What’s in a Name?

An agent whose blog I follow recently posted on the importance of titles. Writers are often told not to get too attached to their working title since publishers are likely to change it. Some writers take that as a reason to not bother much about the title, which is a bad move if you’re trying to hook an agent or editor.

I LOVE my title. There, I’m too attached already. But I think that if someone wanted to publish my book I would be agreeable to a title change so long as the new title wasn’t absolutely stinky. When I started my first novel, the title was The Lotus Leaf Effect. I was trying too hard to prove that I have a college degree. Title one was more likely to make a reader think huh? than to think I gotta read that. The current title The Memory of Drowning is intriguing without pretending to be literary. Much better. And hopefully it piques the interest of potential readers.

So what catches your eye when deciding what to read? The title? The cover art? The back blurb? And what’s the best title you’ve come across lately?

Some I think are particularly good include:

  • Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil
  • The Omnivore’s Dilemma
  • Fair and Tender Ladies
  • The Secret Life of Bees
  • The Long, Dark Tea-Time of the Soul
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

One thought on “What’s in a Name?

  1. For me, it is important to know whether or not a book has won an award like a Pulitzer Prize or the Mann Booker. If it hasn’t then is it an author I’ve read before and whose work I enjoy?

    If the book has been recommended to me, I’ll also strongly consider it.

    If none of those then I’d say it’s important to know if it was published by an indie press – which I like to support.

    After that I read the back blurb about the story and any review comments.

    Finally, I read the first few pages (maybe 3) of the book to see if the reader hooks me. If the first few pages are compelling, I’ll usually buy the book.

    Best title ever? From when I was a little kid, I read: The Active-Enzyme, Lemon-Freshened Junior High School Witch.

    If you stop by my blog http://cdeminski.wordpress.com, you may want to check out my post: Where is Farley’s, What is Press 53, and Who is Curtis Smith? The post speaks to the notion of supporting Indie Press publications, especially short story writers.

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