A winning book title, in my opinion, is one of the greatest challenges of an author to create. Perhaps that’s because an author is tied so closely to plot, tone and mood, theme, and character arcs to step away from the novel and be able to sum up 350 pages in one to four words (on average). Or maybe that’s just me.
Like my previous blog Cover Wars where I discussed cover art, the title should also touch the reader at a primal level as well as touch on genre. According to Seven Terrific Tips for Creating Winning Book Titles, the title should make a promise to the reader that their needs will be met. Just like the cover art.
NYT Best-Selling Books 2012 (Top 35):
I pondered the New York Times Best Selling Books of 2012. Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks sits in the No. 1 spot. The title is endearing and speaks to my primal need to feel safe. Other titles are as intriguing, but some miss the mark. Perhaps certain covers and titles fail to fulfill my needs, specifically. What do you think about No. 1? Deserving? I say, Yes.
Goodreads Best Book Titles (Top 100):
Another site I studied was Goodreads Best Book Titles. These titles include both new and classics and are based on Listopia votes. Some of the titles I found to be ridiculous, but they did give me a good laugh. Sitting at No. 64 is Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Again, this title speaks to my primal need to feel safe and loved in a time of fear. It’s the only book I’ve ever purchased based on title alone.
How do you come up with your title?
In the case of my current WIP, I’ve changed the working title 8 times. In fact, I’m embarrassed to detail the process, but in descending order I’ve bravely listed the iterations:
1. Faith’s Story
2. Faith’s Keeper
3. Leap of Faith
4. The Seconds Keeper
5. Enchanted Hostage
6. Her Spirit’s Bodyguard
7. Ghost Guard
8. Love in the Mist (Final Choice)
If I were to submit this to a category romance line, I might submit using a trope: Surgeon’s Spirit Fiancé
Or maybe not.
To compare your title to over 700 successful novels from 1955 to 2004, you may want to play around with a site called Lulu Title Scorer. It’s really fun! My title Love in the Mist scored a 64.8% of becoming a best-seller. One can hope!
Okay. Your turn. Do you struggle with titles? Are you brave enough to list the iterations you’ve used? What’s your Lulu Title Score for you final title?
Happy reading and writing,