What’s in a title?

As Rodney Dangerfield once quipped, “I bought a book called How to make it big…it was all about business!”

Titles are important. They can make or break a book, a movie, or even a video game. So when it came time to choose a name for my book, I really gave it some thought.

The title has to convey what the book is about. At the same time, it needs to be memorable. How many of you remember the book, Bugles Rang True? Probably not many of you since it came out in 1936. Luckily the author had last minute doubts, and changed the name to Gone with the Wind.

And what about Incident at West Egg?  It became The Great Gatsby! Wow. When I heard the title Incident at West Egg, I immediately thought of a lone sperm with super powers, an English butler, and a seedy town called Fallopia. But I digress….

Titles are important, especially for new writers.  Unless you’re John Grisham or Stephanie Meyer, your newly released book will not end up on the big tables as you enter Barnes & Noble. This coveted location is reserved for best-selling authors and the literary agent whom the store manager just banged in the stockroom.

For most of us though, our books will sit on the shelves, spine facing out, mixed in with 100’s of others. This is why a great title is important. As a potential buyer examines the shelves, you want a title that  jumps out and piques the reader’s interest. Enticing the reader to pick up and examine the book is half the battle.

The cover is also important. For my cover, I made sure that it actually reflected what was in the book. No smoke and mirrors. I can’t even count the number of times I bought a video or DVD because of the scantily-clad chick on the cover – only to discover that she’s not naked in the movie, nor is she even IN the movie. Plus, I can’t return it to Blockbuster now because it’s already been opened. I can’t even return the tubs of “movie popcorn” because I’ve already cut a hole in the bottoms of three of the tubs.

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