How To Come Up With A Great Title For Your Book, Story, or Poem
Coming up with a great title for your book, story, or poem can be hard. The title is your readers’ first impression of your work, so it should be evocative, unique, and precise. To help, Writer’s Relief (WritersRelief.com) has put together a list of the seven most successful elements found in book titles:
Poetic Language: Some of the most memorable titles use poetic language to make a statement: Gone with the Wind; Of Mice and Men; Grapes of Wrath; Snow Falling On Cedars; and The Fault in Our Stars.
Action Words: Titles showcasing strong verbs will stand out and command attention. Things Fall Apart is clear and haunting; Gone Girl is energetic and in-your-face, and A Song of Ice and Fire sets a precedent for tension.
Inherent Conflict: Great titles hint at the story within. When a title concisely encapsulates action, readers are encouraged to delve deeper into your work. Here at Writer’s Relief, we invite you to consider Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
Character’s Names: Titles that use character names possess an element of mystery, as seen in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. They can also be whimsical, as in: Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day.
Place Names: If your book has a unique setting, you can use it to your advantage. The Last Time I Saw Paris showcases the City of Lights with a touch of nostalgia, and Death Comes To Pemberly makes use of a location that’s familiar to avid readers of Pride and Prejudice.
Quirky Titles: Some titles embody stark contrasts that make readers say, huh? Then they flip over to the back cover to read more and find out what the book is about. Examples that Writer’s Relief have found include: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance; Pineapple Grenade; and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
One-Word Titles: These titles tend to work best with exceptionally strong cover art. A few examples are: Inferno, Divergent, and Affliction.
When deciding on the title for your work, keep in mind…
The Book Genre: If you’re writing in a commercial book genre, be sure you have a good understanding of how titles within that particular genre work. We wouldn’t recommend straying too far from the conventions of genre book titles.
Copyright Law: As of right now, authors can’t copyright their titles in America. That being said, we don’t recommend using the same title someone else has previously used. It makes it harder for readers to find your book, and prevents it from truly standing out.
And if you need it, ask for help! Ask your friends and family for ideas, or host a brainstorming session. Sometimes a new perspective is the best way to hit on just the right title for your work.
One final note, if you’re hoping to publish your book with a traditional publisher, there’s a possibility you might not be allowed to retain your original title, because publishers tend to change them.
To learn more about how to come up with a great title for your book, short story, or poem, check out the full Writer's Relief blog article: http://writersrelief.com/blog/2013/08/great-title-for-your-book-or-story-or-poem/
Visit the Writer’s Relief website for many free writer resources. Writer’s Relief helps writers of short stories, poems, and personal essays submit to literary magazines. Writer’s Relief also helps novelists, memoirists, and other book authors submit to literary agencies for representation.
We also help writers self-publish their books. Self-Publishing Relief can help guide you from completed manuscript to finished book. Learn more here: http://selfpublishingrelief.com/
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