Book Writing and Publishing FAQ – What Should the Title of My Book Be?

You have an idea for a great book or you’ve already written your manuscript and need to create the perfect title.  That title needs to appropriately convey the tone of your book but also catch the attention of a literary agent, publisher and readers.  That’s a tall order!

My best advice when it comes to choosing a title for your book is this — don’t let it stress you out completely.  The reason is simple — no matter what you name your book in your manuscript, the publisher has the last word on what the title will be, and that final word comes from multiple meetings with many different people on the publisher’s side.  There are a lot of cooks involved in stirring the pot when it comes to determining a book’s title!

If you’re not already a popular author, you can try to fight against a title suggested by a publisher, but you might not win.  Consider this — Stephenie Meyer’s original title for Twilight was Forks, which was changed by the publisher, and the U.S. publisher of the first book in the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (Scholastic) changed the title from the one used in the original English version of the book published by Bloomsbury.  In the United States, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone became Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Bottom-line, don’t get too attached to your book’s title.  Ask friends, family, and other writers for their opinions on your possible manuscript titles and aim to get the right kind of attention from agents and publishers with the title you choose.  However, don’t be surprised if that title doesn’t end up on your book’s printed cover.  Remember, it’s the content of your manuscript (and your platform if you’re a nonfiction writer), not the title that will seal the deal with a publisher, but the title can help draw attention.  Therefore, don’t ignore it, but don’t drive yourself crazy over it either.

Click to read more in the Book Writing and Publishing FAQ Series.

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