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The Importance of a Good Title – complete article

In honor of the the CMash giveaway of my novel The Kennedy Secret which ends on Thursday (hint: get on it for a free book), I’m posting here my article The Importance of a Good Title in its integrity.

Here we go…

If you spend more than 30 seconds on your favorite search engine you’ll find there are dozens of articles on the subject of titles. Every book on writing will usually have a section on this topic as well.

That’s because it’s important. Before your reviews, before your blurbs and synopsis, even before your cover, your title is the first thing a potential buyer will notice. It is your primary marketing tool.

Do you remember the movie Snakes on a Plane? Of course you do and it isn’t because it was memorable or that it was a box office behemoth, making gazillions of dollars; it was neither. You remember it because of the title. Those four little words managed to sum up the entire film. You knew what you were getting into from the get-go.

That’s what I strived for with my thriller The Kennedy Secret. Just reading it you get a sense of what the story will be about. Hint: it involves the Kennedy family and they have a secret. Smart, no? I did struggle a bit on the subject. I’m a writer who usually likes to skirt the obvious, I enjoy including vague references to history and fancy words.

This can be the publishing equivalent of committing suicide.

When I was in film school we had to study The Unbearable Lightness of Being. I fell in love with that title, it sounded so poetic, so distinguished. Not long after I wrote a screenplay which I called The Baneful Quiescence of Wrath. I was so in lust with that title!

Some months later, a Hollywood producer called me to discuss the script which I had submitted to him. He gave me a bunch of reasons why he didn’t want to buy it from me. Fine, I understand. But his last comment stung the most. He said, “Change the title. I didn’t understand it and had to look up every word in the dictionary.”

So spend some time finding the title which represents your story perfectly without giving too much away. It is the most important piece of advertising you’ll ever write.







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