The English word title, as in title of a book, is very old, a part of Old English vocabulary. They are very hard to write. [You can read what I have written here about some of my titles in a March 19, 2012 posting]. Sometimes a title emerges early in the book writing process. However, sometimes that doesn’t work—or is rejected as not helpful for a variety of reasons—and you have to create one. This is current because my editor and I have been trying to find a title for a new collection of short stories. It does not help insofar as this is a collection of stories, and trying to find a title that embraces all has been difficult. Between us, going back and forth, I think we have come up with something like fifteen titles—none of them working.
What do you want in a title? The title is often the first contact a potential reader has with a book. They may well hear of it before they ever see the actual book. Therefore, it is enormously important. It should have some energy. (Sophia’s War) It should be strongly suggestive of the book’s content. (Catch You Later, Traitor) It is great if you can extract a key line from your book. (City of Orphans) It helps if it is original. (Iron Thunder) (One title we came up with had been used more than fifteen times!) If it has a meaning all of its own, so much the better. (The Book without Words) Moreover, as an editor once suggested to me, in this age of the internet, with tiny cover images on the screen, the fewer the words the better. (Old Wolf)
Have we come up with a title? We have. Will I post it here? No. Why? I’m betting it will change yet again.