Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What's In a Name?

We all learn as we go in this business. Fortunately, there are plenty of helpful people to help with the many questions and problems that arise as one navigates the path to publication.

I've worked with four different indie presses and I'm still with three of them. I've also self-published the one series I reclaimed from one of those publishers. With all my books out there and a three more that will be out in the next year, I've yet to have an editor suggest I change a title on a manuscript.

My very first published book, The Greater Good, has the perfect title to fit the story. I loved it. My publisher said nothing about changing it and viola, a novel was published with a wonderful title. Three words that are sooooo common. I still think it was a good title. And the second book, The Lesser Evil, followed the common saying thing enough to link the series together. 

But if I had known then what I know now, I might have tried a different title. I should have googled the titles. It can be difficult to think of a title for a literary work, let alone make it somewhat original. If someone had advised me to check out my title before I used it for that very first book, I might not have changed it. The Greater Good isn't a phrase that leads to something unsavory that I would hate to have connected by even the thinnest thread to my book. But what if it had and I discovered it after the fact?

Or what if a awesomely famous author had recently published a billion copy bestseller by the same title? What if there was an XXX-rated movie by the same title? I should have googled the title first. Beginner's or fool's luck.

So have you ever made a mistake selecting a title for a book? Has your editor ever asked you to change it? Do you google a title before you decide to use it?

13 comments:

  1. Interesting questions! I always Google a title to see what comes up. There is a title for one of my books that I'm not so keen on. I agreed with my editor at the time, but now I'm not so sure about it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I never even thought to do a search for my first book until it came out. It's the only CassaStar out there. Guess that's why my publisher liked the title.
    Yeah, having your book connected to porn wouldn't be good.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This was really good advice and since I am trying to decide on titles now your timing on this post is perfect. You have been tagged, playing is always an option :)

    Siv Maria's blog, Been there, done that...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Good thoughts. I didn't think of researching my title to see if someone else is using it.. I probably should have, I had to change my name for the same reason.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I don't have enough experience in publishing yet to answer most of these questions. So far, I haven't been asked to change a title. But, maybe that would have been better for me rather than pick one up that was pretty generic and had been done by a dozen people before me.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I don't have any books out there yet, but I'm going to remember to google titles. Not sure I would have thought to do that! :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm happy to report that the title of my manuscript has not been taken - or at least, it does't show up on Amazon :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Interesting post. I do google titles before I use them. I've actually learned that sometimes it can be good to have your book's title the same or similar to something else famous, so that when people go searching for the other thing, they find yours too. Though, an X-rated film, yeah, not such a good thing!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I Googled a title I chose for my first novel and found it was a book (and the film rights had been sold)--kept the title anyway, since it probably won't be published.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Those are really, really good points!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I always Google titles for things beforehand; stories, websites, random ideas that pop in my head. I'm a GOogle fiend :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. You have to go with what feels authentic to you. Interesting post, set me thinking...

    ReplyDelete