View Full Version : Stupid title question.

Home - Discussion Forums - News - Reviews - Interviews

New reviews, interviews and news

New in the Discussion Forum

December 13th, 2005, 08:16 PM
Does anyone know if a bad title (my opinon anyway) makes a difference to the story getting published?
Anything else I've come up with is worse so I decided to leave it as it is.

December 13th, 2005, 08:30 PM
The title's the easiest thing to change on a book.If they like the story but don't like the title, I'm sure you and the editor will have a nice long talk about it.

January 26th, 2006, 01:41 PM
Apparently abstract titles sell better, i.e, Killing Naked Roses-btw that's not a real book.

January 26th, 2006, 03:29 PM
I'm having the same trouble, except I'm writing a trilogy, and right now I kind of want each book to have its own title, but the overall series to have a title as well; sorta like "Star Wars: THE PHANTOM MENACE" for instance.

I know what I want to call the individual books, for the most part anyway, but I don't know what to title the series. I've gone through about half a dozen names so far, and I hate them all.

Right now I'm at the point where I want to name the series after the main alien species of the books, since in one way or another it all revolves around them....

The problem is, I haven't named the damn species yet; nothing sounds right.


January 26th, 2006, 04:22 PM
Well you're in luck, because you're writing sff. Most sff titles are incredibly boring and interchangable. In sf, they sometimes get very poetic -- The Stars My Destination, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, etc., but a lot of them are just plain vanilla. In fantasy, most of the time they don't bother trying to get lyrical or anything, because many of the titles and series titles get turned into anacronyms -- LOTR, SOIF, WOT, and the like, and/or throw standard words around like dragon, sword, and fire.

If you can't stand that, then get thee to a big book of quotes or poems. Find a quote you like that seems appropos to your work and use it or part of it. Or, go for a theme, like Sue Grafton's mystery series -- "A is for Alibi" and so on. If a publisher or agent goes for the book, but hates the title, then you can work on changing it. They might even come up with a good alternative for you. Or you can throw it open to all your friends and let them brainstorm for you.

This is not to downplay the worth of titles. A catchy title can certainly attract attention. But if you don't have a catchy title, you don't have to panic.

A. Lynn
January 26th, 2006, 11:57 PM
According to most books that I've read about getting published...

a bad title won't help.... but yes, a publisher will pick up the story and change the title if need be.

Stories entitled "Untitled" get picked up all the time.

There is one rule though, don't know if it's true: NEVER send your manuscript with a list of different titles to pick from. Supposedly that's bad.... then again whoever wrote the rules wasn't a writer anyhow.

January 27th, 2006, 03:37 PM
Anything where you ask pubs to pick and figure out stuff for you in a submission is bad, yes. But a really bad sff title is not going to freak them out. I mean look at these recent titles for books:

Banner of Souls
Luck in the Shadows
Confidence Game
In Shadows
Fires of the Faithful
The Crimson Sword
Storms of Destiny
The King's Own
The Mirror Prince
The Song of Tears

I mean, none of them are really bad exactly, just not particularly funky or artistic. We used to have this little thing where you could flip different words and any combination would make a workable category romance title, like Love's Lost Heart, and such, and fantasy titles end up being a little bit like that -- use the words sword, shadow, dragon, fire, storm, song, any member of royalty or name of a color or gemstone, and you're pretty much set. Am I right? C'mon, there're a lot of them like that. In sf, it's a bit more varied, but space, star, etc. can also pop up a lot.

February 2nd, 2006, 10:16 PM
I find that if you think long, you think wrong. Allow the title to reflect or tell something about the story itself, making it functional instead of overly flowery like the titles listed in katG's post.

February 3rd, 2006, 10:32 AM
Personally I like to brainstorm my titles when I'm at least halfway through the second draft, or more. Even when I have one, it's always up for debate.

The titles I like are the ones which tell you something about the story, but it doesn't make a lot of sense until you read the story. I can't always manage that level, but it's worth the effort.

As far as your chance of getting published, a good title might help, but a good story is far more important.


--Perhaps a title like: Untitled: But a Really Cool Story.

February 3rd, 2006, 01:01 PM
I'm stupid, someone delete me. Posted this as a reply instead of its own thread.