Names have Power (and so do titles)

The New Book is nearly done, and how do I know?  Well, for starters my editor reported back on the last round of edits that we were nearly done, but even more telling is the back-and-forth, round robin series of emails and phone calls regarding the title.

Yes, it’s book title time.

Titles are tricky things, and it’s not always widely understood that the name of the little file on the writer’s hard drive is not necessarily the name that ends up on the cover.  For POWERLESS it was, but there were a few others bandied about. I was lucky in that my very talented book designer saw my title and immediately connected with it – the art folks have a lot of power!

I’m not complaining about the title business, mind you.  Publishing folks share the same goal as the writer – they want the book to succeed, to pop off the shelf and into the grubby little hands of readers. And often they know more about that end of the business than I do, so I’m usually content to let them have their way (with my two cents, of course).

But I’m also lucky in that I work with a great editor who really partners with her authors on these things (even if the author is an indecisive wish-wash like me).

So we’re talking titles.  And there is one that is in the running, a dark horse if you will, that is edging up on the finish line. And it’s a doozy.  I can’t wait to talk about it!

That is, of course, if we don’t change our minds four more times tomorrow.

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One Response to “Names have Power (and so do titles)”

  1. fedwickagency Says:

    Matthew, I would say that naming a book can go two ways.

    1. Name your book in under three words. This can be done by calling it after a noun preceded by “The,” or by naming it after your character. This last mentioned method is a characteristic of some very famous books such as Oliver Twist, Emma, Peter Pan, Frankenstein, or Harry Potter. Also, you could blend together both ideas: “Percy Jackson and the Olympians.” “Peter and the Star Catchers.”

    2. Shun the cliché option of naming your book after the main character, or one word preceded by “THE.” (Of course, unless his/her name is very unusual and grabbing, or the noun after which the book is called has, again, an unusual or grabbing name.) Instead, go for a shocking idea carried across in the story, or a quote mentioned sometime in the climax of the book. For instance, “Jacob Have I Loved,” was a theme in the book of the same name. Go for something with pizzaz that will leave a question mark on the potential buyer’s face until they open the book.

    Just some thoughts to mull over.

    -J. P. Cabit
    Editor-In-Chief, Fedwick Agency

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