You know that saying, “It’s all in a name”? It’s true for book titles. You’ll come up with a story line and then . . . a great title. Or, perhaps you have a title that pops into your head, and the story follows. For me, the story line always comes first. My novel’s title may miraculously appear early on in my writing, say Chapter 1 or 2 but more often I’ll finally decide on a title halfway through. Arriving at your book’s title is one thing—whether it’s a catchy, memorable one is another story.
Book titles are important—artistically and commercially. A good title resonates with a reader and will, according to publishers, help sell your book. Below, I’ve itemized 5 ways to help you create that magnificent moniker.
Alliteration. When we view a book’s title, we tend to read it silently, phonetically playing with the words. Double consonants resonate as they tumble over our tongues. Pretty Lucy sounds better as Lovely Lucy. Divine Diva rolls off the tongue more effectively than Attractive Starlet. You get the idea.
Craft a poetic title. Many best-selling books are inspired by songs and poetry. Including references to falling stars, heavenly skies, or moody girls in love all elicit immediate emotion. Poetry is always good. Just be sure not to infringe copyright laws if you think last week’s Top 10 song list is a good source to pull from. The idea is to use famous songs and poems as your inspiration and then write your own.
Citing a specific place. Think of all the books and movies based in Paris, or New York, or London. Places ignite memories and they represent glamour, intrigue and excitement. Cities evoke instant visual landmarks, whether it’s the Golden Gate Bridge, the Eiffel Tower, or the Statue of Liberty. Landmarks, memories and events define places for everyone. If there is a place that’s likely to trigger these emotions in your readers, consider using it in your title. Miami Muscles, Tears in Texas, Louisiana Love, etc.
Include an element of food. Imagine velvety smooth chocolate melting in your mouth or pastel gelato shared between two lovers. Better yet, picture these tasty treats on the cover of your book. As cover art often mimics or illustrates the title, food is always the perfect conduit in inspiring a reader’s palate.
Google your title. If you think you’ve come up with the world’s most amazing novel title, pat yourself on the back, and celebrate—after you Google it. Yup. I’ve fallen off my office chair after a wasted happy dance on more than one occasion. A great title is unique and if you Google your title and it doesn’t appear, then you’d better go buy a lottery ticket because you’re on fire.
Now you have a few tips to ponder when thumbing your fingers on your laptop, sifting through a myriad of words and phrases which will place your book (hopefully) on a Best Seller’s list.
Wait a minute. I have one more tip. A bonus (my head is still on lottery tickets).
Incorporate your book’s theme in your title. If your story involves cowboys, detectives or dukes, include their profession or hobby in the title. Dancing with the Duke, Sex with Sherlock, Crazed for a Cowboy! Notice the pattern? They each contain not only a theme, but that ever important alliteration.