Titles are something I don’t think I’m good at coming up with. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a short story, an article, or a book. I struggle to come up with something catchy that still matches the flavor of the book. There are times when I don’t “get” other people’s titles, at least right away. In fact, I just finished a book yesterday and about an hour after completing it, the title dawned on me and I suddenly “got” it. I won’t mention the title of the book because it almost gives away the plot. Then our family was watching a movie once, The Sixth Day. It was a movie I enjoyed watching, but at the end I remember asking, “What does the title have to do with the movie?” My daughter, who was about 13 at the time, just looked at me and said in that tone of voice that only teens have, “Mom, God created man on the sixth day.” The movie was about cloning, or creating life.
But after these titles finally clicked in my slow brain, I was even more satisfied with the outcomes than I was before.
There was a book I read a while ago that when I was finished I was disappointed. The title really had nothing to do with the story. You don’t want to leave the reader questioning things at the end of the book. You want them to be satisfied with the whole package.
There are times I have just as much trouble connecting a title to my own work so that it entices other people to buy it or read it.
So how important is a title to your book? In short, very.
Titles catch people’s eyes. Is your title short and easy to read? Or is it long and tedious? Does it give a hint as to what your story is about? Or is it a little nebulous?
Once you choose the title, and if you have any say in your cover design, you need to make sure the title stands out and is an easy to read font. That doesn’t mean you can’t use something fancy, it just means you don’t want potential readers putting your book back on the shelf, or worse yet not even picking it up, because the title is too difficult to decipher.
The title gives the reader a first impression of not only your story but also of you as a writer. If your title is creative and catchy then the potential reader would assume that story is creative and will keep his attention. A reader unconsciously assumes that if the writer put a little effort into the title, he also put little effort into the writing of the story.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a title when you start writing your book. Maybe the title will come to you as you write. Sometimes getting the entire story down on paper helps us to organize our thoughts and maybe see things we didn’t see in the planning stages of our manuscript, allowing us to come up with an appropriate and amazing title.
Choosing a title for your book is important enough that you should spend considerable time thinking about it. Come up with several titles while you are in the process of writing the story, but choose it at the end.
Remember, the title is one of the first things people will see when shopping for books or what readers share with other potential readers when talking about your book. That makes choosing the title of your book very, very important.
Catch his attention. Peak his curiosity. And then reel him in.