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How do you choose the title for your books and how do you know if it promotes the right message?

 

I am asking because I am beginning to wonder if my first book's title is the reason I am not getting anywhere with agents/publishers?  It is called 'Demons of Sphinx'  Below is the summary to give you an idea of what it is about.  I am not sure it is working.  I like the title as it plays upon the over-riding theme of the two main characters having to come to terms with personal tragedy and regain their faith.  One person commented that they liked the title but wondered if readers would think it was about real demons rather than figurative ones.

 

Other titles I have thought of are Sleeping Angels & Souls of Sphinx.

 

Any thoughts?

 

It is August 1982 in the in the small bible belt town of Sphinx, Tennessee. Two 18-year-old teenagers’ lives are transformed with life-changing tragedies that leave them traumatised and lost. Their only bond is their flight from the hometown and a mutual friend. Ten years later, still haunted by their traumas, they meet in York, England and fall in love. United and freed from the past, they return to Sphinx where they discover their childhood friend was the architect of their youthful tragedies and their most dangerous enemy. To save their future, they must choose either to flee once again or confront their demon.  (104)

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Not sure about the original question, but after reading the blurb I'll suggest "Tragedy in Sphinx". Maybe not, but there it is. Sorry, not feeling like I'm much help. 

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Thanks, ZX.

 

I am thinking of dropping the Sphinx bit completely as the project mushrooms into 3 books which could now go back the brand name of THe Sphinx Series.

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First of al, The Sphinx series would work if the Sphinx is the foundation for each of the books.

Also, I will have to get back to you on this, but I would remove the word Demons. I'll admit, however, that I've seen that particular word in several titles over the years.

 

If you let me think on it, I might be able to come up with something you like.

 

As for the question you asked: I come up with titles before I write the actual story (this happens in a couple of different ways) or even as I'm writing. It all depends. I have a "file" on my phone with lots of titles in it. I write them down during sermons when I get an idea for a story or something. Then I can go back to concentrating on the preaching itself.

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First of all, I'm not sure why you have demons, as it's one person responsible for their suffering. (Unless I read it wrong?)

 

Secondly, perhaps you can find another word to replace demon in the title? A couple of suggestions:

 

- fiend

- monster

- ogre

 

I'm not sure if any of those could work, though.

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2 minutes ago, KR LaLonde said:

I write them down during sermons when I get an idea for a story or something. Then I can go back to concentrating on the preaching itself.

 

Ditto. 

The title actual came during the first draft. 

 

Sphinx is the town in which all 3 books are located in. At the present time it not an issues. But getting the right title for Book 1 is - I agree much as like the present title the word 'demons' might not work for the christian market.

 

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1 minute ago, KR LaLonde said:

First of all, I'm not sure why you have demons, as it's one person responsible for their suffering. (Unless I read it wrong?)

 

Sorry, it probably doesn't come across well in this shorten version of the synopsis but both m/c's expereince suffering as a result of what happens individually to them.  There is a line in the book where one m/c says to the other m/c 'tells them to 'put their demons to sleep.'

 

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2 minutes ago, Shamrock said:

Sphinx is the town in which all 3 books are located in.

😮 I see. It seems to me the series title (that's Demons of Sphinx, right?) works fine. Unless I misunderstood again?

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3 minutes ago, Shamrock said:

both m/c's expereince suffering as a result

Please allow me to consider this detail. Though I still think the series title works quite well.

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I agree with @zx1ninja on the first title. Tragedy is a good way to "open" the series. It could go something like this:

 

- Tragedy in Sphinx (a good opening)

- Mystery in Sphinx (just a thought, of course)

- Solution in Sphinx (again, just an idea)

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To start, I am terrible at coming up with titles. But as a reader, I can give my opinion on what catches my attention.

I agree with using the word "Tragedy" in the tile for the first book. It really piques my interest. The issue with using "Sphinx" is that unless you also have ties to pyramids or Egypt or an actual Sphinx (other than the name of a town) it feels very misleading. So I think I'd agree keeping that in the series name, but not sure about the first book.  Although this suggestion from KR LaLonde could work too.

7 minutes ago, KR LaLonde said:

- Tragedy in Sphinx (a good opening)

 

Especially if I knew it was book 1 in a series, I feel very intrigued by how it starts and what will unravel.

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Also, with that summary, I feel like it wraps things up too easily by saying that they fall in love and are freed from their past, but yet there's somehow still a story there. I also don't know how to write a good summary, but personally, I'd like to know WHY they need to do something about this childhood enemy. Why is this person still a threat?

