December 2

How To Pick A Book Title


How to choose a book title

Choosing a book title is almost as challenging as naming a child. After all, your freshly written book is your baby, an entity that will live with you for years to come.

Readers will judge your book by its cover, and that includes your title.

You don’t want to slap a lackluster label as an afterthought on the stellar story you’ve been toiling over for months, or even years. Choosing a title is a process which will likely involve numerous iterations, so start early.

Just like naming a child, it’s useful to draw up a shortlist of ideas.

Make sure your title is true to your genre. Browse Amazon and study the naming conventions other writers in your genre are using. Your title should also catch the spirit of your book, in other words when a reader finishes the book, the title should feel right.

It can be frustrating when everyone around you has an opinion on what to christen your new release, but it’s helpful to post your title choices to writing groups you are a part of and solicit feedback on ease of use, and possible misinterpretations. At the end of the day, you are selling a product, and your title isn’t just about your feelings.

Titles should have meaning attached to them.

As an example, here’s the rationale behind the titles in my young adult post-apocalyptic trilogy, The Undergrounders Series.

There are three books in the series, Immurement, Embattlement and Adjudgement, and the titles reflect the various stages in the Undergrounders’ struggle to overthrow the Sweepers who control their world. In addition, the titles are also metaphors for the internal growth of the main protagonist, Derry Connolly.

Immurement is the state of being entombed or confined in an enclosed space.

The Undergrounders’ bunker symbolizes the prison Derry yearns to break out of in order to find her place and calling in a bleak and dangerous world terrorized by Rogues and Sweepers. Internally, Derry is trapped in her own prison of self-doubt and insecurity.

Embattlement is the state of being engaged in battle or conflict.

As well as the obvious physical fight to overthrow the Sweepers, the title alludes to the “civil war” of sorts that wages inside Derry as she rises up against everything that is holding her back from becoming the leader she was destined to be.

Adjudgement is the act of imposing judgement.

At the end of every war, there is a time of reckoning. Derry discovers a lot of harsh truths about leadership during her journey, not the least of which is that every great leader has to discern when to seek reconciliation, and when to pursue retribution. On a personal level, Derry evaluates her own moral imperfections and the darkness lurking in her heart.

While I did put considerable thought into the meaning of my titles, I also made a conscious choice to mirror the complex one word titles of The Divergent Series as part of my tactical marketing plan. Nothing like learning from the competition!

What’s the story behind the title of your book?


Book Title

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