Here are some tips for choosing the perfect title for your WIP:
1. Don’t feel pressured
- I know people are probably asking you what your novel’s name is and you feel like you need to put it out there. You want to gush about it.
- But please don’t feel pressured to have a title right away.
- Yes, sometimes titles just come early on in the process. If it’s not, don’t stress.
- You really only need a title once you start querying/taking the final steps for self-publication. And in the traditional publishing process, that title can change at any moment up until you release it to the public for your marketing campaign.
- So, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to have a title while you’re still working on it. You can just slap a placeholder title on the document and focus on naming the project when it’s necessary.
- Write down ANY possible name you can think of, no matter how silly you think it may be. Get an idea in the middle of the night? Jot it down in the notes on your phone. Think of something while at work? Save it on Google Docs.
- Often, as you write the first draft, you’ll come across an important motif/theme or a phrase you like that could be a potential title. WRITE IT DOWN.
- Now, make sure you have all of these ideas on one page. Go through them, striking out the ones you know you don’t like. Narrow it down until you have a few good choices.
- Combine some of them. Adapt them. Whatever you want. Just have something on paper to get the creative juices flowing.
- Now, you at least have a few choices from which to pick.
3. Google it
- Take those few eligible options and google them.
- Make sure there is no other book/movie/series/whatever that has the same or a very similar name.
- I can promise you that if you name your book The Hunger Games, your novel won’t show up at the top of any search results once it’s published.
- Also, check for cliches and try to avoid them. Certain genres have certain title trends, but you should avoid looking like a sheep. So, maybe don’t call your YA novel Crown of Blood and Fire. (Although that is a cool-sounding title, so screw my advice).
4. Think of the future
- Are you planning on sequels, spin-offs/prequels? Then you might want to keep that in mind when naming your first novel.
- Will you use titles that have more-or-less the same format, like Throne of Glass and Shatter Me?
- Will you use the same words at the start of each title i.e. Percy Jackson or Harry Potter?
- Will you stick to titles that have the same feel to them e.g. Strange the Dreamer?
- Or maybe you’ll just name each of them individually and not give a damn.
- Whichever you choose, it’s important to think about this at the beginning so that you don’t back yourself into a corner when it comes to naming your future works.
5. Ask your audience
- What is the purpose of a book title? To distinguish it from other books. What is the purpose of a good title? To capture the attention of your target audience.
- So, why not have them weigh in on what that title should be.
- If you have two/three options, make a twitter poll/a survey in which you ask your followers (potential readers) to vote on which title they like most.
- Try to be specific. Give a little information about the book. Ask them which one would catch their attention/would they be most likely to buy etc.
- You can even ask them for extra suggestions!
I hope that this can be of some assistance. If you ever feel like running a potential title by me, don’t hesitate to do so. Also, remember that I am always open to requests for writing advice posts, and that I love receiving asks 🙂
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