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Aww, thank you @JosiAtara. I've got a couple hundred titles "saved up" since I woke from my TBI over a decade ago. I have titles upon titles upon titles. Most I will never use, even though to me they have story plots to accompany them. If you ever need/want help with a title..... :)

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28 minutes ago, KR LaLonde said:

I see. It seems to me the series title (that's Demons of Sphinx, right?) works fine. Unless I misunderstood again?

 

No the bk1 title is Demons of Sphinx. The Sphinx series - is the working title of the series.

 

8 minutes ago, KR LaLonde said:

I know, self-promotion is frowned upon, isn't it? Sorry.

 

Not at all. If I do I will get in touch.

 

11 minutes ago, JosiAtara said:

'd like to know WHY they need to do something about this childhood enemy. Why is this person still a threat?

 

Fair point. I will do something about that.

 

Hate to say this but I am really not keen on the word 'tragedy' in the title. To me it sound a bit melodramatic.

But that is just me - a hard nose Brit.😃

 

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1 minute ago, Shamrock said:

But that is just me - a hard nose Brit.

You Brits and your word choices. ;)

 

I will continue to think on that if you want help with it.

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*Headslap* I forgot to ask exactly what demons is supposed to mean? Who are these demons?

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Yes, please all help appreciated.😃

 

The 'demons' are the after effects of their tragedies - i.e the things that stop them for moving on, being happy and regain their faith. Does that help?

 

@JosiAtara Here an attempt at addressing your good catch -

 

It is August 1982 in the in the small bible belt town of Sphinx, Tennessee. Two 18-year-old teenagers’ lives are transformed with life-changing tragedies that leave them traumatized and lost. Their only bond is their flight from the hometown and a mutual friend. Ten years later, still haunted by their traumas, they meet in York, England and fall in love. United, they return to Sphinx where they discover their childhood friend was the architect of their youthful tragedies. He becomes their most dangerous enemy once again when he traps them in a log cabin on their wedding night intent on a final act of revenge for the crime he holds them responsible for. To save their future, they must confront their foe once and for all.  (104)

 

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Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, Shamrock said:

Does that help?

Somewhat clearer. I may have more questions for you after I get back home.

 

Could you maybe just say Past Demons in Sphinx instead?

 

Although, with the further bit of explanation about what 'demons' are in the stories, I still think this title works.

Edited by KR LaLonde
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16 minutes ago, Shamrock said:

Hate to say this but I am really not keen on the word 'tragedy' in the title. To me it sound a bit melodramatic.

Hey, I respect that. I think you should like the title of your own book :)And I'm not actually opposed to the use of the word "demon" in the title even though it's Christian fiction. So "A Demon in Sphinx" might be more along the lines of what you'd want? But it still makes me think about Egypt. I get why you want to keep that word though, and there could be a way to use it in the title.


Ah, yes, now that summary ending shows why he's still around! I would suggest taking out the specifics of where he traps them, it just feels a little odd to add that specific while the rest of it feels more vague, so maybe something like this (my change is in bold). Otherwise, I do like that addition! (and my suggestions here might all be more for a blurb than a summary, so I am not offended if you don't use my advice!)
 

2 minutes ago, Shamrock said:

United, they return to Sphinx where they discover their childhood friend was the architect of their youthful tragedies. He becomes their most dangerous enemy once again with a final act of revenge for the crime he holds them responsible for. To save their future, they must confront their foe once and for all.

 

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Thanks @JosiAtara  A Demon in Sphinx sounds good - but I think there is still an issue for some Christian publishers/readers about the use of the word 'demon.' Personally I like your take.

 

I  like your edit on the summary but it does read more like a blurb.  Some agents just want one para summary giving the ending rather than a tease.  However, if I ever decide to Self Publish that will come in handy.😁

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2 hours ago, Shamrock said:

Sphinx is the town in which all 3 books are located in.

Then how about "Big trouble in Sphinx" LOL

 

 

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My suggestions:

 

- Revenge of the Sphynx (note: there is a music MP3 titled Sphinx' Revenge)

- Riddled with Guilt in Sphynx, Tennessee (a play on the famous "Riddle of the Sphynx" and "riddled with bullet holes")

- Stay Far Away from Sphynx (a warning and a bit of alliteration)

- Demons Don't Sleep in Sphynx, Tennessee (a play on your dialogue phrase "put their demons to sleep")

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7 hours ago, Shamrock said:

How do you choose the title for your books and how do you know if it promotes the right message?

 

I come up with an idea and tell it to my wife.  If her face scrunches up in disgust, I know I have to go back to the drawing board.

 

And a book title is too short to promote a message, in my opinion.

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