Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Writer Wednesday: Titling Your Book

Two weeks ago, Mirka Breen asked me how I come up with the titles of my books. The question actually took me by surprise because I'm the first to admit I'm terrible at coming up with titles. My flash drive consists of manuscripts with the following file names:

New Idea

Aren't those just so imaginative and gripping? ;)

Fun fact for you: After I wrote The Monster Within, I had no idea what to call the book. It took me longer to title it than it did to write it. I got the title from a line in the book that mentioned a monster within the MC. So my first tip is to search your manuscript for a phrase that really hits on the tone and plot. Then play around with it to see if you can make that phrase work as a title.

When I wrote my Into the Fire trilogy, I knew my characters would be phoenixes. Using "fire" in my title seemed appropriate, and since my MC was about to be reborn for the first time, I felt Into the Fire suited the book. So there I used the story itself to dictate the title.

For my upcoming suspense, Lies We Tell, I have a main character who is living a lie. She spends every day telling the same lie, so this title was actually pretty obvious to me. 

After Loving You was one of the books that I titled before I started writing because my idea was to write about a couple trying to figure out how to live after losing their first loves. 

I like to jot down possible titles and play around with them to see what sounds the best. Then I go on Amazon and search for books with that title. You don't want a title that's been used so much that your book will be lost in a long list of search results.

I hope that helps a little, Mirka. If anyone else has any tricks for selecting titles, please share them in the comments.

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.


  1. Good idea. Whatever a title ends up being, it has to sound distinctive.

  2. Sometimes a title will just come to me. I write it down to see if a story comes out of it. My titles sometimes change two or three times before I settle on the one that sounds right.

    1. Yeah, I've changed titles too. Sometimes you have to play around with them.

  3. A wonderful hint you put forth, to search meaningful lines or phrases inside the manuscript.
    When I title a story, it's invariably before I even write the first line. My titles are the themes of the stories, and having them there helped me stay focused on the stories I intend to tell. What happens later is less helpful. I get so attached to the titles that I can't imagine better ones, and there are better ones.

  4. The last book that I purchased for its title alone was Blink. It was amazingly a great book. Title can bring more than the average reader.

    1. I've read books where I can't figure out how the title applies at all. I think sometimes authors or publishers choose titles to grab your attention even if they don't quite fit the story.

  5. It's funny--for me, sometimes the title comes with the idea. When it doesn't come with the idea, I never like the title. Ever. It feels like they have to be tied together from the start for me to really feel like it "fits."

  6. For my current historical WIP, a phrase from my research jumped out at me. It was distinctive, intriguing, and reflected the theme.

    Other times, I've come up with a list of possibilities, and asked my critique group for their favourite.


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