I've been playing along with the #InstaWriMo challenge on Instagram. Not with any kind of consistency, mind you, but I've been thinking about posting photos every day. *snort* Okay, so maybe I forgot about it and just went back and realized how far behind I was. I need to post on Instagram more.
The reason I bring it up is one of the prompts for the photo challenge was "Working Title", and I'm just not one to title my books before I finish writing them. I'm the type of person that wants to be sure of exactly how the book is going to pan out so I can capture the feeling of the book in a title. Sometimes I still am not sure, and beg my author buddies for help. Titles are damn hard, y'all.
So I thought I'd go over some of the basics I use when picking a title.
For my "working title" or what I refer to the book as, I make a quick abbreviation or description of what the book is, so I'll know what the story is if I happen to see a squirrel and run off in another direction. Sometimes it's just a main character's name, and if it's a part of a series, I'll use the series title and add the number behind it.
Once I get a few rounds of writing or edits in, I'll put the book in it's own folder and give that bad boy a name. I'm stingy. I don't want to take up brain space remembering a title if I'm not dealing with it for a while.
But once I'm ready to give my book idea it's own production plan, I go through a few steps.
1. Browse Comps.
If I'm writing a paranormal romance, I look at what's in the top seller's lists. Are the titles short and punchy? Do they have a lot of descriptive terms? I see what's selling and if those books have an aesthetic I connect with. Also, having a few comps in my back pocket in case I'm looking to pitch a project is insanely helpful.
When I sold my first trilogy to Samhain, we came up with all three titles right away. We wanted to have a cohesive feeling and make sure all the titles worked together. If I'm starting a series, or writing a one off, this is only pertinent if the story has series potential.
3. Come Up With Lots of Options.
The more titles I have to pick through and consider the better. I'll ask my buddies in my various brain trust circles, and see what they think. Usually the list morphs and changes through brainstorming sessions, and I lock it down to a favorited title.
4. Search For the Title on Amazon.
There are tons of other bookselling sites, but because the market on KU is so large, I prefer to search on Amazon to see if the title is already being widely used. Just because a title is already on another author's book doesn't mean it's off limits. No matter what some people think. (*cough*Cockygate*cough*) But if the book's title is on a best selling Inspirational Romance and I'm writing hard core erotica, I might not have the right market with my title. I adjust from there.
5. Consider How the Title Looks on Coverart.
I'm not saying some talented artists couldn't make damn near anything work, but a title should be short enough to read in a large font without obscuring the entire cover image. Also, I need room for my name. I prefer my name to be fairly large and at the bottom of the book cover. I want to make sure my title goes well with my name.
If a title doesn't pass inspection against any of those five checks, I'm headed back to brainstorming. As I'm gearing up for another round of querying, I have to get my title game back in play. I doubt "Boss With A Banging Booty" will make anyone request a full manuscript.
What are some things you double and triple check before you finalize a title? Or if you're a reader, tell me titles that made you pick up a book without even reading the blurb. And then tell me one you passed on without a second thought because you couldn't get past what the author named their project. Bonus points for pictures.