Thinking of a good title for your manuscript can be challenging and time consuming. It can’t give away the ending, it must intrigue the browser to choose it over thousands of other books, it should give a hint as to what the book is about, be catchy so people will remember it, but not so long that they can’t remember or pronounce it. Lastly, it should be something that marketing can work with and not be negative or offensive. Is that all? Probably not! But I think I have listed the most important ones.
Disclaimer: the opinions stated below are mine and mine alone.
THE CATCHER IN THE RYE by J. D. Salinger is not one of my favorite titles. The title does not give away the ending, but it doesn’t intrigue me as a buyer, the story has nothing to do with baseball, farming or grains! The title is short, catchy and easy to pronounce and is a line from the story. The cover art is a picture of a horse on a carousel which is a scene from the book, but it doesn’t relate to the title or give any indication as to what the story is about. The title is not negative or offense. Holden’s story is one of youth, innocence and insanity.
Laurie Halse Anderson’s book, SPEAK, is a good title. It doesn’t give away the ending, it would if the title was She Speaks. The title makes me wonder what does the main character speak about or does she encourage a movement. I would assume the book is about someone finding their voice or encouraging others to speak up. Title is short, easy to remember without complicated words, negativity or offensiveness. The cover art is a partial face peeking out from a branch with leaves; there is no mouth on the cover. I feel the cover art supports the title. The story is about Melinda who has to find her voice and speak up against the boy who raped her.
THE TRUE STORY OF THE 3 LITTLE PIGS by Jon Scieszka is a good title. It does not give away the ending and it makes me wonder what IS the true story of the three little pigs. The title is straightforward, we know it will be about the three little pigs. The title is long, yet simple with no complicated words, negativity or offensiveness, and most importantly, the title is memorable because of the word “true.” The cover art is a newspaper clipping stating the title with a picture of a wolf blowing away three partial pigs. In the corner, you see a pig’s cloven hoof holding the newspaper. This story is told from the point of view of an unreliable narrator.
My point is don’t overlook the importance of your title. Give it the same time and attention as you did your words between the front and end pages.