Posted by: Kathleen Mix | February 12, 2015

What’s the Title?

Finding the perfect title for a book can be a mind-boggling task. I’ve had titles jump into my head as if strapped to a bolt of lightning, and I’ve had titles vex me like the endless gray days of January.
For one of my early books, I thought I’d found a title that included all the necessary elements: suspense, adventure, and romance. All the time I was writing the story, the title was in the back of my mind.
Then my editor said, “Sorry. We have another book in the pipeline with a title that’s very similar. You’ll have to come up with something else.”
For days, I made lists of possibilities, adding to the bottom as I scratched off and eliminated from the top. My final choice pleased my editor but has never been my favorite.
The title I wanted for a manuscript I finished recently would have been extremely appropriate. Except Staying Alive has a search engine problem. The hundreds of returns for the BeeGees’ hit of that name could bury a book with that title several pages down on Google. If people can’t find a book, they can’t buy it. I want my story to be easy to purchase, so I reluctantly had to brainstorm alternate titles and choose something else.
With the hundreds of thousands of books that have been published, finding a unique title sometimes seems next to impossible. A good title should suit the genre, be relevant to the book’s theme, be relatively short, have impact, be easy to remember, and hopefully intrigue a browsing shopper. That’s a big order for any word or phrase.
Right now, I have one title I love, but no compelling story to go with it. I also have one story I want to write that so far lacks a good title. Hopefully, I’ll think of something wonderful soon, otherwise I may be investigating whether Untitled is taken.



  1. Best of luck! Wonderful post!


  2. Titles are almost the hardest part about writing, second only to the query letter!


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