I openly admit that I hate titling my writing. I can write a hundred thousand words, but titles are downright evil. They might say not to judge a book by its cover, but there’s no similar absolution for titles. A bad title can kill a novel, or so they say.

Yesterday I watched the “Picking a Best Selling Novel Title” portion of my online course.  Here are some tidbits of wisdom I learned:

  • Carry a notebook EVERYWHERE so if you happen upon a good title you can write it down.

Clearly the title faeries have noted my lack of notebook and deigned not to visit.

  •  Brainstorm ideas for a while and ask your friends for ideas if you can’t think of anything.

I should  be more  obsessive and obviously I should harass my friends more.

  • Look at the top best-selling books on Amazon. There’s a science to titles. Don’t use the same titles, but try to see what makes a good one.

Uhm, aren’t you supposed to be telling me how to do that? It appears that if there’s a science, you don’t know it, so that makes two of us.

  • Check out Lulu Title Scorer. Note that most of the best-selling books rank high on this app.

Okay, I’ll play:

I went to Amazon and searched the “best books of the month”. I skipped Steven King and Niel Gaiman as their sales likely derive from name power as from their titles. I hadn’t heard of the third, so I put it in.

Only 10.2%? I wonder if the app designer has a day job as a meteorologist.

Only 10.2%? I wonder if the app designer has a day job as a meteorologist.

Then I put in the working titles of two of my novels:

Nice. So slightly better odds than flipping a coin!

69.0% Nice. So slightly better odds than flipping a coin!

Eh, I don't really like that title anyway.

26.3% Eh, I don’t really like that title anyway.

I guess the take home message is that the minds of the masses are beyond mere apps, or me, and quite possibly the dude teaching the course.


6 responses to “Untitled

  1. 3rd party observer

    This is your genre-bending novel, right? In that case (if you’re looking for opinions), I’d go with Daughter of Destiny over Lovers Bound. The former could be anything; the latter emphasizes romance over anything else.

    • southerndreamer

      2 Different novels. Daughter of Destiny is my genre-bender and the one that was picked up by a pulp fiction publisher.

      Lovers Bound is an urban fantasy romance, but the title feels lame. Originally it was Guardian of the Night, but there’s already a book by that title.

  2. I guess you’re enjoying the course….
    I’m with you, i find it difficult coming up with titles. I think it’s just as difficult as writing the blurb for the story. These things take more time to come up with because they can make or break your story.
    I don’t think i’ll be joining that course anytime soon, though…

    • southerndreamer

      I poke fun at the course, mostly b/c well, it’s fun to do so. That isn’t to say there aren’t some useful tidbits in there. When it comes to the creative/writing aspect there isn’t much it can tell me that I don’t already know.
      I will, however, pay close attention the PR and legal advice.

  3. I suck at coming up with titles, too. I’ve never been good at it.

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