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Choosing the Perfect Title for your Book

Updated on December 10, 2014

A Matter of Seconds

How would you like it if you wrote a 100,000 word novel and it was rejected in two seconds without ever being read?

If you think that example is extreme then think again.

Editors and publishers are almost as concerned with the title of a book as they are with the book itself, and that is because we live in a fast-paced world. We are bombarded by sound bites, little snippets of advertising, little glimpses of shows, all designed to attract us in the shortest amount of time. That, my friends, is what a book title does. It is a writer’s opening salvo, and it will either score a broadside hit, or fly ineffectually into the water.

Not only are editors and publishers subject to the five-or-ten second rule, but so are readers. Think about the process when you are shopping for a new book. What is the first thing you see? You will either first see the title or you will see the book cover. If you are interested after seeing those two parts of the book, you will then read the synopsis to see if you are interested and then, and only then, will you actually open the cover and read the first few paragraphs.

All of this leads to an ironclad rule: your book title better be damned good.

With that rule in mind, let’s take a look at some things to consider so you can decide upon the best possible book title.

Two words...active voice
Two words...active voice | Source

My Own Experience

I happen to be going through this right now with my new novel. I began with a working title of “A Season for Killing.” I then moved on to “The Shadow Man,” and now I’m working with “Shadows Kill.” I have no idea what I will end up with, but I understand that this is a process that needs to unfold at its own pace.

As I get further into the book, I’m sure the working title will change several more times. The reason for this is because I will know the book better the further along I get, so I will have a better understanding of important points by the time I actually settle on the final title.

The suggestions that follow are not etched in stone. They are things to consider based on the advice of others in this business, but like all advice, they may or may not work for you. Still, remember that the points that follow are considered important by editors and publishers.

SHORT IS BETTER

This is no time for wordiness. You need to capture the spirit of your book as quickly as possible. It is suggested that the title be no more than 30 characters in length. Three words is ideal. And while you are at it, make those three words catchy and memorable. Talk about Mission Impossible!

HIT YOUR TARGET

The title must suggest what the book is about; this is not an easy task in three words, but it is necessary. Remember, you are trying to sell your book before the reader even opens it. Readers must be able to relate to your book, and that must happen immediately.

PAINTING A PICTURE WITH WORDS

Your title should paint a scene in the minds of future readers, or it should grab hold of their emotions in some way. When they read your title they should instantly have a picture in their mind of what your book is about.

Too long...I wish I had a do-over on my first novel
Too long...I wish I had a do-over on my first novel | Source

NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO PUNCTUATE

Save your punctuation for the body of the book. Three words, or thirty characters, does not allow for punctuation. Leave out question marks and exclamation points….hell, leave out commas. Do your job properly and you won’t need them.

BE ACTIVE

You are trying to take readers captive with your title, so use the active voice. If you are confused by active and passive voices, consider these two sentences.

The possum bit the young boy.

The young boy was bitten by the possum.

In the first example, we have an active voice. In the second, passivity rules the day.

In my earlier example of my current working title, “Shadows Kill” is an active voice. If I wanted to slip into passive, which I have a tendency to do occasionally, my working title would be something like “Killed by a Shadow.” It is a fine distinction but an important one.

CHECK ONLINE FOR SIMILAR OR EXACT TITLES

Interestingly, there are no copyrights on titles, so you won’t get into legal trouble if you use the same title as another published book, but you will risk confusing a whole lot of people by doing so.

Go online and check with Amazon or some other source to make sure your title has not been used. I do a simple Google search before settling on a final title. It just makes good sense to do so. If five other authors have books called “Shadows Kill,” then I just ruined my chances of being unique.

TOSS “HOW TO” TO THE JUNKPILE WHEN TITLING YOUR BOOK

“How To” is wonderful if you are writing articles for online publication. Search engines love “how to,” but your book title is not designed for search engines. Remember our rule about passive voice? “How to” is passive by its very nature, and editors and publishers are not fond of the phrase.

Instead of a book title like “How to Make Money Quickly,” you should consider “Making Money Quickly.”

Tips for Choosing the Perfect Title

There is no perfect way to go about this process. What works for me may not work for you. Some writers do not name their manuscript at all until they are done. Some, like me, keep changing the title as they write. Whatever floats your boat is the process you should use.

To get the process started, though, try brainstorming using some of these ideas:

  • A key word that repeats through the story or book
  • The name of your main character or an important place in the plot
  • A word or phrase that has a hidden meaning that is revealed in the book
  • An expression that is related to the subject matter of your book
  • Try using a play on words
  • A word or phrase that suggests a category for a series. One author that comes to mind instantly is Sue Grafton and her alphabet mystery series.

