Trudging through Titles

Monday, May 11, 2009
Let's face it. Wandering readers pick up a book based on two things:

1. Cover
2. Title

As writers, we have little control over the cover art. What we do control is a title that will catch a reader's attention. It's like fishing. We need to have shiny, tasty looking bait.

Unfortunately, I suck at writing titles. It's something I've never had a knack for. With The Priestess Prophecy, I went through dozens of titles before settling on the one above. At first, it was Aria, until I realized that another author had used the same name for his heroine. I changed it to Nighstar (I explain the reason behind the spelling in the book), but everyone kept inserting a t and making it Nightstar. It was confusing, so I changed it to Chosen. I researched it on Amazon. Taken. I tried The One, and The Prophecy. Eventually, I added Priestess and refused to look back. I'm still not sure it's shiny enough to hook a bookstore patron by the jaw and reel them in, but it will have to do.

The Last Witch was originally Witch Song, but feedback from my readers revealed that they didn't like it. I still don't understand why. It's one of my favorites. So I decided that Witch Song would be the name of the series and The Last Witch the name of the first book.

With my last MS, I quickly came up with a title I loved: Winter Queen. Finally! Catchy and concise. I was as proud of that as my toddler who figured out how to climb the pantry shelves to reach a forbidden cookie. Until I searched the title on Amazon.

Taken. Again.


I'm hoping some of you have the secret and will share.


  1. I have no secrets, but I do have a question. I thought that most titles of novels from first time authors are changed by the editor anyway. Is that true that you know of?

    I haven't struggled with titles so far, but I'm sure I'll get my fair share down the road!

  1. Glamis: It just depends on the title and editor. If they like it, they'll keep it. If not, it'll probably go. I like both of your titles. I'd bet they stay.

  1. Mine was changed by the editor... but I lack experience overall.

  1. Becky: What was the title before and after?

  1. Barb said...:

    The effort has been worth it - I like the titles you are working with very much. They are the sort of titles that would make me pick the book up to read the blurb.

  1. Barb: Thanks! You made my day.

  1. Amber,

    The title before was simply Scripture Time

    they changed it to
    Adventures with the Word of God

    I liked the change. Becky

  1. Becky: I like the change to. I'm more likely to pick up a book with adventures and scriptures in the same sentence. :)

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