Monday, April 13, 2015

Discussion Post: How do you come up with your book titles?

Picking out a title can have a huge impact on the story you write. It's essential to pick the perfect one that meshes just right with your book. How you come up with that title can vary depending on the writer. Here's how we at The Authorteers come up with our titles.

How do you come up with your book titles?


I wouldn't say I have a set system. For my first book, AS YOU TURN AWAY, there was a Lady Antebellum song of the same name that was the very first song I put on the playlist. When I'd think of pivotal scenes, that song was in my head. Ultimately, the phrase "as you turn away" ended up appearing in the book in a very important way and became the reason behind the title. With ONE SONG AWAY, I wanted something musical, because my main character is a singer-songwriter. With the rest of the books in the Walker Boys series (forthcoming: AS YOU BREATHE AGAIN, AS YOU COME UNDONE, and AS WE FALL TOGETHER), I wanted to keep the symmetry going from the first book, but I have ideas for how each of those titles will come into play in the respective books. 

Going forward, I have a baseball themed series in the works that I'd like to do something fun with there as far as titles. I have a southern adult contemporary romance that I'm tentatively calling DOWN SOUTH and giggling at lot at the double meaning. So sometimes it's a song, or a phrase, or something a character says to another that strikes me. Fun fact: I give each of my books code names while I'm writing them. AS YOU BREATHE AGAIN's code name is Farm Boy Book.


I'm all over the place with titles. Sometimes I start a book knowing what the title is, other times it comes to me while I'm writing, and other times I've completely finished writing the book and I'm waiting for inspiration to hit for the title. With Blue Sky Days and The Game Changer, the titles came to me before the stories did. The idea for The Most Wonderful Time of the Year came to me when Ginny was thinking about how Christmas is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, and it was always her grandmother's favourite time of year, but she wished she could skip it that year. Waiting for the Storm was probably my most difficult title. It was labelled 'Summer Beach Story' in my writing folder for a long time. I toyed with the idea of calling it Waiting for the Storm, but something held me back. On the one hand I knew it was right, because it relates to a really important scene in the book, but for some reason it took me a long time to realize that was the perfect title. When I decided to write Ella's story, I wanted the titles to match, so After the Storm just seemed natural. Take Them by Storm was much harder...when I wrote Waiting for the Storm, I had no idea it would turn into a companion series with three books, but since it did, I wanted the title of book three to flow with the first two. My friend Rachelia sent me a link to an urban dictionary page with a bunch of sayings having to do with 'storm' or 'storms'. I looked it over and saw either 'take them by storm' or 'taken by storm' and had a lightbulb moment. Still, I labelled it 'Sadie's story' in my folder. When I started writing and was able to work in Sadie's best friend telling her she was going to 'take them by storm' within the first chapter or two, I knew that was going to be the title. As for my current work in progress, Something in the Air, it's something people keep saying to my main character, Rose, so it seemed like the perfect title.


I can't even remember where the ideas for mine started! Here All Along worked perfectly with where the story lead the main characters. Resist and Longing were the first words to come to mind as I wrote that series--in fact, I was originally going to reverse the two titles (have the first book be titled Longing and the second Resist), but it works much better the way it is. I was stuck on More Than Words until I wrote a line near the end of it (and, no, it had nothing to do with the song by the same name--that was more a happy accident).

With the sequels, I wanted the ones for for Here All Along and More Than Words to connect, so I kept same words (Here We Are and More Than Anything). With the Resist series, I just stayed with single words (the third book will be titled Forever). And then with Unexpected... that just happened far as I remember. It seems like it always varies with each story--like with one a word will come to mind and it just clicks and with another it takes days or weeks to get it just right.


Titles are hard. Sometimes. When I'm inspired to write a story, once in awhile words and phrases will come to mind that can be used for the title and it's easy to decide. Other times, I have to do a boatload of brainstorming to come up with one (and I mean page-long lists). I'm pretty big on picking titles that haven't been used before, partly because I like being unique, and partly because it helps people find your book easier. I also have this thing about three word titles--I don't know why, I just do. But the more important factor is the title must make complete sense with the book. If Only We and Not Until Tonight meet all three factors, but when it came to picking out All This Time, well, that was another story. It isn't unique (won't find it on Goodreads until page 2), but it's three words and it fits in perfectly with the theme of the story (because the two characters meet up again after years apart). So, I let it go that time.

How about you?
How do you come up with your titles?
Tell us in the comments!

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1 comment:

  1. Sometimes I can come up with titles easily and other times I have to pull them out like teeth. Out of Secrets I got after blogging about it and asking for suggestions.