Monday, November 23, 2009

Is the title really THAT important? In a word - Yes!

Not one, but two professionals in the industry last week talked about how a great title could make a difference in how fast your manuscript gets read.

First - Editorial Anon says, "If you can come up with a super title, then do-- it can encourage prompt responses." Read more HERE.

I've always had a feeling this was the case. Some titles just make you go - ooooh, I want to read that!

Next - Agent Jill Corcoran says, "When a submission hits my inbox, one of the first things I notice is the title." And then she goes on to say, "Titles are not something to anguish over, they are your golden opportunity to attract someone to your manuscript." Read more HERE.

It's so great when you know the title of your book before you start writing, and you know it's the perfect title. Or you start writing and it's not long before you come up with the title that knocks your socks off.

But I think more often than not, authors struggle with the right title. Jill suggests polling other authors - I know l've seen some authors do a poll on their blogs allowing others to vote for a title. It's important to have a title that makes someone sit up and take notice. And really, the only way you're going to do that is to ask other people what they think.

I have two projects on submission now. One of them has an awesome title. I love it. It's one word, and it's a pretty word. I can see it on the cover of a book and it makes me excited about that book! What a wonderful thing, huh? The other one, I'm not so sure. I'm still, even now, wondering if there's a better title. For nine months, I searched for the perfect title, and you all know that after awhile, you just get sick of thinking/worrying about it and figure the one you come up with is good enough. After all, you can always change it later, with the help of your editor, right?

But now, after reading these articles, I wish I had done a little more about my uncertainty. Perhaps asked all of you to weigh in.

So don't do what I did. Before you send that manuscript off, make sure you have an AWESOME title! It's only a few words. It can't be THAT hard, right? :)


  1. This morning, an idea for a book just hit me out of no where. The very first thing I typed was the title. I think it is going to be perfect for my book and hopefully will get people's attention. And yes, like everyone above said, a title is VERY important.


  2. Grrr. My project currently sits labeled: "Title Unknown" (for some reason that sounds less pathetic to me than "Untitled." "Untitled" sounds like it will never have one. "Title Unknown" just sounds like I haven't discovered it yet). So I guess this means I'll be doing some major brainstorming to figure out the right title. *Le Sigh* :)

  3. My current manuscript has a title I LOVE thank goodness. Normally I am like Shannon with the "Title Unknown or Untitled" This time however it works perfectly. As a reader, I agree on the consumer front. Though the saying is Don't judge a book by its cover! I do judge by title sometimes. Singular words are intriguing to me in their simplicity while sentence titles can be fun too. I do skim titles then decide to select a buying choice, but I do so realizing that there are stories I am missing out on. I cannot imagine being an agency who receives hundreds and has to look for the best one! sheesh..

  4. The titles of your three books are awesome (as are the covers)! I don't know why it is so hard to write short and awesome, as in pitch, as in title--but it sure is.

  5. Well, can I be honest for a second? The orignal title of my book was SexKittens. And it still sold. haha. So although the title is a good draw (well put, Jill) it's mostly going to be about the book. And no one ever told me this before, but they sometimes change titles. Or in my case, always ;-)

  6. Titles are so hard! The Haunting of Pemberly Brown had about 800 different titles. Ditto for our WIP. I feel like I should be good at titles, but I'm not. I just suck. I wish there was an on-line course I could take in title writing. That would be sort of awesome.

  7. I generally have the title up my sleeve even before I get started on my work. Sadly, for my current WiP, I'm kinda lost. I have a tentative title, but...well, there's the 'but'..:-/