Book titles

25 November 2010 06:51

I recently read an article by agent Kimberly Shumate on the Guide to Literary Agents editor’s blog that discusses tips to create a professional submission. While most tips in that article seemed fairly obvious and more or less in line with things I had already figured out based on previous advice and common sense, one advice in particular I hadn’t considered yet:

  1. A title search on will uncover the number of books out that already have a title like (or similar to) yours. Also, check the publisher and the year that each book was released. Remember the magic wordoriginality. Obviously, I did this as soon as I read it, and it turns out that the working title for my WIP fantasy novel ("Forbidden Lands") was very similar to several other books, even another fantasy book (The Forbidden Land, by Kate Forsyth). Naturally, I want my book to have an original title, so I decided to change the name of the book to Revenant Rising.

This is the second time I’ve changed the title of the novel. The first working title was "Destiny", but I found the term too generic and not exactly fitting to the story. The second title, "Forbidden Lands", is named after the location where much of the story takes place. It starts out as a dangerous place the protagonists have to travel through, but it turns out to have greater significance as the story progresses. But as mentioned, this title is not exactly original and might cause confusion. My latest working title is Revenant Rising. This title is the primary reason for the protagonists’ journey, and as such is more descriptive of the overall theme than "Forbidden Lands".�The good part about the new title is that it also offers opportunities to give sequels similar names (I have at least one planned and plenty of ideas for another).

Do you change your book titles often before completion?