Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Titles hurt my brain

I'm not very good at coming up with book titles. And by 'not very good', I mean 'really quite rubbish'. I didn't even come up with ENTANGLED. Yes, I did manage to come up with TORN, but that was after much anguish and plenty of *facecat* (think *headdesk* but less jarring on the brain).

I spent most of the weekend trying to come up with a title for a book I haven't written yet. There was really no need to spend my time doing this. I should have been writing, obviously. But thinking up titles is the best type of procrastination, since you can convince yourself you're still working. And you are... sort of.

After a quick look at my bookshelves, here are some titles I love and how they made me feel when I first picked up the book:

The Forest of Hand and Teeth, Carrie Ryan (Ewww... sounds gross. Me like gross.)

When I Was Joe, Keren David (Who is Joe and why are you no longer him? Colour me intrigued.)

Twenty Boy Summer, Sarah Ockler (Twenty boys in one summer? Now that's impressive.)

Some Girls Are, Courtney Summers (SOME GIRLS ARE WHAT?! I need to know!)

Going Bovine, Libba Bray (Er...WTF?!)

Shark Girl, Kelly Bingham (Sharks? I love anything to do with sharks so I am bound to love this.)

So what do you look for in a book title? Are titles important to you? Any favourites?


  1. You know, I don't think I put all that much importance on a title. I didn't realise until I thought about answering this question. I'm a huge fantasy fan, so anything that sounds remotely paranormal, I'll pick up and read the back, but it does tend to be the author, the blurb, and sometimes the cover, that make more of an impact.

    Unless we're talking Tom Clempson's One Seriously Messed-Up Week: In The Otherwise Mundane And Uneventful Life Of Jack Samsonite. I need to read that book simply because the title is just wow. But it also sounds really good too.

    And I love Con & Conjure by Lisa Shearin - because I won the competition to name it, ha! :)

  2. I was just thinking about titles recently. Lisa McMann's new book has been published as Cryer's Cross in the US but is being published as The Missing in the UK. Cryer's Cross is an excellent title - what does it mean? Is it an object, a place? What??? Also, it has a slightly creepy feel whereas The Missing is entirely generic, doesn't make me particularly keen to pick it up and is generally a bit blah.

    Other titles that rock are The Knife of Never Letting Go (er, what?), Candor, An Abundance of Katherines, The Sky Is Everywhere, Special Lessons In Calamity Physics and Neverwhere - all made me wonder what on earth the books could possibly be about, which in turn made me pick them up and ultimately buy them. Oh, and Entangled of course, which made me think I had a feel for the book and then proved to be a great title in an entirely different way.

  3. Jo- You got to name a book? That's the coolest competition EVER! I hope you're getting a signed copy too?

    Splendibird- I agree. Cryer's Cross is a great title - definitely intriguing. Love the others too, especially An Abundance of Katherines. And yeah, Entangled isn't bad too!

  4. I'm also no good at coming up with titles. For my current story I've been thinking that Allegiance might be a good one, because it sums up one of the big themes of the story, but unfortunately there is already going to be a book coming out next year with that title. A book that I am VERY anxious to read. I might do it anyway, though. I'm eleven, it's not like I'm going to try to get this published anytime soon... probably not. Can't say anything for sure, though. ;)

    Libba Bray is fabulous at coming up with titles. (Or her editor or publisher is hehe;)) A Great and Terrible Beauty, Rebel Angels (not so much, but it's still good) and The Sweet Far Thing. (Just thinking of that last book makes me cry. If you haven't read it, don't read the rest of this comment, but... Kartik. *Wails and sobs* I will NEVER forgive her for doing that. NEVER. I gave that book five stars, anyway. ;)

  5. I know! I was so excited I won - especially as I thought most of my entries were pretty rubbish. A signed copy of the book wasn't part of the prize, it was just getting my name on the Acknowlegdments page - but I will be getting a signed copy anyway. The author has been super awesome with that kind of thing - I got a glossy cover page and a galley page proof of the Acknowledgments page signed, and now I shall be getting a signed book too! Exciting! :)

  6. I just got Entangled in the mail and I'm going to start it today -- I'm so excited!

  7. Edit: I'm going to read Wither first. THEN I'm going to read Entangled. Sorry. ;) So many good books to read! It's fabulous, but it's overwhelming, too. I'm particularly excited about Entangled because you seem to have taken a very unique approach to it. I'm looking forward to seeing how that plays out...

  8. I know! Titles are alot of trouble! I'm an aspiring author, hoping to be as great as you one day and it took me literally YEARS to find the right title, and all I've come up with is utter rubbish: Deadly Paradox, Deadly Kiss, Love Me Dead...and still the title doesn't fit. Well best of luck chosing a title. Do you even know what the stories going to be about? I'd be glad to help but I need a little summary but I know you'll get there. Best of luck!

    Much love,
    --Jordan:) <3

  9. Just found this - thanks for indlucing When I Was Joe. I was pretty chuffed with it when I thought it up, but a lot of people get it wrong - My Name is Joe, or I am Joe are particular un-favourites of mine. I've just discovered that it is going to be renamed by the German publishers as More than just a witness (Mehr als nut ein Zeuge). Feels a bit strange to me, but I bet it sounds good in German.