Once you have brainstormed, you might have several candidates to pick from. Now it is time to turn to your friends and peers for help. Have people you trust read your manuscript and then give them possible names to choose from. In other words, do a marketing survey. At the same time, ask those friends if they can suggest a better name. The title for my last novel, “Resurrecting Tobias,” came from using this method.

It''s a lonely  professions sometimes
It''s a lonely professions sometimes | Source

And After All That Is Done…..

Writing is a solitary experience. I'm extremely superstitious. If I talk about the book or name the title out loud before finishing, I feel the energy I need to write will be drained. It's so intimate, I can't even share it with my wife.

Paulo Coelho

Well, after all that is done, you choose a name and then pray to the writing gods that the planets will align perfectly.

What do you want from me….guarantees?

There are none!

We do the best we can with the information before us, and then we hope for the best. Welcome to the world of writing.

2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Marlene. It is a trial at times. Resurrecting Tobias was the fifth title selection. I think I picked it because I was exhausted. LOL

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Barbara. I'm glad you found this one because I think it is important for authors. I appreciate you stopping by.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 3 years ago from Northern California, USA

      All I have to say is you do a magnificent job selecting titles for your novels.

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      I found this very interesting Billy - knowing titles are important and knowing how to choose them are two different things. You have me thinking more about this now. Also, to read that shorter is better is a bit surprising too, but I can see why it is after reading your page - and active versus passive - I tend to slip into passive myself, unless it's humor related - am going to watch myself on that one. Whether it's a title for a book or an article, good things to remember here.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad, Pam. Thank you very much.

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 3 years ago from Land of Aloha

      Wonderful advice which has already been an inspiration. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Glimmer, the ebook market is meant for craft writers like you, and you just might be surprised by the response you would get. I hope you give it a try one day. :) Thank you and have a great Sunday.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

      Came by for a look even though I may never use this advice. Your hubs are always interesting. I'm thinking "Denim Done Right" if I ever do a book on denim repurposing. LOL

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad it helps, Deb. Thank you.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Very sound and wonderful advice that I will surely take. Thanks, Billy, as always.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dianna, it is not an easy thing to do, but if successful it is a powerful tool. Thanks for your thoughts.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      What I most captured was the visual picture of the title. It is a great way to capture the reader's attention if you can connect it this way.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very welcome, Anna, and thank you so much for spending so much of your Sunday with me.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you imtiii...greatly appreciated.

    • Anna Haven profile image

      Anna Haven 3 years ago from Scotland

      Definitely short and snappy titles.

      I didn't know that titles weren't covered by copyright. That could cause a whole lot of confusion, if you hadn't researched before naming your own work! Good advice. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. Anna :)

    • imtii profile image

      Imtiaz Ahmed 3 years ago from Dhaka, Bangladesh

      Shorter titles really help in many cases. The shorter and common the words are the easier to remember it. Which means people will remember the Book and more sells. I really liked the page so I gave a "Up Vote" for you billybuc :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You betcha, vkwok. Thank you!

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks for more great advice, Bill!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Travmaj, that's an interesting example of this article....titles mean so much to readers...take the title away and we may not recognize the book....very interesting.

    • travmaj profile image

      travmaj 3 years ago from australia

      Totally agree a title can make or break but still a difficult decision in books, short stories or poetry. I watched a local 'Movie show' last night. While watching one of the films to discuss the commentator had suddenly realised she'd read the book and knew the story.. The film had a completely different title from the book. No reasonable explanation. Anyway, right now, I personally don't have to worry...

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...thank you Ann. You always make me smile.

      bill

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

      I do like the 'young lady' bit! Yes, back to work indeed - I get the hint.

      Ann

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Lena! It's interesting how we all have a slightly different approach to writing...I always enjoy hearing other approaches.

    • lovebuglena profile image

      Lena Kovadlo 3 years ago from Staten Island, NY

      Some food for thought in this hub. And some useful tips too. Thanks for sharing this with us.

      I remember for my novel I came up with a title first before I even started writing the novel. The title is what actually led me to write the novel. Anyway, so I came up with that title and then later on I changed my mind, but in the end went back to the original title.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kim, thank you so much for your kind words about my novel. I like that saying "when in doubt/throw it out. " Very true words.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you as alwys ChitrangadaSharan! You are appreciated here.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      lifegate, what a beautiful thought. Thank you for that.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, I'm so glad you had a nice holiday. I hope you had one for me as well. :) Now, back to work for you young lady.

      Here's hoping your Tuesday is brilliant!

