If we return to our baking a cake comparison or analogy, what can we call or name our cake that best describes the cake for what it is? Let's see, how about Toffee Bar Delight, Death by Chocolate, Mississippi Mud, Luscious Lemon Dream, Spiced Carrot Surprise, Caramel Divine, Strawberry Supreme, Black Forest Cherry, Easy Chocolate Chip, Apricot-Coconut Swirl, etc.?
As you can see, for the most part, the name of the cake lets us know what kind of cake we're getting and what flavorful delights we can expect.
A title of a book serves the same purpose.
For our title selection purposes, the title of the book will be your working title.
As your book evolves, you may find a better fitting title later on, or if you intend to traditionally publish, I've been told not to "get married to" your title, because your publisher will more than likely change the title to something more to their liking.
Either way, right off, choose the best title that initially reflects the story you want to write. Consider something catchy, that will intrigue the reader and peak interest.
JA Konrath has a knack for choosing titles. He recently wrapped up a series about Lieutenant Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels, in which all of his books are either named after or are related to mixed alcoholic drinks. The titles of his books in the series are Whiskey Sour, Bloody Mary, Rusty Nail, Dirty Martini, Fuzzy Navel, Cherry Bomb, Shaken, and Stirred. Lieutenant Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels is one of my favorite kick-butt heroines, and I would highly recommend reading the series. As Jack Kilborn, Mr. Konrath wrote Afraid, Endurance, and Trapped, where each title depicts what the books are essentially about (must reads if you enjoy novels of terror).
Cathy Yardley has a Blaze trilogy, titled The Players Club: Scott, The Players Club: Lincoln, and The Players Club: Finn, which is a series about members of an urban adventure club. Great concept, and, yes, a great series title.
And who can forget Stephen King's Carrie, Cujo, and Misery?
We don't just remember the title of a book just because of what the book was about or the caliber of writing, but because the title relates to what the book is about so precisely and revealingly.
So considering that you have decided what type and kind of cake your going to bake, uh, er, what genre and length of book you're going to write, what story you are sharing, and whose story it is, then your next step is to choose your working title.
Here's how to go about choosing a title:
- Check on Amazon and Books a Million and on the internet for titles of books already published in your chosen genre.
- Consider are the majority of these titles mostly one-word, two-word, three-word or more-than-three-word titles?
- Brainstorm and jot down at least ten (10) possible title options that are not already in use.
- Ask yourself the following questions about each of the titles you are considering:
Does the title characterize, represent, and/or symbolize what your book is about?
Does it fit the genre and your book?
Does the title thrill you?
Is it a title you can get excited about?
- Mark off the ones off your list that don't meet the above criteria.
- Narrow down your choice to five (5), then three (3), then to one (1).
If not, make a second list, and go back through the choosing process until you can answer the affirmative.
Once you're successful, then that's your working title.
You have now completed Step 4 of But HOW Do You Write a Book?