We’ve all heard the old saying that you can’t judge a book by its cover. But what about its title? Have you ever chosen a book by its title? I have. Why? Because the title is–or should–give you a good idea about the contents of the book.
Non-fiction titles seem to do a better job of this. For example, a recent release to which I contributed, I BELIEVE IN HEALING, gives you a pretty good idea that the book will be about healing. And it is. The book delivers well on its title.
But what about fiction books? Should a fiction title give you a good idea of the contents of the story? Yes and no. (Don’t you hate double-minded answers like that?). Yes, in that the reader should know whether your story is a mystery, a romance, a thriller, or a children’s story. No, in that you don’t want to give away your story by its title.
For example, a novel I’m working on, entitled Love Comes Calling, will tell the reader that this will be a love story, but it will not reveal exactly what happens after love comes calling. Love could come calling and then leave, or love could come calling and then stay. The reader will have to read my book to find out.
When choosing a title for your story, consider making it a title that both draws your reader and stirs his curiosity at the same time. Let your title give just enough information to cause your reader to want to read your book to find out what’s in it.
Finally, after you go through all of the hard work of choosing a title, remember that, in most cases, your title will be changed by your editor or publishing house.
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