Full disclosure: I am not a master of titles. In fact, it’s often the last piece of the story-writing puzzle that I tackle. And not always successfully. Right now, I’m trying to come up with a title for a paranormal romance I wrote about mermaids, and the struggle to come up with something that hasn’t been already done or doesn’t sound lame is out of this world real.
Reader, please join me in watching the title struggle unfold.
Early to Final-ish Draft Title: Rescued at Sea_Placeholder Title
Reeeeader, I put Placeholder. Title. in the file name, because I knew it was bad and was ashamed, but I had to name the damn thing something! The book’s not even about someone being rescued by mermaids. There is a rescue, so I wasn’t totally off-base. But the rescue is at the beginning. It’s the event that kicks off the whole story. But it’s not at all what the whole story is about.
Beta-Testing Draft Title: What Lies Beneath
Would have worked, except it’s a Harrison Ford, Michelle Pfeiffer movie D: So, for better or worse, here’s the complete list of titles I brainstormed on a piece of paper in the order that I came up with them:
**************** – I’ve redacted the first one, because it’s by far the best one, and I might use it. Sorry, it’s all downhill from here.
Call of the Deep
Hunger of the Deep
Hunger Lies Beneath – whyyyyy brain???
Hungry Mermaid Meets a Friend – Lol.
Beneath the Hunger – ???
Allure of the Deep
Allured by Hunger
Allure Beneath the Hunger – Sooo bad. And I did that D:
Allure & Hunger – struuuuuugggglin’
The Call of Lorelei
When Hunger Beckons – Just when you thought I was off the hunger train!
So to recap, I struggle a lot with titles, but that’s what brainstorming and practice is for. Coming up with a great title is a struggle for a lot of writers, but there’s plenty of advice out there that’s just a google search away. In fact, the article “How to Title a Book: Making Book Titles that Sell” by Kindlepreneur is really helpful, and I wish I’d seen it before composing that mess above.
Some of my favorite book titles are Ernest Hemingway’s: The Sun Also Rises. A Farewell to Arms. For Whom the Bell Tolls. *Shiver* They are just so powerful and awesome it gives me goosebumps. Ironically, I’ve never read his books. I tried one once, but couldn’t get into it.
That goes to show that titles aren’t everything, but a really good one will compel potential readers to pick up the book regardless of what’s inside. I’m not saying that Hemingway lured me in with a great title and then didn’t deliver. It just wasn’t the right book at the right time for me. Who knows? Maybe it will suck me in the next time I pick it up. But as far as great titles go, Ernest Hemingway is the golden standard I wish to strive towards.
What do you think, reader? Any tips for creating great titles? Any title favorites?