Tip on the Pen: Titles


I’m going to be honest here. When I first signed up to Wattpad (just over two years ago, now), I was actually alarmed by the titles some of the books had.

You’ve probably all come across them. “Oh My Gosh! My Ex-Boyfriend’s Brother is a Vampire” or “I’m On The Run From My Criminally Insane Father”. Okay, maybe I haven’t seen ones that bad, but I’ve definitely seen at least five too many variations of “Rejected By My Mate, The Alpha”.

Why are these types of titles bad?

Generally, when a person picks up a book they look at three things before deciding whether it’s worth reading: the cover, then the title, then the blurb. I can’t speak for everybody, but I know that when I see a book with a title like that it automatically goes into the ‘no’ pile.

Simplify put, it’s uncreative and overdone. Readers can only see so many versions of “Saving _____” or “Living with the _____ Boys” before it starts to sound like they’ve read it before.

A book’s title is supposed to uniquely identify it – to stand out from the rest. How is your book supposed to do that if it follows the same template as so many before it?

Titles are hard

I get it. I usually come up with a story based of a random title idea I’ve had, but when I’ve had the idea first, it was difficult to come up with a title to suit it.

There are so many books in the world–even more so with sites like Wattpad being so popular–that not a whole lot is truely original anymore. But remember: behind every cliche title there had to have been an original idea that started it.

So how do I avoid this?

+Make it short. It needs to be easy to type, write, tweet, ect.

+Make it memorable. How much does “Ali’s Locket” differ from “Alyson’s Necklace”? Not a whole lot. Readers should be able to easily recal it, and write it down.

+…and easy to say. How can people spread the word about your book if they can’t say it?

+It has to relate to the book. And I’m not just talking about the main character’s name, or something like that. Mockingbirds were only mentions a couple of times in Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird”, but it still works.

+Make it interesting. In my opinion, this isprobably the most important part. You want readers to be drawn in by your title, so they’ll want to find out more

Things to keep in mind

There are always exceptions to any rule. “And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks” (which I haven’t read, but I’ve heard good things about), has a long title, but it’s unique, memorable, and interesting.

Remember: You’re going to have to say the name of your book a lot. Are you going to be excited about it every time? If not, maybe you need to have a look at some other ideas.

Does your title stand out in 130 million? (Google has actually calculated this. Check out the external link.)


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