I’m currently working on the third instalment of the Amethyst series. Title unknown at this stage. For me, naming a book is actually one of the hardest parts. A good title is supremely important. It makes an impression to the reader before they even open the book. It will linger with them and, if they talk to their friends about the novel, it’s the usually the first thing they say as well.
But what is the process of choosing a good title? I’ve received a lot of advice from people. The one I heard the most was ‘It will strike you like a bolt of lightning. Suddenly you will just know!’ I got this advice from readers, not authors.
I took this approach when trying to name by first novel, Birth By Fire’s Embrace. It was long after I had finished it and was well into the editing that I realised it wasn’t that easy. A good title needs working, patience and a lot of thought put into it. I wrestled with titles for weeks before I finally settled on Birth By Fire’s Embrace.
And now for the flip side. About a month after finishing Birth By Fire’s Embrace, I started work on it’s sequel. I was typing away at home one night when I paused. It had just hit me. The title. After painful weeks wrecking my brain for the first novel, this one was developed in a matter of seconds. I finished that novel with a smile as, for me, the hardest part was already done.
I had hoped that the same would happen again. Tragically so far, I’ve had no such luck. But I have hope.
So the advice I give out is as such.
‘The title can strike you in a moment of inspiration. But don’t waste time waiting on that moment because chances are it’ll be years after you’re finished. Put your manuscript aside for an hour and just think. Write down any words that appeal to you and have fun with the title. Don’t make it too obscure but don’t make it too obvious either. If you’re still having trouble, don’t be afraid to ask for advice from friends or family.’
But most importantly, don’t worry too much. It’s important but if you spend years trying to find the perfect title, you’ve wasted time you could have put into another project.
Choose one you’re happy with and be confident others will like it too. Chances are, they will.