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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What's in a Title?

Do you like coming up with titles for your work? Or do you struggle with every one? Are titles even important?

Check out a great article on titles today over at "From the Heart," the blog of my agent's company.


"Spine-Out Titles" by Andy Scheer

Three little words. Maybe five. Never more than seven.

No matter how much time you spent crafting your manuscript, the success of your project hinges on whether it has an effective title.

If you haven't done so already, get used to this idea. It will hold true until you work yourself up the ladder to A-list status. At which point your name becomes the drawing card for readers, and the publisher displays it on the cover even more prominently than your book's title. (And then, with your name in such huge type, there's no room for a rambling title.)

You have my permission to endulge for a moment in that A-list fantasy. Okay, just another minute. Now stop fantasizing. Remember, it's the struggle that readers most enjoy. So if you struggle to craft an effective title, keep struggling. In the end, you'll have more readers to enjoy what you struggled to create.

This past weekend I indulged one of my favorite pastimes: browsing through used book stores. Actually, thrift stores with excellent used book departments. (The book section of the Goodwill stores in Colorado Springs actually offers quality fresh coffee.)

Yet even with a pleasant, well-lighted environment, it's still retailing at the most basic. No end caps, no displays of the latest releases—not even separation by genre. (On good days, all the fiction's in one section, the nonfiction in another—mostly—paperbacks on one side, hardcovers on the other.)

And all the books are spine out. So everything rests on those three little words. Maybe five. Never more than seven.

Read the rest here.

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