Hopefully, when the mental health industrial complex gets around to updating the DSM-5, they will have a section on “Book Title Attachment Disorder.”
Symptoms of B-TAD are refusal to listen to reasonable alternatives, applying divine inspiration to a title, and extreme anxiety when someone who titles books as a profession wants to change it.
Of course, I am joking. I think. Likely some deeper psychological issue going on inside me.
I am probably not the only person who started writing something after first thinking of a catchy title and then building an entire work off it.
I am also likely not the only person who started writing something after thinking of a catchy title and decided it wasn’t the best title and changed it.
Publishers and authors have been changing direction on titles for a very long time. Here’s a post I wrote in 2016 on Choosing a Good Title.
When writing anything, don’t get too attached to your inspired title. And, for sure, be open to changing it if someone who knows more than you about effective titling suggests something they think is better.
Book-cover design and the words on it are part of the marketing for a book. These days, with online search such a crucial part of the process of selling books, it takes a different process than the old days, whenever those were.
It’s been said before: While you can’t tell a book by its cover, you sell a book by the cover; and the title and subtitle are important ingredients of it.
I’ve been around book covers and titles for a long time. Here are some observations about the titling process:
Titling a book is more scientific than creative.
You need to be aware of other books with the same title. While titles can’t be copyrighted, if you can avoid confusion, please do so.
Internet search keywords are important in the title/subtitle copy. Many publishers research words commonly used in searches and make sure they are included. This is an expertise most authors do not have because they can get emotionally attached to a title they selected.
If you are self-publishing and trying to come up with a good title on your own, rather than asking friends and family for their opinions, maybe instead discuss with someone with a marketing background or some knowledge of keywords and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Titles should be held lightly. The more intractable you become, the greater the chance you will have a less-than-effective title and, as a result, less-than-expected book sales.
If you self-publish, it is advisable to involve another person to edit your work to get another set of eyeballs on your manuscript. The same for the title when you spend a few hundred dollars to have someone with marketing experience (specifically online marketing) weigh in on it.
You work for months or years to write a book. The title and subtitle deserve an appropriate level of scrutiny, or they might be the only thing you write that another person will read.