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How do you choose your books title

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@suspensewriter and many others didn't think much of my Hating God Trilogy titles. He hasn't even seen my non-fiction "Losing Attitude" series!  I know that I came up with "The Losing Attitude for Dieters" before I ever wrote the book. I was Just wondering how other people go about picking their titles.





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8 minutes ago, Tom Laurie said:


You never come up with the title half way through?

Can't say that I have. Titles usually come pretty easily for me as I am thinking them up daily but for the book I'm writing right now I do not have a title yet.

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i typically derive the names of my books from the meta-narrative or ultimate purpose behind why I want to tell that story. The series I wrote about the problem of pain (and the answers to the question of why God allows pain and evil to exist in the world)  is called Bane of Disaster (a play on words, since Bane means in essence 'to destroy' and disaster is something that 'destroys' - so in essence, the book title is the destruction of destruction) which showcases that the book is an attempt to assuage the pain and evil issue, giving sufficient reasoning to put the question to rest. 


Book one of that series is entitled Pain of Triumph. and it illustrates the main point I want to show in that book is that resilience and perseverance through pain can produces fruit and great growth (and that pain can have great purpose behind it) 


book two of that series is called HeartBurn, and is called that because of the great turmoil and painful experiences that occur in it - because God doesn't promise us a life free of trouble, but in fact promises us trials will come. 


In my fantasy, the name is pretty self-explanatory. 😁 Adventures of the Last Aygiff. I wrote it because I wanted young youths to have a fun, Christian-oriented moral book to read. The second book I plan to write for the fantasy series is subtitled "Out of Madness" - because the main character is going to lose his mind to his overactive essence (magical system) and loses his memory and reverts to animalistic instincts (kind of like Nebuchadnezzar, just not because he rebelled against God). He eventually finds help getting his essence under control, but he still has amnesia. He slowly finds himself through learning about morality and considering who he is as a person. it doesn't bring his memories back, but he discovers himself, and then through extraneous circumstances, is eventually able to find his memories again. 


hopefully those examples explains how I find the names for my books through the 'meta-purpose', if you will... 

Edited by Jared Williams
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I imagine it's a different process for fiction vs. non-fiction.


I don't write non-fiction, but notice that those titles need to convey a clear definition of the subject matter.


In fiction, I think titles play more to feelings and emotional responses - as well as genera expectations. Personally, I try to wait until I've completed the first draft before attempting to come up with a title. I sometimes come up with a title before I finish, but only because it clearly fits.


I also look for uniqueness in titles. I'll do a search on Amazon to make sure a title idea hasn't been used. Before I published my first novel, I was shocked that my title idea hadn't been used: Chasing Redemption. So I planted that flag as fast as I could, but other books have come out since with the same title. Not much you can do about that. You can't copyright titles. But it's always good to be first.



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I recently made a change with my main project: I swapped the title and the sub-title, which made it more succinct and helped make a needed shift in the book's perspective.


With other works, I simply give things a temporary title until I know what direction the project is actually going to go. I might have an idea what I think it should be called before I start, but I don't make anything official until later.

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Like Joshua, I tend to give my WIP a temporary title, which is usually a hint at what I think the sub-text of the book is about.

Once I have completed a pre-beta-read draft, I will then think harder about the title - I want one that is going to tease the reader, make them want to pick up the book but also encapsulates the essence of the book's story.

Inspiration can come from various sources - a phrase in my research, the Bible,  a play on words.


Advice I have been given is at this stage the title is aimed at grabbing the poor unfortunate PA to an agent who has the just of spending their evenings and weekends reading the slush pile of MS to weed out the ones to pass on to the senior agent. Nine times out of ten a publisher will change the title anyway. 

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20 hours ago, Accord64 said:

I also look for uniqueness in titles. I'll do a search on Amazon to make sure a title idea hasn't been used.

That is always a part of my process.

After that, I think of puns or wordplays:


 A Most Refined Dragon - My dragon fantasy is about a dragon who has to overcome a lack of refinement (bad odor and jealous temper) while also building an oil refinery. The most important criteria was that it have the word dragon in the title. I also wanted a hint of Chinese American word usage, as the heroine was Chinese American.


The Endless Hunt: Or If I've found God, Why am I still Looking? - My first nonfiction. I could have used "search" or "journey", but "hunt" sounds dangerous, like hunting wild animals. The subtitle was intended to be irreverent and fairly express how it is hubris to think that one ever fully finds God. There is always more to discover.


Job Rises: 13 Keys to a Resilient Life - Again, I like to pair something philosophical but vague to a clarifying subtitle. I blatantly copied the self-help industry penchant for numbers and the word "keys". Why "Job Rises"? Because the inspiration to write about Job came to me while I was meditating on one of my favorite proverbs: "for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes." (Proverbs 24:16) I asked myself, who fell many times but rose in the end? Job was the only name that came to mind, and the book even refers to being safe form seven calamities.



Seven habits, Five people, twelve steps, you get the picture. Why thirteen?


From six calamities he will rescue you;
    in seven no harm will touch you. (Job 5:19)


Six plus seven is thirteen. (I also found thirteen steps and decided not to make the number a nice easy ten or twelve just to look tidy.)


I also used the word "resilient" because resilience is a whole subgenre (which I didn't know before I write it) and because that word popped into my head before I even began the research. 


Peace, like Solomon Never Knew. That is the working title for my current book. It is about Ecclesiastes. I decided to hint at a paradox in the title, because the book is full of them. Solomon never found peace, and Ecclesiastes on the surface is a downer of a book, but in fact, the purpose of the book is to lay out the path to a peaceful life. So a book about a man who never found peace who himself wrote a book about how to find peace disguised as a book about the futility of existence.


The Loyalty of Trolls is the working title of a YAF I have on the back burner. There is an old Icelandic saying about trolls, which translates to "the loyalty of trolls". The story is about the dangers of misplaced loyalty in people ready to abuse the trust of their loyal followers. It is also about Trolls, and not the internet kind. Loyalty is the main theme, so it is pretty on the nose.


Years ago I read tips on naming books:


  - a place name

  - an event

  - a person's name

  - a famous line of poetry (often Shakespeare)

  - an intriguing object





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I generally pick a title I think is pretty good (short, catchy, fits the story theme well.) Then I share it with people here and everyone tells me how it just won't work, so I change it.

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11 hours ago, Jeff Potts said:

I am horrible at naming things.  Coming up with a title is simply an exaggerated extension of this disability...

You really aren't as bad as you think. Just loosen up. If you take almost any sentence and rearrange the words, you can make a book title!


I have great book titles for you, mined from your own words:


The Naming of Horrible Things

The Things are Coming

Up With Simplicity!

The Exaggerated Extension of His Titular Disability




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😂 Thanks  @paulachernoch.  


Just had feedback from my editor. They didn't like either of my suggestions. I had 'Home is never what you left left behind' - way to long  & 'The Legacy of Uncle Ernest' sounded too much like an Edwardian novel. The only positive thing they said was that the title should reflect the inner conflict of the two m/cs which I agree with.

Thinking cap on again.

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