Friday, September 18, 2009

The Importance of Book Titles

I've learned titles are as important as the writing. If a title doesn't grab a consumer immediately, they may never pick up your book and read the jacketflap let alone purchase your book.
Brainstorming many different title options is very important. You may not even come up with a title until your manuscript is complete. Whether you use key phrases or research from a particular time period you are writing about, ideas should start to flow as to what would be the "best" title for your manuscript.
How I went about determining the title for my first story book:
Since The Golden Pathway is a historical fiction novel based on The Underground Railroad, I researched the meaning and code words used for The Underground Railroad and learned the following:
"The Underground Railroad used many different code words to get slaves to freedom. The people that helped the slaves along the railroad were called “conductors.” The slaves were considered passengers or cargo and were called “freight” or “packages.” White folks that did not believe in slavery were called Quakers. The Underground Railroad was considered the golden path to freedom.
Hence: The Golden Pathway was born.
How do you determine your manuscript title? Do you approach it differently if a short story, non-fiction article, or novel?
I look forward to hearing about your appproach.


  1. Me, I let others title my stories or my series. I know that all my books in the series will be State of .... Whatever is appropriate for the state plus the clues. I'm not very good at titling my own work and I don't usually title anyone else's either. I just go with the flow and whatever sounds good when my friends/editors read the story or the clues is what I go with - lol - E :)

  2. I think that THE GOLDEN PATHWAY is a great title. Many explorers searched for one of three things: God, Gold or Glory. Anything that is gold is automatically interesting. And "Pathway" sounds iteresting and mysterious... I get titles by listing my main idea in as many different ways as possible.

  3. Wow, that's very interesting how you came upon the name. I agree it's a great title.

    And, it is so important to have a great title!


  4. In all my historical research, I've never studied the underground railroad. After your explanation, I'll have to now. Love your title, and understand it now.

    I can't say exactly where my titles originate. Caves, Cannons and Crinolines comes from things that relate to the story: the caves they hide in, the cannons constantly firing on them, and the bothersome crinolines Lizzie wears, (sometimes).

    Breeze - Just popped into my head as the name of my girl.

    I agree that titles are important.


  5. Elysabeth, Joe, Karen, and Bev...thanks for weighing in. I'm always interesting to hear how other writers tick. Thanks for sharing and taking the time out to stop by today.

    Best wishes,

  6. Donna,

    I was interested to learn how you came up with your title. I didn't realize the Underground Railroad was called the Golden Path to Freedom--great stuff.

    Titles are certainly important because I'll walk around in a bookstore glancing at titles and if they catch my eye, I'll certainly pick up the book to check it out.

    They need to sound promising, interesting, and intriguing. My new picture book that is coming out next year started out as 'The Pesky Bug,' but, luckily, turned into 'The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade.' It's a rhyming picture book meant to be fun and I needed the title to be fun as well. Hopefully others will think so! :)

    All the best,

  7. Lori: Thanks for weighing in. I can't agree with you more while browsing. And since I was lucky enough to read your rhyming picture book early on I agree the later title is so much more catchy. Best wishes for your continued success. Can't wait for your release!


  8. Great post as always. I look forward to your wise tips and inspiration. I also posted about the new book at my site. Best of luck with the book.



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