Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Choosing Your Book's Title by Diana L. Flegal

It has been said a reader takes two seconds to choose whether to buy a book or not. Most often it is the title that helps them decide.

This week a client and I worked on a fiction title idea for her book. We went back and forth several hours between phone calls and texts until we settled on a favorite. Our goal was to choose a title that connected the plot and storyline. We felt it important to make a strong connection for the reader. A great example is: Capturing Jasmina, a book about the slave trade set in India. I feel the cover captures the books emotional story line and important message.

Authors are often tempted to choose an esoteric or uber creative title, but better than a “woo woo” title is a plain and simple one. 

Choosing a line from the book is often a good choice. Read it out loud. Does it sound good?  You want to have a title that rolls off the tongue easily.

Nonfiction titles can be easier, but not always.  Ask yourself what the “take away’ is for your reader and create a title that is most likely to connect with that.

The books cover photo helps out, as well as the back of the book, but the title is the most memorable. The book to the left is the authors journey through Anorexia. Title and cover effectively convey the reader takeaway and the back cover material makes the promise the reader needs. Hollow by Jena Morrow

Avatar, Twilight, The Help, Jesus Calling, Eat, Pray, Love, and Situation Maid are all examples of one to three word titles that worked well.

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. The Time Travelers Wife, The Memory Keepers Daughter. Great titles that solidly connect to the subject of the book and hint to the reader what the book is about.

The Map Across Time and The Unraveling of Wentwater, fairytales by C. S. Lakin, are two well named in her Gates of Heaven series.  

Humor is a great way to catch a readers attention. We All Married Idiots - 3 Things You Will Never Change About Your Marriage & 10 Things You Can by Elaine Miller certainly catches the eye and hearts of those passing by.

These childhood titles remain in my mind's memory vault :     

     Fell Off the Cliff by Eileen Dover  

     Rusty Bed Springs by I.P. Freeley

Books That Were Never Written from the Boy Scouts Trail blog is entertaining. I like this one best, I think: 'Sitting on the Beach' by Sandy Cheeks, but then there is this one: Help With Math by Cal Q’later.

Happy Over the Hump Day!


Wendy Macdonald said...

Diana, I agree that choosing the best title of a book is critical for capturing the attention of a reader.

Thanks for suggesting that using a line from the book can be a good choice. In today's tight market the title and cover are more important than ever.

What I like about using a line or phrase from the book is that it gives an honest glimpse of what's within the pages.

Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

Kimberly Rae said...

Woo-hoo! I'm so honored to have a book cover on your blog. Wish I could take credit for the title or the amazing cover, but the publisher did both--and I was so impressed with how much thought and time they put into them to do just what you said. I'm learning from them not only about making a title great, but making multiple titles in a series work together. Right now I'm thinking on a new series and have been "chewing the cud" on titles for it. So far I like one-word verbs: Stalked, Paralyzed, Hidden (they're suspense novels and I like how the one words are creepy but also leave mystery). Anyway, thanks for a great post and for teaching us writers how to do what we do better!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your workshop "Convincing Nonfiction" at the Hampton Roads Writers Conference. I look forward to learning more through the informative blog posts from Hartline.