Would a rose really smell as sweet?

During the RMFW conference a couple of weeks ago, I sat in on Kristin Nelson’s query workshop–which was awesome. My brain felt overloaded for the next several days, but I took away more tips than I can count. One question Nelson fielded was about titles–how important are they when she is going through queries? Her response (paraphrased): while a title won’t make or break your book deal, it does have an impact.

This makes sense because an over done title might suggest your novel will be clichéd as well. A catchy title might make an agent look twice (or at least past the first sentence). So I started thinking about the title of my current novel, Lost Souls: Redemption. Google and Amazon didn’t produce anything specific on the full title, but many hits found the title, Lost Souls.

Then the ladies over at Restless Writer discussed the issue of character names over on their blog the other day which only solidified I needed to rethink my title. Juliet may wonder what’s in a name and claim a rose would smell as sweet, but people in the book store will drop a story if they don’t like the title or main character’s name.

Where to start though? I ran through a list of themes that appear in my book and narrowed down some of the most important elements: the soul, reincarnation, addiction, first love and grief. With this little exercise, I revised my title to–Soul Addiction.

This new title might not make it through to the final draft, but it doesn’t appear in a long list on Amazon.

Today’s question: how important is a story’s title in determining whether you pick it up off the shelf?

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Posted on September 23, 2010, in Agents, Fiction Writing Tips, Marketing Yourself, Queries, Ramblings and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. The title is part of the whole for me. If it’s an awesome title and I skim and see the book isn’t interesting, I don’t buy the book.

    I think the title has to be honest — and it will find the right reader. You don’t want your title to scream ghost story if it’s a memoir about motorcycling. You’ll gain a lot of people wanting ghost stories who ultimately don’t buy, and lose out on all the folks who want to hear about your REAL story.

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