Friday, Apr 08, 2011

Choosing a Title for Your Novel

How important is the title of your novel? Well, if you’re like me, a novel’s title either attracts me or it doesn’t. While I don’t judge a book by its title, the title has an influence on whether or not I want to read the book. 

Your title is the first hook on your fictional fishing line.  With it you entice your reader to pick up your book and to read the first page. So choosing a title is a very important part of the writing process. 

What should you consider when choosing a title?  Here are a few tips: 

1) Your title should be brief–no more than five words at the max. 

2) Your title should spark interest. For example, which draws you more, Gone with the Wind or Scarlett and Rhett

3) Your title should be appropriate to your genre. For example, you wouldn’t name a fantasy novel, The Brown Family Saga, which sounds more like a historical novel. 

4) Your title should be easy to remember. This helps when readers want to recommend your book to friends and family. 

5) Your title should give an idea about the content of your story. While you don’t want to give away your plot, you do want your title to relate to your plot. 

Choosing a title takes time.  Don’t rush the process. In fact, you may not know your title until you’ve finished writing your novel. Even then, you may change it. 

Finally, the title you choose may not end up being the title of the book. Your editor may recommend a different title that will work better.  For the most part, you can trust that your editor knows what she is talking about if she asks you to change your title. She has had experience in the industry and knows that titles well. 

But if you still feel uncomfortable with your editor’s suggestion, let her know and talk it over with her.  When you see where she is coming from, you may agree that your editor is right.  In the end, however, your title is your choice.

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2 thoughts on “Choosing a Title for Your Novel

  1. Choosing a title is always a lot of fun, and sometimes a challenge. And sometimes I think I might have trouble giving up some of my titles if the editor wants to change it =P

    April 9, 2011 at 1:09 PM

    • Thanks for your comment, Fozzy. It’s normal to “cringe” a little when an editor wants to change your title. But I’ve found that editors usually know best, so I’ve learned to trust them. They understand the industry and what sells.

      Thanks again for posting. 🙂



      April 10, 2011 at 3:20 PM