What’s in a name? Deciding on the title of the new book.
Choosing a title for your novel can be a daunting.
- Sometimes the title comes as a mainstay of your inspiration, and just saying the title aloud fills your mind with characters, scenes and adventures. All your friends say: That’s a great title!
- Sometimes you are not so lucky, so your title page has line after line all of which have been scored out as you strive for the perfect combination,
- Sometimes, as with a friend of mine, a book is published the same quarter with the same title (zeitgeist, I guess), and so the title, cover and design of your book are all changed by your publisher at the last possible moment.
So a few precautionary steps can be taken.
- If you love a title – either Google it or run it through Amazon – just because another book has the same title is not a bad thing, particularly in non-fiction, but do ask yourself how your Uncle Brian is going to distinguish your oeuvre from any other.
- If it is a word derived from an ancient or foreign tongue, or entirely made up – run the word through both a thesaurus and some translation software. Try to avoid giving offence, unless that is what you set out to do.
- For the sake of all that is good, do not ape the titles of great books, your work will only wither in their shadow and under the weight of many mostly scathing comparisons. This rule apparently does not apply to erotica, see Games of Throbs, Pride and Promiscuity, but these titles do, I think, illustrate how ludicrous ‘sound-a-like’ titles can be.
- Finally, check this database of registered brand names: Global Brand Database
It was at this last hurdle (checking Global Brand DB) that my book title Spider Riders of Sas Darona crashed and burned, ‘Spider Riders’ is, in fact, someone else’s copyright. If you have ever heard the phrase ‘kill your darlings’, then ditching a title you have loved for almost a year, is one of the cruellest blows. Still, I am a pro. So, back to the drawing board. I am currently working on a list of alternatives including:
Spider Lords of Sas Darona
Spider Masters of Sas Darona
Spider Hunters of Sas Darona
Also, I am kicking around:
Spider Nation – this is the name of a Fantasy football league in the US.
Spider Gypsies – tambourines anyone?
Pilgrim Spiders – The Mayflower and Huguenots, so probably not.
One obvious title was: The Spider King – but there are four novels with this title on Amazon.
However, I personally like: Guy Erma and the Spider King – this has possibilities.
It feels like the sequel to Guy Erma and the Son of Empire
One weird title was:The Spider Whisperer. Hmmm.. Intriguing, I would pick it up but not sure why.
So the jury is still out. If you at all interested in this game, please throw your suggestions into the ring.
Editing the finished manuscript
I found this article this week about editing a manuscript and thought it was interesting:
It talks about the first edit of a novel and how you have to assess whether the story hangs together.
The most important piece of advice is to put the manuscript in a drawer for three to four weeks, and then re-read it.
- Re-read it fast
- Re-read it like a reader
- Re-read it like it was the first time.
September 20th, that will be five weeks since I last looked at Spider Riders ( or whatever it is now to be called) I look forward to it.
What am I reading at the moment?
It’s summer time and with my writing finished, for now, it’s time to read. Mostly I’m reading about self-improvement and self-publishing, but I have read a few novels:
After Tomorrow by Gillian Cross
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
The secret guide to SELF-PUBLISHING by Richard McCartney
Blind Spots: 10 business myths you cannot ignore by Alexandra Levit
Clearly, I need to read more fiction. Please email me your recommendations.
What exactly is Blades fighting?
In the new novel, there are five pivotal fights using blades. Blades fighting is a mix between Capoeira and Ong Bak, but the story behind each fight is pure romance. Hence, this video is my favourite video of all time and evokes all the emotions I look for in my reading and writing.
So here it is my favourite video. Enjoy!
PS. Who reads to the end?
I am looking for 2 – 4 beta readers to take a look at the new novel in its unpolished state. As with Guy Erma and the Son of Empire, it’s a fast exciting read, and what I am looking for is a short reader report looking at:
- Does the story hang together?
- Where does the plot falter?
- What might be cut?
- What works?
- What do we need more of?
Interested. To be useful I would need your report within 14 days. Email me?
More from the Road to Publication:
Letters from Sally Ann Melia as she transforms The Spider Masters of Sas Darona from a manuscript into a published novel