#IWSG: What Makes A Great Book Title?

It’s the first Wednesday of February and that means a new post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG).

One of my pet peeves going to any type of conference with sessions is when the title of the session has nothing to do with the actual presentation. I have gone to countless sessions just like this—only to leave mid-way through disappointed. I don’t think it’s fair to the participants nor to the presenter. Someone should have told them their title didn’t match up to the story they were about to tell.

I think the same applies to books. We’ve all seen them on the shelves. We’ve read the title and they draw us in. We buy the book and take it back home, only to start it and realize we just wasted $12 on a book we’ll never finish. I think the title of a book also goes hand-in-hand with the genre and the cover design. They should all be working together to sell the story to the reader. If one of them are off, you can kiss your ideas of fame goodbye. Well, that may be a little extreme but you get where I am going with this.

Fancy Coffins To Make Yourself, Quilt in a Day: Still Stripping After 25 Years,  and The Night Dad Went to Jail are just a few examples that I’ve found of bad titles.

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, Their Eyes Were Watching God, and A Wrinkle In Time are just some examples of the many great book titles out there.

To me a great book title will 1) reveal a part of the story 2) promise me something in the end 3) intrigue me and 4) enchant me.

What makes a great book title to you?

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4 Responses

  1. sarahannefoster says:

    I think that titles are definitely important in catching a reader’s attention, but I don’t think I’ve ever given a title much thought after I’ve started reading the book. Or maybe I just haven’t come across one that didn’t fit. It took me forever to come up with a title for my WIP because nothing I came up with seemed to fit.

    February IWSG Co-host

    • R.K. Grow says:

      Hi Sarah! Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. I don’t know what it is about titles, but I spend my whole time reading the book trying to find the title. Whether it is a catch phrase or a word used over and over in the story, I delight in finding the connection. It’s a mystery I must solve. And the title for my WIP has changed a few times. It may change again but I enjoy finding the write words.

  2. Jemima Pett says:

    I’m intrigued by “still stripping after 25 years”… Sounds like they’re trying to get the woodchip wallpaper off that I put on 25 years ago!

    • R.K. Grow says:

      It is quite the title Jemima. It’s a quilting book so I think it’s referring to the process of stripping. Now I need to ask my quilter friends what that means.

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