by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban
Given that my agent has requested my full manuscript, I have stopped rewriting my query and, instead, dedicated my efforts to another, if possible, more difficult task: finding an enticing title.
I must confess that if writing a query/blurb/pitch is intimidating for me, looking for a title is paralyzingly scary. My track history of naming my books having been one of utter failure so far.
I called my first novel Leaving the Castle, a title that, in my opinion, conveyed my protagonist’s goal of leaving her father’s castle to find freedom and live life on her own terms. My editor didn’t agree and published it as Two Moon Princess (http://www.amazon.com/Two-Moon-Princess-Carmen-Ferreiro-Esteban/dp/1933718277/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1317490293&sr=1-1).
I thought I had found the perfect title when I named my most recent YA fantasy, Requiem for a King. But when I published my first page for critique at the writeon.com conference last year, I was told my writing was engaging but the title made my book sound terribly boring. Humbled by such comment, I changed the title to The Revenge of the Wolf King and, voila, my rate of manuscript requests increased substantially after I queried with the new title.
Seeing that my instincts cannot be trusted when it comes to naming my book, I studied the titles of many classical and modern books looking for inspiration. I also read many articles on the subject.
From Jane Lebak’s recent blog post, You Called it What? (http://querytracker.blogspot.com/2011/09/you-called-it-what.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+QueryTracker+%28QueryTracker.net%29) I copied the following advice:
“Your title should fit (and be specific for) your book.”
“It must fit your genre.”
It “should convey tension” and “elicit an emotional reaction.” A good title allows you to “predict the central conflict without knowing any more about the story.”
Overall the purpose of a title is to intrigue, to “entice someone to learn more about the book.”
It’s all great advice, yet still I can’t decide.
Here is the list I have compiled so far: