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What else would you call these?

Titles. They are perhaps the first thing a potential reader sees when scanning a bookshelf or scrolling through an online store. With font-sizes approaching triple-digits, a title is even more important than a cover. 


I got to thinking about titles lately with a stand-alone fantasy book I have that's now in editing with Montag Press. I had a working title that I've never been crazy about (neither was my editor); now we're batting around some alternatives. It's a tricky business coming up with a title that both captures your story and markets your book. Sometimes a title hits you and it just sounds ... right. For me, Look With Your Eyes and Yonder & Far were settled and set in stone pretty early on in the creative process and never changed. The Mountain was more of a challenge to name (and, truth is, if I could've come up with something better, I would have). As for the current book in editing ... well, let's just say it doesn't seem to like its name so far. We'll get it pinned down, though. :)


There are so many different approaches to titling a book. You can do the iconic, one-word grab. Dune. There's a title that, even apart from the story, seemed destined to invoke something timeless. Others carry a stray phrase, something that only gains context from the story--To Kill a Mockingbird, for example--which intrigues and invites a reader to pick up the book. A title might harken the salacious (there's a host of recent books out with "F*ck" wedged into the title). Umberto Eco titled his masterpiece historical fiction novel, The Name of the Rose, not from anything to do with the story, but because he liked how it sounded (the Name of the Rose movie directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud actually wove in an ending line that tied the title in quite smoothly). 


Next to writing the hated back-cover blurb for a novel, there may be no harder exercise of summation and marketing than titling one's story.

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