Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Sunday, October 03, 2021

Finding the Right Title for a Book

 When it comes to titling my books, it’s usually an easy task. For the GHOST Group series, I decided to call the books The GHOST Group because that’s the name of the paranormal investigation group in the stories. For Parenting Pauses, I titled the book after my blog series that ran under the same name.


Some titles, however, took a little work. I had to do a lot of thinking and brainstorming of ideas until I got the title for my nonfiction book, A Ghost on Every Corner. And with the children’s book Wolf Whispers, I had to think some more about that one and really focus on the main element in the book, which was a special kind of wolf helping a little girl find comfort while grieving the loss of her mother.


When brainstorming for ideas for a title, I ask myself these questions:


What is the book about?


What is the theme of the book?


What is the one thing about the book that really stands out?


Are there any words or phrases in the book that catches the eye?


Is there a phrase that can use a little wordplay that will match the book’s theme or story?


If I don’t get title ideas from my answers to these questions, then I try to think about what it was that gave me the idea for this story or book in the first place and what I can draw from that as far as a title goes.


I tried all of that with a children’s book I wrote recently. I got the idea for this book years ago and commissioned the illustrations for it. Took a long time before I was finally able to write the story.


Coming up with the title took me even longer.


All of the usual tricks didn’t work when I was ready to title the story. I couldn’t think of a title before I wrote it and I couldn’t think of a title after I wrote it.


For this reason, it was stuck in production. I could not take it into print until I had the title! That was all that was missing.


So I tried reading a bunch of articles about how to get a title for a book. None of that helped.


I tried looking at a bunch of books for the same audience, in the same genre and with the same theme. I scanned through all of the titles but it did not inspire any ideas for my own title.


I spent some time brainstorming again, writing down a bunch of titles. But none of them looked good, either. None of them grabbed me. It was just “blah.”


And that’s the thing about a book’s title. It needs to grab me. They are the words that stand out and the words that say “I am your title!”


But I just didn’t see anything there.


Then I tried something else: I wrote the book’s blurb. I figured, I have to write one, anyway. Might as well do it now. I don’t need to have a title to have a blurb! I can have the blurb right now, since the story is written.


So, I wrote it. Funny thing happened while I was writing that blurb: Some of the words really stood out. They just hit me like an oncoming train, blaring: “TITLE!!!”


I looked at those words and I all of a sudden had my title. Yes! I hurriedly wrote it down on another part of the page in my notebook and it definitely seemed like the right fit for the title.


It was perfect.


Even so, I ran it by my crew first. I just needed feedback that it sounded like a good title for a children’s book. And, thankfully, they said it sounded good.




So, from now on, I have a new trick in my bag to use when I am struggling with a title for a book: Write the book’s description. Just write what the book is about. There just may be something in those words that will stand out and work as a good title for the book.

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