Choosing a Title for Your Book (guest post by B. L. Ham)


Sometimes a book title flies into an author's mind, and from there begins the writing of a story or  a book. More often, though, an author agonizes over the title of a book, and that agony can slow down or even preclude the writing of the book.

Does not having a title mean not having a book? No. Just put nearly anything as a working title (only because you will need to file your documents under some title), and write the book. Focus on the theme of the book and the goal that you want to reach.

Why are you writing the book? Let the words for that play out in your story.

What is the story about? Develop it.

Who are the characters? Develop them.

What is the takeaway you want for readers? Make sure that is clear.

Along the way, the title will likely become obvious. If it does not, stay with your working title. Make it short (less than 8 words). Make it clearly connected with the theme/message of your book. Make it your 8-second elevator speech about the book. Then, send it off to a publisher. Publishers do not acquire books based on title. They acquire books based on content and quality of writing. If you cannot find a good title, once a publisher has acquired the book, your editor will help you with that. Editors know what kinds of titles help to sell books--or at least bring initial attention to them.

As for the title that floated into your consciousness and grabbed your attention, prompting you to write the book? More frequently than you might think, those titles get changed before publication.

(B. L. Ham is an acquisitions editor for a small press and author of MSI-published book, Publishing for Smarties: Finding a Publisher. Available through the MSI Press webstore, retailres, and online booksellers.

Note: The first edition of this book is on sale for $5 (while supplies last). Available only through the MSI Press webstore, while supplies last:. Click here.


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