Thursday, December 23, 2010

The First Line of Defence

Coming up with a title was mostly just a passing thought for me in the past, but I’ve come to realise that the title is probably one of the most important aspects of a novel. It’s the first thing prospective readers see is your book’s title.
One might say that the hook in chapter one is important, but if the title doesn’t interest our prospective reader, he/she won’t even make it to your hook. For this reason, one should put effort into coming up with a good name.
First off, you don’t need the perfect name from the beginning. Just think up one as you start, but be sure to think on your title as the book progresses. The best time to come up with a name is probably during or after the revision process.
Next, I’ve seen many places that suggests name lengths for your title. Such as single word, two syllable titles work the best and so on. As far as I’ve seen, that is not necessarily the case. Though, this can’t simply be discarded. People these days like words to be short and to the point. Get the message across quickly. However, think of the others, like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, or The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Pretty long names, but both bestsellers as far as I know.
Thirdly, pretty obviously, avoid names of books that are well known. Although book names can’t be copyrighted, there will be a lot of confusion and even some wrong assumptions. Best plan, search your possible name on Amazon and see if you get any hits. Try to make your title unique.
Generally speaking, it seems that the title should be a small phrase or sentence (keep it short) that sums up your blurb, carries your theme or speaks of a character or an event that is crucial to the story. Pretty hard.
Titles are the bait of writing. It’s a whole process to get someone to read your book, but the title (and the cover art even) is the first step. If a title catches one’s attention, one reads the blurb. If the blurb sounds interesting, one might read the first lines. If the hook is interesting, the book reading process will begin. Then every chapter has to keep hooking and pulling the reader through the story until it is done.
After that, the cycle begins again at the title.

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