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It's always my pleasure, Shelley! Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well, Alicia, I hope that day is sooner rather than later. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I always appreciate you visiting, Flourish. Thank you!

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      ocfireflies 3 years ago

      Bill,

      We must have been floating on the same wavelength for yesterday, a writer I am doing editing work for and I were discussing writing and writing titles. He was talking about a famous author. Naturally, I can't think if the author's name at this minute, but the advice was regarding any aspect of a novel: "when in doubt/throw it out." On another note, I find myself often with ideas for titles before the evolution of the writing piece which for me almost always means a poem. Per usual, great hub. I do not know if you have had a chance, but I finished your novel which was POWERFUL! I have also written a review and Amazon accepted it. Hope it helps.

      Blessings,

      Kim

      Kim

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Very important and useful tips on choosing the perfect title for a book. I agree choosing title for a book and for Online writing is different.

      Thanks for the useful suggestions!

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Have you ever wondered how many books you might be responsible for bringing into being? All the information you share is multiplied as we read, and then apply. Thanks Bill, for keeping us going!

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

      Once more, you've given us practical and useful suggestions, ones which writers need to think about carefully.

      I like 'The Shadow Man' or even just 'Shadow Man' but then I don't know how that fits the story! That evokes mystery and someone sinister (or just remaining in the background and doing good).

      Whatever your title becomes I have no doubt it'll be a goodun, bill.

      Back home tomorrow! We've had a great hol with mostly beautiful weather and the children have relaxed and enjoyed it, which is the most important thing.

      Enjoy your day!

      Ann

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 3 years ago

      I have a problem with titles for my articles - but I need to pay more attention to that, as I am sure it is important too. I always learn something new and interesting when I read you Bill. Thank you for sharing and taking us with you on your journey.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for the advice, Bill, which makes a lot of sense. When I write my novel - which may actually happen some time - I'll remember your tips!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      I really liked this one, Bill. There are some books I spend half the time trying to determine what the link is and I enjoy the mystery of figuring out why it's called what it is. Helpful hub!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Carter...you obviously know this very well....by the way, I like your new profile picture. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, I think online articles is a different ball game....the main goal there is to have a Google-friendly title....and I do believe, although I'm not expert, that changing the title really messes you up on Google. Thanks for the questions....I'm going to do some research on it and include it in one of my mailbag hubs.

    • carter06 profile image

      Mary 3 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      The short 3 word title certainly makes sense..my completed books have 1 or 2 word titles and most manuscripts I'm working on have at the most 3..I think short and succinct is best..it's interesting how the title can change as we go further into a story or character development..good point about a google search for similar titles, great idea..great tips..Cheers

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Another great hub Bill. Does this apply to articles? I don't do any of the key word search or other research when picking a title to an article but I do spend a lot of time thinking about it. Also, for articles is it okay to change the title a few times until you come across a winner? Just wondering if changing the article title would hurt in the "Google World"? Very helpful hub Bill, have agreat week.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Ruby. I'll check it out.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Nadine, I always appreciate hearing from the voice of experience. Thank you.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I tried to post on your blog and it wouldn't go through. I was signing in using Twitter. Just thought i'd let you know there's a problem..Cheers

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Great topic Billy. Yes a title can make or break a book unless it gets a lot of publicity. The cover is also very important. We often get manuscripts in and we often know if the title would work or not. I'm now talking about non-fiction books. Its the same with fiction, but we hardly get those. My very first novel's title was: My Love We are Going Home. Three years later we changed it to The Awakening Clan. I know of several novels that had more than one title over a period of time. I might keep 'The Self Employed Housewife' when its finished....

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you DDE and best of luck on that new book.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Heidi. I always know that if you agree with me I must be on the right track. I will, indeed, have a great week. You do the same my friend.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      The title of a book is very important I am currently working on my new book partly about my life experiences. Great topic chosen and an informative hub.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

      Yep, short is better, especially if you're trying to grab emotional attention as is the case with most fiction.

      For some business titles that will depend on search, sometimes going with a less emotional, but more keyword friendly, title is optimal. But even with business titles, some of the most successful are those that pack an emotional punch.

      Voted up and sharing, of course! Have a great week!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      PS, as I do you...thank you dear friend. I hope this finds your family....happy...that's what I wish for you and your loved ones...happiness.

      Peace, hugs, blessings and love heading your way

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Same here, Sheila. My second choice for a title was already taken, so I shifted to "Shadows Kill"...so far I'm free and clear with that one. Thanks for adding your experience to the discussion.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      KoffeeKlatch, it works that way for me. I'm sure my final title has not been thought of yet, but I'm getting closer. Anyway, thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rock on indeed, Alan. I always enjoy your comments as you speak from experience. I hope the summer has been good for you, and I suspect we will meet again soon on the online highway.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      2besure, best wishes on that book, and thanks for stopping by.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Glad to hear it, Jaye. Thanks as always for the visit my friend.

