Title

Title. It’s a little word only five letters long. It is a descriptive heading or caption used to give a book, chapter, song, poem, picture or anything that needs an appellation.

For such a small word it holds a significant importance. I put a lot of thought into the title of my first book, and I mean a lot.

Here are some things a title of a book should convey or contain

  1. Be part of the story at some point. Don’t call it “My blue button.” and never have anything to do with a blue button tangible or imagined. Unless blue button is a euphemism that is a major part of the story, it might not be a good title.
  2. Hold some significance to the story/characters
  3. Be short and meaningful – It’s a title, not a log line
  4. Catchy / Interesting – I’m often drawn to alliteration titles or punchy hard words.
  5. Clever – boring titles suggest a boring book
  6. Not borrowed or stolen from another book – Just don’t. Google and search to make sure it’s not accidentally copying someone else.
  7. The feel or even genre of the book –  “Loved to death.” Might not be a good romance title but might be a good suspense…

So back to my title. The title of my book has significant meaning and plays a big part in the story as it progresses. However, now I’m rewriting the book to a point where I can re-submit to Literary Agents.  I’m changing the tone of many chapters, reducing the word count by more than 24000 words(Yeah seriously ugh, at least I’m almost half way there). The catch is that I will need to change the title or it will be passed over completely. This was not advice given lightly and was given by a professional in the industry.

So I will come up with a new title for the next round of queries for the Literary agents. I will likely either work BiaAtlas back in as a subtitle or ask for it to be the full title once my book lands a publishing deal.  I’m doing this so I can give my book a second chance. Typically you cannot resubmit the same story to the same literary agents for the second time. Unless the story/prose has been changed significantly.

It is hard to say what makes a title but I know a title can make or break the chances a story has being picked up by literary agents let alone publishers. In the self-publishing industry, it is even more important as it is what will make a potential reader stop or keep scrolling past the list of titles.

So how does one find out what a good title is? Take a look at books that are in the same genre. Even ones that aren’t. What are the similarities? Whats popular? Take a look at unsuccessful books on Amazon, how do their titles differ from top sellers? A great place to get a feel for what might or might not work is a bookstore or online stores. I personally like to go and physically look at the covers.

It’s daunting to think a one to five words can make or break my chances or success. No pressure right? I’m not going to stress about it as I said before, I can change it back or work it in another way. I was told at the beginning of my journey to be flexible and not be stone hard set in my ways or having my way. It was fantastic advice that I took and take to heart.

My advice about Titles of a book.
Be willing to change it if a publisher want’s to change it. Take a look at what’s working for others but don’t copy or steal. Be creative and meaningful.

-Sheryl

Other posts that are related

The many faces of Rejection

The “word count” down.

My Posts From The Start

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Redundantly Redundant Redundancies

Redundancies in writing are common. They eat up valuable word space when I’m trying to get my word count down. They are sometimes used to ‘beef’ up a piece when a writer uses them on purpose to increase their word count.

Redundancies are two words put together that are different but mean the same thing. Some of them are filter words and I catch them when I look for filter words.

The thing about redundancies is that they don’t improve the writing at all, it’s the opposite. If I leave them in the impression that might be left with a reader or publisher is that I’m lazy… or worse. So, they have to go.

Redundant word pairings are often hard to spot because we get used to seeing and using them.

Personally, when I’m reading and I see these redundancies in dialogue way too much, I think the character “speaking” is pompous, arrogant or an idiot.

Scott stopped and looked at Amber a brief moment as she ignored his presence. “Amber do you have the proofs on the Foreign Imported Tuna fish project?”
“I need more time to assemble it together. It is absolutely essential I check the actual facts before I can sign off on it. I’ll be done by ten A.M this morning.”
“Works for me, I want the final outcome to be perfect, that’s my ultimate goal.”
“I really like this layout. The way they eliminate altogether the empty space by blending together the illustrated drawing with the landscape scenery.
Scott nodded and touched her shoulder gently. “I look forward to the final outcome. On a side note, how are you? Are you okay?”
She narrowed her eyes at him. “No, I’m not. My emotions are all mixed together.”
“I know.” He nodded. “You’re my friend. I had to ask the question. Lunch later?”
“Sure.” She turned back to her work as he walked away. (161)

>>>

Scott stopped and looked at Amber a moment as she ignored his presence. “Amber do you have the proofs on the imported Tuna project?”
“I need time to assemble it. It is essential I check the facts before I can sign off on it. I’ll be done by ten.”
“Works for me Amber, I want the final perfect, that’s my goal.”
“I really like this layout. The way they eliminate the space by blending the illustrated with the scenery.”
Scott nodded and touched her shoulder gently. “I look forward to the final. On a side note, how are you? Are you okay?”
She narrowed her eyes at him. “No, I’m not. My emotions are all mixed.”
“I know.” He nodded. “You’re my friend. I had to ask. Lunch later?”
“Sure.” She turned back to her work as he walked away. (140)

Well, this is still not great. It could use some personal touches and further editing, the point is that by eliminating one of the two redundant words I was able to make it less weird and take out 21 words easily. Notice I took out AM in the morning completely. It’s a workplace, and before lunch, therefore 10 am is implied. With the redundancies gone, I’m much happier with how it flows. 

When I was researching which ones to look out for I found “200 redundancies commonly used” found on grammar.about.com. Check out the website for the full list.

Advance forward
Armed gunman
Ascend up or ascended up (up, up and away with up)
Bouquet of flowers
Careful scrutiny
Circulate around
Closed fist
Descend down or Descended down (take down that down!)
Earlier in time
Edible food

Follow after
Frozen ice/tundra/snow
Grow in size
Edge of the cusp
Hurry up (well ‘up’ with anything, check it out ‘up’ is a big filter word)
Input into
Join together
Kneel down (down is another filter word, look for it and see if it’s necessary)
Knowledgeable experts (opposed to unknowledgeable experts.. silly but I’ve seen this one recently)
Lag behind (It would be tricky to lag ahead…)
Live witness (Unless zombie or vampire witnesses are a common thing, ditch the ‘live’)
Local residents (They wouldn’t be residents if they were from out of town.)
Made out of (take out, out)
A new beginning (haha what other kinds of beginning could there be?)
New recruit (‘new’ is a word to look out for it’s often redundant)
Old custom/cliché/proverb (‘Old’ is a filter word to watch out for. Ditch the old if describing something inherently old)
Open up (Oh that danged up!)
Outside in the yard (unless of course your yard is in your basement, then that would warrant explanation too funny.)
Over exaggerate (This partly borrowed list incredible list is seriously very wordy and abundantly over long!)
A pair of twins (Would that mean a trio of twins is three pairs of twins or six twins?
Past history/experience/memories/records (See new in the list above)
Regular routine
Shiny in appearance (Actually get rid of ‘in appearance’ after any description)
Two equal halves (Half is half of one hole right?)
Visible to the eye (unless writing sci-fi it’s not visible to the nose)
Warn in advance (one of my favorites. *eye roll)

My advice about redundancies in writing.
If it’s excessively redundant remove one of the superfluous words by taking it out.   😉

-Sheryl

Other posts

Something different, something fun

The ‘been there, done that’ people

No “Filter Word” Parking Here

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I used this website as reference:   grammar.about.com/od/words/a/redundancies.htm
Gone
Cusp

Local

Edible