What should I look for when choosing a title for a work?
(aka Lana at Lana Phillips's blog)
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In a word? Flavor. Your working title (always think of it as such, because publishers frequently retitle works) should hint at the reading experience your book will provide.
So much depends upon a red wheelbarrow, er, your genre and approach. Look at titles in the section where you believe your book would be shelved, especially ones that take an approach similar to yours (in terms of tone and pace and level of seriousness). What naming conventions do you notice? One evocative noun? Verb phrases? Soft, shivery alliteration? Obscure literary references? Zany mash-ups? Treat that convention like a poetic form and challenge yourself to brainstorm a dozen possibilities that reflect your content but fit the form.
Once you've done that, run your favorites past LOTS of people--those who've seen your manuscript and those who haven't. Especially get the opinion of folks in your target audience. Tell them your logline, or your one paragraph summary, and ask which potential title sounds like it matches best.
Some opinions will be more useful than others. If votes seem split, go with your gut.
What do you think, readers? How did you go about choosing a working title? What are some of your favorite book titles that express flavor well?
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