Titling a Novel

Titling a novel can be one of the easiest things you do, but it can also be harder than writing the novel itself. There had been times when the title of a book just comes to one of us. Sometimes, it’s only the title and we realize we have no idea where the story is coming from. That’s part of the fun. Writing the book based on the title. Usually there are more ideas for the story than what we can fit into a book and have it make sense, which of course leads to other stories!

However, what happens when you write this wonderful story and get stuck on the title? It’s happened to us more times than we would like to admit. We have this wonderful story sitting in front of us and we can think of several titles for the book, but none of them quite seem to fit it. We’ve spent days and days agonizing over the title of the book because we want it to be perfect. We want it to make sense. We never imagined naming a book you’ve written could be so difficult. So time-consuming.

Titling a novel is more important than one might think. As authors, we know the value of this. We also know the value of titling a book similarly to another book. It makes it difficult to find the one you wrote. When we titled Full Moon Rising, we knew there were other similarly titled books out there. We had tried renaming it but none of the titles fit. No, this book of ours had to be Full Moon Rising and we would have to live with the similar name to others. It was the only title that fit. Regardless, our first book has done well. We’ve gotten some good reviews on it and we couldn’t be happier.

Personally, I think as the author we tend to overthink the title of our books. We want to be perfect. It’s just like when we have mistakes in our story we hadn’t caught or our beta readers haven’t caught or even our editors. We want everything about the book we wrote to be perfect, but it just isn’t practical. Nothing is perfect, even the books from the “big” publishing companies. As I read these other books, I notice the errors in them and smile. Mistakes happen.

One of our goals is to stop obsessing so much over the titles of our books. The title will come to us when it’s ready to be known. After years of writing, I’ve come to understand this. You can’t force a title on a book. It has to belong to it.

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