Monday, April 6, 2009

Choosing a Book Title

“Lost illusion is the undisclosed title of every novel.” –Andre Maurois

Coming up with a name for a novel is not an easy task. I selected The Ride for several reasons. It describes the book in a literal and figurative manner; the protagonist is taken for a ride in more ways than one; and, I hope the reader comes away with the basic premise that life should be one fun trip.

ArcheBooks kept my title. However, often the name of a novel is changed by publishers. John Mullen has a list of 10 great novels with terrible original titles. Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice was first submitted as “First Impressions.” War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy was “All’s Well that Ends Well.” The Great Gatsby could have been “Trimalchio on West Egg” or, (according to the Rinzler article) “Under the Red, White and Blue.”

Mullen’s list says that Stephen King changed the title of one of his books to Dreamcatchers at his wife’s insistence. She feared the original name, “Cancer,” would bring bad luck.

In the article, Choosing a Title for Your Book, Alan Rinzler offers some helpful suggestions such as: Less in better; More can also be better; and, Avoid clichés. But my favorite was the last suggestion which was, “Ignore all of the above.”

For fun you can hop over to Lulu for their Titlescorer to find out the percentage for a certain title to become a best seller. The Ride came up at 26.5% which sounds like pretty good odds to me.

Is it the cover art, the title or both that entices you to pick up a book when wandering through a book store?

Thanks for stopping by.

Tags: The Ride, ArcheBooks, Tolstoy, Stephen King, The Great Gatsby, choosing a title,


L. Diane Wolfe said...

A little of both, although the title will likely catch my eye first. I like simple titles, too. However, I'm not crazy about simple cover art. After reading sci-fi for so many years, I like covers with in-depth artwork.
Your book hits on both levels!

L. Diane Wolfe

A. K. said...

great article

Anonymous said...

Good post - thanks for those links - I saved 'em. :)

Nancy J. Parra said...

Cool idea. I've had titles changed and titles that were kept. It really depends on what marketing wants to say-

Helen Ginger said...

Probably cover art attracts me first, then title.

Morgan Mandel said...

You always come up with some great tidbits. Great blog.

Morgan Mandel

Morgan Mandel said...

You always come up with some great tidbits. Great blog.

Morgan Mandel

Ashley Ladd said...

It's tough to come up with good titles. I can't wait to try the Title scorer. I learn so much and find so many cool things visiting new blogs.

Jane's Ride - Novelist Jane Kennedy Sutton's journey through the ups and downs of the writing, publishing and marketing world