Thursday, October 18, 2018

How important is a title?

I met with a writer friend the other day. Seems great minds think alike. We are both working on personal collections. I am convinced readers will purchase his book before mine, simply because his title is a hoot. I am not at liberty to share the title at this time, but trust me, if you are a writer, you would laugh out loud.

Do titles sell you on a book?

Do you have a preference for long titles or short?
Do you like titles that sound like a newspaper headline?
Does a title capture the essence of what's to come? Does it entice? Evoke emotion?
Have you ever been impressed or misled by a title?

I am reading three books: Folly Beach, by Dorothea Benton Frank; We Are Water, by Wally Lamb; Save Me, by Lisa Scottoline. Three different genres, two I chose because I like the authors. One book has not lived up to my expectation, one surprised me, and the other is written in my preferred writing style.

One of my favorite books is, I Know This Much is True. I read the jacket flap but had already decided, based on the title, I wanted to read this book.

What is your opinion?

If you were going to write a collection of personal essays based on your own life, what would your title be? Come on give it a try. 


Val said...

Of course I can't reveal my title! It's a quote of disgruntledness from Genius during his pre-tween years. If your inquiring mind can't live without it, send me an email, and I'll reply with it.

If my sister wrote a book about her experiences, I would suggest her quote from this week, relating to her failed Halloween costume competition: "With Each Step I Took, I Was Leaving a Little Bit of My Sole Behind."

Sioux Roslawski said...

My memoir's title would be Queen Pain in the ***.

Susan said...

Hi Linda. I do think titles are important. They are a reader's first peek into what a book may have in store. For me, the preference is short titles. Honestly, I'd have to think more about what a book of essays on life would be. Hope you are having a good week. Susan

Connie said...

Titles are important because they are often what hooks the reader to pick up a book. Without them, some books would never be noticed. I have no idea what I would call a book of personal essays. I'd have to give it some thought. I don't think coming up with titles is a strong trait for me. I hope you have a nice weekend.

Pat Wahler said...

I've given this a lot of thought in the past year. Normally the first thing about a book that catches my eye is the cover. If it's appealing, I pick it up and read the back copy. If that intrigues me, I open the book and read the first few pages. Then I make a decision.

You are right about titles, though. A title that excites the reader's curiosity is as much a hook as the first lines of the story.

Brenda @ Its A Beautiful Life said...

Yes, titles will often sell me on a book (as do front covers).
I like titles that play with other more famous phrases. I'm currently reading "Tell It Slant: Creating, Refining, and Publishing Creative Non-Fiction" by Brenda Miller and Suzanne Paola. In this case, it's Emily Dickinson's line that caught my attention.

I saw your link over at Susan's at Writing Straight from the Heart.

Wishing you a beautiful day,

Vicki Rocho said...

I've been on an audio book binge the last year or so (work has me scanning thousands of pages of documents, so I save my sanity with audiobooks). I fill up my wish list usually without reading the back of the book. I base it on the title, the cover art, or the author. If I happen to see it won an award, that's reason enough to pick it.

I find the less I know about a book before I start, the more likely I am to enjoy it. I like to dive in with no preconceived notions. I have had the blurb on the back of the book not measure up to the experience of the book. Sometimes that's my fault for making assumptions or misinterpreting the summary, but a lot of the time it's the author tweaking the truth to get you to buy/read the book.

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Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Title and cover, both. As a writer, I should know better, because some of the best books have horrible titles and/or covers, but I get sucked into the marketing angles just like most everyone else. If I were writing memoirs what would the title be? Hmm...have to think about that one.