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      Patricia Scott 3 years ago from sunny Florida

      This is one of your best, Bill. It is so true...when I am looking for a book, unless it was recommended and I know I want it,the title should speak to me from the shelf. If it does not, there it remains.

      As you say in your own experience, creating the perfect title is a work in progress...it evolves as the story line does..at least in my experience.

      And by the time I am at the end of whatever I am writing, it fits or not and it is back to the drawing board.

      thanks for sharing.....

      Angels are on the way...I think of you all often... ps

    • profile image

      sheilamyers 3 years ago

      These are tips everyone should definitely follow. I think I hit on most of them when creating my own titles. A couple books in my first series have more words because I added the main characters name to the title, but now I aim for no more than three. I like how you pointed out to do a title search on the internet. I've had to change a couple of my titles because there were already books with those titles and I didn't want mine to be the same.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 3 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Awesome tips. I think the title would change as you write the book. Sometimes we seem to start out with one idea and move onto another. That's why I don't fall in love with a title until the very end. Love this article.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 3 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Paulo Coelho overlooked something in his trite statement. Naming your work gives you a target. It might seem to work like a straitjacket, but if you're the author you're the one who calls the shots - like inserting a twist or two.

      Anyway, back to the matter in hand. Not that I'm the religious type, when I looked at your book I thought of the biblical Lazarus. An alternative title came to mind: '(The) Lazarus Touch'.

      My own titles tend to be one word, arrived at by thinking 'out of the box', plus a subtitle of up to three words. I found there was a need for the subtitle, as I had one title that ran the same as someone else's. The combinations were arrived at after careful analysis of each book's 'message'. You'll understand the thinking when you look at the RAVENFEAST page.

      [Thinking up 'tweets' is a challenge as well, creating a 'precis' of a book 380 pages long in 117 characters (the other 23 are taken up by the cover images].

      Rock on, Billy!

    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 3 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Thanks for the tips. I am writing a book now and am trying to decide on a great title.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

      These are excellent tips, Bill. Since choosing titles has never been my strong suit, I'll put them to use for the story I'm currently writing. Thanks!

      Voted Up++

      Jaye

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Ruby. I have found choosing a title at times to be more difficult than writing an entire book. LOL Blessings to you always.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Great tips Bill. Choosing a title is sometimes difficult for me, plus ending the story. I'm learning. You're a great teacher my friend. Thank you for all you do....

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deb, I have found a working title gives me focus, but that's just my opinion and experience. Good luck with it and I hope you spend more time on it soon.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, if you meet the criteria, and you are satisfied with it, then go with it. Thanks for sharing your example.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Faith, I am so excited that you are writing that novel. The title will come to you when the time is right and not a moment before. Best wishes my friend, and I'm glad you enjoying my book.

      blessings to you always

      bill

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 3 years ago from Iowa

      My poor neglected novel doesn't even have a working title yet. I need to apply these tips and see what I come up with!

    • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

      William Leverne Smith 3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Using your tips, my new working title seems to come out as: "3 Threats to Homeplace" - active, 22 characters, meaning that fits story, place of story. Time will tell, I suppose... ;-)

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      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Hi Bill, I am enjoying my lunch reading your novel. It is terrific. The title is perfect and the cover is one of a kind. Great insight here as to choosing the all-important title to one's book. I am so glad you informed about the three words ... my novel is creeping along and currently has the title, "Day of Truth" which is three words but kind of vague as to what it entails. Maybe that will wind up the title to the first chapter as I am going backwards with sort of the ending then flashing back to the beginning, which is no easy feat. It is a political thriller set in southern USA. It is not your typical political thriller though, as I have many twists and turns to surprise. maybe my title should be more along the lines of "Ethics Undone" ... I will keep at it. You already have my intrigue with the title of the novel you are working on! Blessings always

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Genna, I didn't realize how often I write in passive voice until a good friend pointed it out. Now I am very aware. Thank you my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      mdscoggins, I'm glad you found this helpful. Good luck with the process, and don't get discouraged.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rachael, I don't know how I could add to that excellent comment. I, too, give a title to my book right out of the starting gate, for the same reasons you listed. It grounds me and constantly reminds me of the story I'm telling. Thanks for a great comment.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Excellent tips, Bill. Thank you. Switching from active to passive voice has always been a challenge for me, so I especially appreciated this reminder and clarification. “Well, after all that is done, you choose a name and then pray to the writing gods that the planets will align perfectly.” Lol. That’s exactly what it feels like sometimes. Loved this. Voted up ++ and shared.

