Novels: What Makes a Title?

As my second book starts to take shape, I’m increasingly aware that I haven’t chosen a title yet. Scratch that. I’ve chosen several, none of which seem to quite fit. So, how important is a book title?

Last month I read an article by a leading UK agent who said it was the title and opening of a novel that draws her initial attention. No pressure there then… At a recent book signing a reader informed me the cover art, title and blurb (in that order) makes her decide whether or not to purchase a book by a new author…

Click here to read more:  Diary of a Newbie Novelist




12 thoughts on “Novels: What Makes a Title?

  1. I think the combination of both words and the book cover imagery are enough to draw people’s interest. I personally like the interrelationship of the two.

    Now once you are famous, your name alone is all that matters. JK Rowling’s most recent book cover and title were innocuous in my opinion, but her name alone will drive sales.

    • Hey There!
      Thanks for your comment. I agree that both cover & title need to work together. Perhaps I should imagine my cover art before considering a title?
      Also, I don’t think fame amongst family and friends counts as they’ll probably buy my book anyway, LOL, but you are very kind:)

  2. I am very particular about titles, but they don’t come to me easily. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with writing it without a title. The right title may come to you when you’ve finished it. I nearly always write short stories without a title in mind, and sometimes even novels.

  3. I tend to notice the cover art first, then when that attracts me I read the blurb. I sometimes find that the title may not necessary reflect the summary of the book. I like a nice cover though as with An Unfamiliar Murder.

  4. If I’m browsing through unknown books in a bookstore I go by cover + title + blurb (in that order), but if I’m buying online it’s blurb + reviews + popularity. An intriguing title and a great cover might attract me online, but the ultimate desicion won’t be based on just that.

    • Hi Janice! Thanks for stopping by. It’s interesting how you approach your online purchases different to a bookstore experience. I’m sure I do too. I guess there is just so much more information available online. I’ll give this some thought. Thanks very much for contributing.

  5. Title, book cover, book blurb, opening, ending too since some read endings first (never understand but at least they’re reading), and content are allimportant; to what degree varies…a little bit of luck is involved too…how someone sees a book and picks it up in a store is by visual cues first…then, depending on time, maybe the book lover will read the back copy…then, it’s either a sale or … I tend to read a passage to get a feel for the writing. If I know the author’s work, I will buy the next, so, Jane, please please keep writing — I would buy your next book even if it didn’t have a title 😉

    • Hey Justin! Thank you for your kind comment. I’m finding the habits of readers fascinating; it’s certainly making me examine mine. Yes, I do tend to read an excerpt too. Thanks for your input, and your kind words:)

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