Got your attention, didn't it?
I have included for illustration's sake a photo of Justin Timberlake only because he did, of course, bring sexy back. To be honest, Lance was always my favorite NSYNC member, and well . . . you know how that turned out.
Today is all about--you guessed it! Creating titles that catch your readers' attention. Titling your manuscript can be so difficult, because you have to sum up the sentiment and all the layers of your book into a short little phrase. Some people will tell you not to spend too much time on your title because a publishing house will change it anyway, but I would disagree with that, because you need a good title to catch the attention of a publishing house or agent in the first place. Not to mention, wouldn't you rather have the chance to title it yourself, picking something that's consistent with your book's overall vibe? So here are some things to keep in mind when working on your titles that should increase your chances of getting to keep the original title when the book does sell.
- Your title is your first opportunity for marketing. So make it good.
- Use a consistent tone as what you use in the book. Have you read My Life As A Doormat by Rene Gutteridge? It's pretty much one of the best books of all time, and the tone throughout is as funny as the title sounds. What about A Grownup Kind of Pretty by Jocelyn Jackson? I rented this one from the library but couldn't get into it enough to finish. That said, I love the title and think it showcases Jocelyn's lyrical writing style so well.
- Create a hook that catches attention and makes us what to find out what this story's all about.
- Add layers of depth to the title's implications. Another one of my favorite books of all time is Miss Invisible by Laura Jensen Walker. At the beginning of the story, two main things drive the character: she is indeed a "miss" and it not exactly thrilled about that fact, and she prefers, at all costs, to remain invisible.
- Keep it relatively short.
- Create a title that will only become more interesting after someone has read the story. Examples of this are Pride and Prejudice, To Kill A Mockingbird, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Eats, Shoots, & Leaves, and Where the Wild Things Are.
- Keep the target audience in mind.
- Irony, or a play off a name. A couple of my favorite examples of this are Love Starts With Elle by Rachel Hauck, and Savannah from Savannah by Denise Hildreth. Also, Laura Jensen Walker is a superstar at this. Reconstructing Natalie, Daring Chloe, and Becca by the Book are all other great examples. Can you tell I'm a Laura Jensen Walker fan?
A good title, like a good cover, can set you apart from other books as readers who may be unfamiliar with your writing browse through the bookshelves. In my opinion, it's one of the most important ways to catch the attention of readers. I know I've picked up many books based off their titles alone. Haven't you?
Okay, so now I need your help! I'm entering Family Fiction's short romance contest, and I need a clever title that will catch everyone's attention. Here's my setup. A woman is in an airplane, and she fingers her engagement ring, considering whether or not her fiance has found the note she left in his mailbox to break up with him. Then she gets off the plane and runs into her true love from the past--the man from the lake house. Need I say more? She sees him, and makes her confession. She is in town again for a reason. She is dying. He's clearly upset, but he tells her he's taking her back to the lake house, which she finds out he bought because he never did get over her. So it's in the discovery of terminal illness that she finally starts living.
Here are some possible titles:
The Moment Life Begins
The Lake House
Love in an Airport Terminal
Sweet Memories: The Past that Wouldn't Stay Gone
Old flames, Baggage, and a Note in the Mailbox
The Sun Sets in Georgia
Which of these titles do you like the best? Or can you come up with another one? Also, would you be willing to give some examples of your own favorite book titles? I'm interested to see what everyone's interests are!
*Photos from http://www.dosomething.org/category/tags/justin-timberlake, http://revdavidh.blogspot.com/2012/05/family-ministry-where-wild-things-are.html