Finding the Perfect Title for Your Novel

Are titles important? Yes.

Titles are the first aspect readers see. If the title’s interesting, readers will read the back cover blurb. They’ll open up the novel and read through the first pages.

Titles also represent your work to the world. Therefore, your title needs to appropriately represent your novel.

Strong titles are distinctive. They’re not over-the-top. Finding a balance between a forgettable title and one that causes people to roll their eyes is key. You want readers to think your title is fantastic.

Here are some tips on how to get that reaction:

  • Research. If you already have a title in mind, Google it. Make sure it’s original. You don’t want a title that’s been used countless times, and you don’t want one that’s already attached to a recognizable novel. For instance, you wouldn’t want to title your novel To Kill a Mockingbird. That wouldn’t help you sell your book because people associate that title with Harper Lee’s novel. Now, if you’re set on using that title, you probably could. Titles aren’t copyrightable. However, agents and publishers might not pick up your book. If you don’t have a title in mind, find books on Amazon that are in the same genre as yours. Write down titles you like and figure out what attracted you to those titles.
  • Make it easy. Choose a title that’s easy to remember. When word of mouth starts spreading about you novel, you want people to recall the title. That way, when they get home, they can go buy your novel. Plus, complicated and unclear titles can turn people off from even reading the back cover blurb. Some good examples, Carrie, Angela’s Ashes, and Cold Mountain.
  • It’s appropriate. The title must match your story. Think of Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. If you’ve read the book, then you’ll know just how appropriate this title is.
  • Multiple meanings. Successful titles usually have a deeper meaning. Often they mean one thing at the beginning of a novel, and something else at the end. Having hidden layers of meaning within a title adds an extra punch. Think of The Silence of the Lambs or Catch-22.

Some people choose titles easily. Others don’t. However, titles should be thought out and not simply slapped on the title page of a novel. You’ve spent a lot of time writing and editing your book. Give it the title it deserves.

How do you choose titles for your novels?

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4 thoughts on “Finding the Perfect Title for Your Novel

  1. agrrosewood

    Choosing a title definitely is difficult for me. I personally write for children, so it should not be too vague – yet a good title should be wonderful and imaginative at the same time. Easy and appropriate, yet with multiple meanings, like you said. It’s hard to find that balance.

    Reply
  2. painterwrite

    Ugh, I hate figuring out a title. I use a working title (usually just the main character’s name), but I dread when time comes to finalizing the actual title. Your tips are perfect. I’d also add that if you can’t choose between a few titles, to post a poll on your blog to find out which one grabs people’s attention.

    Reply
    1. brittanyekrueger Post author

      Great idea about posting a poll on your blog. I also like getting my critique group’s input. I’ll present them with several titles and they’ll help me narrow down the list, telling why they like one over the others.

      Reply

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