Saturday, February 16, 2013

Books Need Titles

I can't name things.  My first puppy arrived in the mid-60's.  I held a contest and the winning entry was Ringo. What can I say, the Beatles were the craze.  I later got a cat and named it Kitty. Then we adopted a dog mainly because he already had a name.  If my wife let me name the kids, they'd be A and B.  I know my limits.

Still my book needed a title.  Titles are huge for books.  Without a title how could the library file it? How could the New York Times dub it a bestseller?  Something has to go on the cover. Honestly, without an intriguing title no one but your mother will give your book a passing glance.  You've got 3 seconds to sell your book. If the title doesn't hook potential readers, your book is dead-on-arrival.

So titles are huge and I can't name things.  Great combination. I'm a reader. What do I like?  I like short, intriguing titles, like The Shack.  How about The Jump? The book encouraged taking risks.  It encouraged readers to jump off the porch.  I had a working title.  It wasn't great, but a beginning. Eventually I realized the book wasn't asking readers to jump off the porch, but leap off a cliff.  The Leap - a title I could live with.

Google revealed many other authors liked that title too.  I needed a subtitle.  The book was about walking by faith into an adventurous, but uncertain future.  So I dubbed it, The Leap: One Man's Journey into Faith.  It wasn't quite there. Maybe that's what publishers do; replace your crappy title with something that snaps.  Then it hit me.  My title broke writing's cardinal rule: it portrayed the writer's point of view rather than the readers.  What benefit will the reader get from reading my book?  The Leap: Living the Life you Dream About. That's been its name ever since.

Hope you like it; otherwise I'm calling it Book A.