The Title Of Your Novel Is What? (Revisited)

imagesFFT3CQY4I was looking at some of my older blog posts this past week when something jumped out at me.

A while back I wrote a blog titled, “Is your manuscript ready for submission?” It didn’t get much attention, as a matter of fact, only 5 people viewed the blog and 2 of those liked it. Needless to say, I was pretty disappointed. It was a great blog.

Five months later I was busy and didn’t have time to research and write a quality blog. I decided to report, “Is your manuscript ready for submission?” I made a few changes to some of the sentences, so they reflected the new time period, but other than that, the blog read word for word.

I also did one other thing; I changed the title. It was the same blog, only it’s new title was, “Edit, Edit, or Edit?” The blog did exceptionally well for someone who had been blogging less than a year. It had 99 views, 50 likes and 3 or 4 reblogs.

I shared this story to make a point. Your title really does make a difference. It’s the first thing your reader sees or hears about your book/blog/poem. Your title creates anticipation and expectation, or perhaps disinterest. Often your title determines whether or not someone reads your work.

A good title should have the following attributes:

  • Attention-grabbing
  • Memorable
  • Informative (gives an idea of what book is about)
  • Easy to say
  • Not embarrassing or problematic for a person to say aloud to their friends.

Also keep in mind, that the title you start with, may not be the title you end up with. Getting the title right may be the most important book marketing decision you make. Many well-known authors have had their titles changed by publishers and editors before print. Here are a few you may recognize:

F. Scott Fitzgerald/  The Great Gatsby – Trimalchio in West Egg, On the Road to West Egg, Among Ash-heaps and Millionaires, Under the Red, White, and Blue, Gold-hatted Gatsby, or The High Bouncing Lover. I think he made the right choice 🙂

George Orwell/ 1984 – The Last Man in Europe

Ayn Rand/ Atlas Shrugged – The Strike

Harper Lee/ To Kill a Mockingbird – Atticus

Jane Austin/ Pride and Prejudice – First Impressions.

Frances Hodgson Burnett/ The Secret Garden – Mistress Mary

The title matters!!! Get it right!!!

-Jan R

The Title Of Your Novel Is What? (Revisited)

8 thoughts on “The Title Of Your Novel Is What? (Revisited)

  1. This is so true. I wrote a novel (which my publisher split in two as it was long). I called it The Lost Prince. I wasn’t very happy with that title but couldn’t come up with anything else at the time. This was the novel I submitted to the publisher to see if they would accept it. I am pleased to say they did, and they changed the title. The overall title is now Elemental Worlds, and the two books are called The Stones of Earth and Air and The Stones of Fire and Water. That, along with two fantastic covers I think has made all the difference.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. To say the least, book titles are as important as the manuscript itself. What makes selecting one even more difficult is that it needs to also work well with the book cover. Picking a book cover or the title could be compared to ‘the chicken or the egg.’ Which comes first? I’m no expert; I’m the opposite, a novice author. I have a manuscript completed and currently going through the dreaded edit and rewrite process. To make things worse, I have no title for the proposed book. I read in someone else’s blog that they held a contest to name their new book. The winner had their name used as one of the major characters. In your opinion, what do you think of this idea? I’m always appreciative of experienced advice. Thanks.


    1. Wow! So did these participants read the manuscript before naming the book? I would not dream of doing such a thing. It’s your book. You know the storyline and character’s better than anybody.
      I agree with you on the book cover. I always look at it. I have probably passed up on some great novels because I couldn’t get past the picture on the front. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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