    • mdscoggins profile image

      Michelle Scoggins 3 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Thank you Billybuc I am in that planning mode at this moment for my in-process first fiction novel. This really helps.

    • RachaelOhalloran profile image

      Rachael O'Halloran 3 years ago from United States

      I usually come up with a title first because I think having one keeps me grounded to telling the story. I can't imagine writing a story and not having a title; it would be like driving and having no idea where I was going. I rarely change my title, but have been known to shorten it.

      I start with my ending first, then work my way backwards because I think it is easier to tell a story when I know how it will end.

      I try to stay away from quirky titles but seem to like coined phrases types of titles. I'm sure it is just a phase and I'll get over it.

      I am just this week starting to shop for an agent with a finished novel. I finished it two months ago before we moved. I've only been published in magazines, without agent representation, so I have to get more educated about who's who and the ways of the publishing world.

      Title is everything with a book. It's your foot in the door so your story will get noticed. If it annoys, it's filed in the round bin. If it is curious, it might rate a corner of a desk to possibly be read later or assigned to another editor. If it is too self explanatory, there will be no reason to read the story because there will be no surprises. If it is too colorful, it may offend and have little or no audience.

      Where we spend so much time refining our story, we need to give due diligence to the title and make sure it has something to do with the story. I can't stand picking up a book whose title has nothing remotely in common with the story line.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      That's a terribly awkward title quite frankly....there is so much wrong with it I don't even know where to start. Thanks for the perfect anti-example, Lizzy.

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      Liz Davis 3 years ago from Hudson, FL

      There's a book they're trying to push on my Kindle that's called "You're of No Use to Anyone". I'm so sick of looking at that title--it's horrible!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Very good analogy, Ann. Right on! I wish I would have thought of that when I was writing this article. lol

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      Ann1Az2 3 years ago from Orange, Texas

      I'm glad I'm not the only one that changes titles after I've written something. I just never knew why. Now I do. Thanks for opening my eyes yet again! It actually makes sense, though. You seldom name a dog or cat without first observing them. That way, you can pick a name that suits them.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks, Eric, and have a great week.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Turn to me all you want, breakfastpop. I'm here to help.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Brie! I appreciate you stopping by even though you aren't "wrestling" with this issue. :)

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      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Really interesting important stuff.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you John! I went through five titles before finally deciding on that one, and I do the same thing with articles....it is that important.

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      breakfastpop 3 years ago

      I agree titles are mucho important and your help is appreciated. When I have a book I need to title, I'll turn to you. Voted up, interesting, useful and awesome.

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      Brie Hoffman 3 years ago from Manhattan

      The weight of that decision must be heavy, I'm glad I don't have to wrestle with it. Good luck with it.

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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Great hub once again Bill. I totally agree that a title is the first thing that draws a prospective reader's attention and it is so important, even titles of articles here on Hub Pages need to stand out to get readers. I won't stoop to a "how to" title and usually try to find something unique or a play on words. Often the first title I choose isn't what I settle on either. With "Resurrecting Tobias" you scored with a great title and cover, so well done.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks, Frank! I didn't realize the importance of it until a publisher pointed it out. Now I pay more attention.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Randi, I think that's pretty common for us writers....especially article writers. Live and learn my friend. That's how we all do it....or maybe, in my case, I should say trial by fire. :)

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      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      I was like btrbell.. I didn't feel or understand the importance of a title.. I thought the grab factor was the first few pages.. great tips my friend :)

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      Randi Benlulu 3 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Until I started at Hubpages, I don't think I understood the full importance of choosing a title. I always chose by my gut, thinking I was clever! I still have many article topics like that. I just can't let some if those "catchy, punny" titles go! This article makes so much sense. Minimize, focus, grab your readers with the first word! Thank you for sharing!

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey, Sha, and it was an aha moment. I was writing that chapter and it just came to me as the perfect time for the title...so thank you my friend.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Janine! A new week my friend. Have a great one, and know that you are appreciated greatly.

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      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, I love the aha moment I get when the title is buried in a line of a novel. It gives instant recognition and shows the cleverness of the author. Not many authors do that, but it always strikes a note with me. I happen to know of an author who snuck that in beautifully, don't you? :-)

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      Janine Huldie 3 years ago from New York, New York

      Wonderful tips Bill and I have to admit sometimes I get stuck even just titling an article I wrote, so your thoughts here are definitely a help for me even on that. So, again just can't thank you enough for sharing your experience on this. Happy Monday once again!