Monday, November 23, 2009


I was planning to post something else, but title talk is all over the internets, so I thought I'd join in. J

Basically, the point of most of the talk is that your title is your first impression. Whether we're talking about a query to an agent, a submission to an editor, or even the book on the shelf, the Title is one of the first things people are going to notice about your book.

Jill Corcoran calls titles and covers "your book's billboard." There are some great links and great information (there's even a graph!) in this post. She also links to the Editorial Anonymous post on titles, in which Ed Anon breaks down what will happen to your manuscript based on the awesomeness (or lack thereof) of your title. What I love about Ed Anon is how she can cover an important topic in a humorous way.

Apparently I missed it, but back at the beginning of October, Jean Reidy posted about titles, too. I love her point that a title is "a promise of the story to come." She has a fun exercise and three more links in her post, as well!

I agree with the points made in the posts linked here, but I have also heard that many times titles are changed either by the agent or the editor. Agent Elana Roth commented in a kidlitchat on Twitter that she had changed the titles of almost every book she'd sold.

Now, I'm not saying you shouldn't try to find the best title possible for your story. Absolutely, you should. But – maybe try not to get super attached to it. LOL.

Okay, now I am going to ask for your help, readers. All this title talk has reminded me of title issues I have with my novel. When I started writing it, I had one title in mind. Then, a couple of writerly friends commented that it maybe wasn't a good title, so I changed it. Unfortunately, I cannot get the first title out of my mind. I still like it better than the current title. So, I am going to post my pitch and the two titles, and you can give me your opinion. (And I really appreciate it!)

Pitch (Upper MG):

Yet another idiotic book has taken over Mitch's hometown. Just another craze, he hopes, like last year's obsession with vampires, because Mitch would rather pound a nail through his thumb than read. He's got better things to do, like hang out with Jen, or work on the shelf he's building for her in his workshop.

But then, even the people he loves most get sucked into the book. His dad, for instance. Mitch has to pull him out from under a fallen truss while he--and everyone else on the construction site--continues to read. And even when Mitch and Jen realize people are reading themselves to death, Jen succumbs to the book's mysterious pull. With Jen now under its spell, Mitch is the only one left to find some way to break the obsession...before he loses everyone he loves.

Titles (The title of the book in the story and the novel itself are the same):

First title: THE BOOK

Current title: LURE

Thoughts? Opinions? Also, if you have any good links about titles, please share!



ETA - Found another link to share: Lisa Schroeder talks about Titles:


  1. Oh, I'm awful with titles. After the sweat and tears poured into my writing I then wonder...what the heck am I going to call this??

    What if you combined the two? The Book Lure...ya know, like fishing lure..or book lure, or The Reading Lure....or...The Worm took the Book...just kidding.

    :) Good luck!!!

  2. First of all, the premise of the book sounds SO great! I can completely see why the first title would stick with you because it hints at what the story is about. But at the same time, it might not be specific enough to grab a reader's attention.

    What if you added a descriptive word to THE BOOK? It could be a color, or a shape, or a word that gave a hint about the mood of the book. THE BLACK BOOK, etc.

    You could also play with a phrase like "The Good Book." Or you could go really creepy and call it THE LAST BOOK YOU'LL EVER READ!

    Good luck! :-)

  3. Wasn't going to post because I'm rubbish at titles, but Anna's suggestion of THE LAST BOOK YOU'LL EVER READ is really good!

  4. I like the story idea. Sounds scary!

    I always struggle with titles too. Sometimes it helps to refer to something specific in the story. Does the book (the one in the story) have a title of its own that might work? Or maybe there's some quote within the book that would work (if you've written it -- I don't know your progress :-).

    Though keep in mind that I have zero experience titling MG books.