This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Book titles are important and some people can’t even begin writing a story until they have the perfect one. Personally, I begin with a working title (something imaginative like 'new book') so that it doesn’t hold me up, and then try to come up with something decent once the book is finished (or, at least, well underway).
Titles are part of the exterior package which describes your book to the wider world. In more prosaic terms, they're part of the package which will sell your book. As such, a good title must be appealing, memorable and, above all, appropriate.
What do I mean by 'appropriate'? It must fit the tone and genre of your book. If you're not sure, go into a bookshop and read the titles of books in the same genre or with similar themes to your book.
A good way to come up with a title is to brainstorm. Make a list of words which are linked to your book, or which describe the tone or feel of your story. Then try making making combinations and phrases using these words. Don't be shy and aim for quantity rather than quality. Sometimes the best ideas come in after three pages of total rubbish!
Another method (one which works particularly well for literary books) is to look for particularly fine lines in the manuscript and use one of those (probably in a truncated form).
Alternatively, you could always take inspiration from the classics. Examples include:
A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb (Emily Dickinson)
The Fault In Our Stars by John Green (Shakespeare)
Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson (Emily Dickinson, again!)
This is a great technique, but if you choose a literary allusion to a work which is very well known (such as Pride and Prejudice or The Taming of the Shrew), then you need to be doubly sure it is appropriate and that you're happy with the assumptions and connotations which go along with it.
When it comes to submitting your book to agents and publishers, don't let the quest for the perfect title hold you back. A great title is a bonus and not the 'make or break' of your submission.
Ultimately, the publisher will most likely pick a new title for your book, and everyone in the business knows this.
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