm not great at coming up with titles, so when I do come up with a good one, I save it, even if I don't have a work to go with it just yet.

I don't think very many indie authors spend enough time on titling their works.  I see many new books with the same title as three or four other books--some in the same genre.  To me, this is a no-no. Unless your book is part of an ongoing series, I think it should have a unique title.  If you're not sure if your title is unique, just type your prospective title into Amazon.  If you see it's already been used, and used in the past few years, I think you should move on. I didn't know this back when I wrote Never Slow Dance With A Zombie.  I was new to the game, but I knew I wanted a fun, interesting title.  It took me over a year to come up with that title, and when the publisher (Tor) heard it, they new it was perfect. Many readers have told me the title alone has prompted them to pick up the book. Occasionally, I've seen in reviews, where readers have said they didn't like the book.  At least I got them to try it.  After that it's out of my hands.

Another thing about that title is if you go to Amazon and type in the words Never Slow.. my title will pop up.  There's nothing even close.  The title is not only provocative.  It's unique.  A year after my second YA novel, Boyfriend From Hell came out, another book with the same title came out. I was so upset, but there was noting I could do about it, aside from complain to my publisher. Even though I was first to market with the title, you cannot copyright a title. Fortunately, since my book is the most popular with the title, it shows up first. My advice to authors is to spend more time coming up with unique and provocative titles.  It may take more time to bring your book to market, but I think it's time well spent.

And now for the title of my new book. It was formerly called The Memory Giver.  I liked the title, but I had my suspicions it wouldn't stick.  It was unique, but not provocative enough. The new title is. Drum roll, please: The Secrets of Love and Death.  I hope you like it.  It's dead-on perfect for my new book, a romantic-horror-thriller.  And if you type it into Amazon, nothing comes up.  At least, not yet.  Is it a good title??? We'll soon find out.

If you'd like to read a little bit of the book (the fully edited version will be out summer, 2015), several chapters are available now on Wattpad under the old title, The Memory Giver.  Just click on the link.  I hope you enjoyed this post, I hope you like my title, and I hope you'll give my latest book a try. Thanks.  Peace.

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  1. Interesting post! I recently was trying to look up a book and was shocked at how many books are out there with the exact same name. It made it hard to find the one I was looking for, but finally I did. I like your advice. Your new title sounds great! :)