Naming a Book 101
Frank Crane once said “Next, in importance to books are their titles.” Just like naming a child, much thought and anxiety goes into picking the perfect title for a shiny new book. Luckily, we authors don’t have to stand on a playground shouting this name for the next dozen years, but we do have to mention it to readers, editors, friends and family.
Many authors start with a working title. Sometimes you’ll see this referenced in conversations and on websites as WT or W/T. That simply stands for working title and is a note to readers that this title may change before the book is released. I like to have a title for each of my books as I’m working on it. In fact, I don’t really feel like a novel is going well until it has a good title. Now, I might change the title later (I’ve done this a few times) but I normally like having a strong working title in place. Something more than “werelion book” or “Darcy & Greg’s book.” Some authors I know cannot start writing a book until they have a title for it. Talk about pressure! Closer to publication day I start really looking at the title and the book. Indie authors need to have this solidified so we can have covers made and start with promotion.
What if I can’t come up with a reasonable title?
If I can’t find just the right title, I might come up with a list of words that remind me of the book and/or series. From there I’ll try to put together a title. If that doesn’t work, I pester a few writer friends. I might even run an option or two by my beta readers. Or I might got back to the book and read a few pages to see if a line or phrase stands out. And if all that fails, I take a break, let the book sit, and then come back to it later. Some of my titles just jump out of thin air and they’re perfect. Like the title of my next release, Pursued by a Werewolf. Originally this book had a different title. But as I got into the story, the new title bopped into my head and I grabbed ahold of it with both hands and wouldn’t let go.
Do publishers have a say-so in titles?
Working with a publisher presents a new set of challenges. Mostly in that publishers have plenty of say-so when it comes to titling a book. So if you hate a title, it may not be the author’s fault! Many publishers will work with the author, requesting a list of 10-20 possible titles. The editor and marketing folks then get together to see if any of those titles will work. They look at marketability, sales stats and titles of other books released by that publishing house. Sometimes publishers will come up with a title on their own. I remember when I originally published the Stormy Weather series with a publisher, I wanted to name the series Hurricane Season since it takes place during hurricane season but the publisher vetoed that idea. They already had a book by that title in their catalog. So you see, even series titles are taken into account with publishers.
What do I do if a particularly brilliant (or perhaps not so brilliant title) pops into my head at random?
I write it down of course! I have a whole page of title ideas on my computer. When I need a title for a new release this page of ideas is my first stop. In fact, I just left that page because a new title came to me during lunch. One Night Rodeo. Who knows if it has potential or if I’ll ever write a book for it, but I wrote it down so that if I need it, I’ll have it. Do you have any favorite book titles? Titles that send shivers up your spine? Make you melt? What about silly titles? Or titles that make you take a second look (and not in a good way?)
Ask For It Blurb:
Trevor Wyatt has lusted for journalist JJ Fairchild since before he retired from the NFL. Now she’s back in his life and he’s not going to miss the opportunity to show her just how good they could be together. Words may be JJ’s tool of trade, but when it comes to the bedroom, words escape her. Trevor’s an excellent teacher and before she knows it, she’s asking for what she wants. But when outside forces threaten to expose dark secrets from Trevor’s past, can he overcome his suspicions and trust the woman in his bed? ASK FOR IT is a contemporary romance novel by bestselling author Selena Blake. Get your copy of the associated short story free at http://www.selena-blake.com
Selena Blake writes erotic paranormal and contemporary romance. First published in 2008, her series Stormy Weather has been on the best seller lists and nominated for awards. She’s a fan of action movies, Diet Coke, Milky Way bars and thunderstorms, not necessarily in that order. Learn more about her online at http://www.selena-blake.com or catch her at facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorSelenaBlake or on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/SelenaBlake