Monday, May 18, 2015

What's In A Title?

If you ask any writer what's the hardest part about writing and submitting a manuscript to an agent and/or editor for consideration for publication, I would say the majority of us would say it's writing the synopsis.

A synopsis is a brief summary of the entire book highlighting the theme, the characters, their conflict, and their relationships. In my opinion, the synopsis is the most important part of what a writer submits to an agent or editor. It's what convinces the agent/editor to offer a contract or representation. I think the reason most writers refer to it as "the dreaded synopsis" is it's so difficult to take a 400 page novel and distill it down to a 4 or 5 page summary and still be sure that it includes all the pertinent information and still hooks the reader and isn't just a flat recitation of the main points of the story.

While I struggle when writing a synopsis, coming up with a title for a work in progress is almost as difficult. I usually refer to the book when I'm writing it by either the hero or heroine's name i.e. Jason's book. It's only after I've revised it a few times and have gotten feedback from my critique partner and beta readers that I start to play around with possible titles.

You would think that coming up with a title would be easy, but for me it's one of the hardest parts of the entire process. I try to find something that either relates to the theme of the story or the hero or heroine in some way. I then send out an email to those beta readers and my critique partner and ask which of the possible titles they like best. I also usually include a desperate plea for suggestions as well.

The title, along with the cover art, and the back cover copy are the first things a reader will use to make the decision to purchase the book or not. That makes the title one of the most important tools a writer has in their arsenal which is probably why I struggle with it so much.

And I have a feeling I'm not the only writer who does.

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