Saturday, January 7, 2012


No, I don't mean to food stamps, though if you are trying to live on your earnings as a writer, you might be entitled to that and free health care. I refer to book titles. Early on, I was told not to stress over giving my book a title. The publisher will change it anyhow if and when it goes to print. So, I simply used one word working titles, Goals, Wish, Flames, etc. I quickly learned in some contests, points were given for your title. When plain, old Goals, a football romance, became Goals for a Sinner, I started claiming all five of those points and eventually placed in a couple of those contests. Sometimes, that extra nudge pushes the book over the top.

Flames attracted little attention until I retitled it Mardi Gras Madness (and rewrote it six times). After all, you must have a well-written book following that unique title, too. Still, I piqued the interest of more editors once the title change took place, and one of them liked the story enough to offer a contract. Mardi Gras Madness with its mystery sub-plot will be out this coming fall.

I also found that in the e-publishing and small press world where I mostly dwell, titles are seldom changed, so you need to create a good one that will attract attention and not fade in the crowd of similarly named works. For instance, I avoid Love, Heart, and Passion in all my titles. These all run together. In a contest I recently judged, four out of six entries had one of these words in their title. I had to go back and skim the first paragraph to jog my memory when assigning the final score. Also, just imagine a new reader wanting to find your book but not quite recalling your name. Punch in Love and a bizillion titles come up making yours very hard to find.

Naming a book can be a fun group event, too, if you belong to a critique circle or even ask for ideas on FaceBook. I can tell you my current WIP, A Trashy Affair, earned lots of chatter. Put a little effort into titling your book. Make it unique and original, hopefully like your wonderful story. Attract attention before the reader even opens the cover. And that is my advice for the month.

Welcome to my new followers! You have swelled my ranks from four to seven. Thanks.