Creating a Catchy Novel Title

The saying goes, ‘don’t judge a book by it cover’ yet we all do. Equally as important, is the books title. It needs to be compelling, intriguing and in a few short words pinpoint what your novel entails.

Many writers develop a ‘working title’ which is a rough draft of the title. A temporary idea, while the work is still in progress. Sometimes after writing the book, the title becomes clearer.

My first WIP changed titles numerous times, and may even change again before publication. That’s ok, just as we revise our manuscripts over and over again, we’re free to alter the Logline and Synopsis, especially when we are trying to Hook an Agent.

Research is a vital, integral part of this process. Look at novels within your genre to see what catches your eye, what pulls you in and even what makes you think… yes, that’s precisely what the books about.

notebook nature writer Author Lorraine Ambers

A successful novel begs the reader to ask questions: Who is Harry Potter? Why is the Court full of Thorns and Roses, what could that possibly mean? What happens in the Hunger Games?

Some novels use the name of the protagonist – Percy Jackson. Others use a phrase from the book, or a word – Twilight. As a pose to the character’s name, perhaps use a word to describe them, highlighting their differences, for instance Pride & Prejudice. Don’t forget to consider the location: Through the Looking Glass. Or mix some of those ideas: Alice in Wonderland.

Be sure to write down any ideas that come to your head, even if they’re ridiculous. Brainstorm what links the theme, plot, characters and locations of the novel. Then get feedback. Ask readers, friends and family what title stands out for them. Which one hints at the novel beyond the pages or evokes intrigue or mystery.

Lastly be original. Your book’s title has to compete with many similar novels. Having a title that stands out from the crowd is vital. So, check to see if the titles already taken, you don’t want to compete with an identical title, in the same genre. This is your time to stand out from the crowd.

Novel Story Worldbuilding Fantasy

So my wonderful, loyal readers, what do you think of my title? My first novel is YA fantasy/romance called:

Knights of Shadow and Lies.

Harbouring secrets caused a rift between Sander and Fae princess Alysia. For he is a Shadow Knight, masquerading as one of her kind. When truthfully, he’s a fairy-tale hybrid, feared by the pure-bloods for the potential of his unprecedented powers. Catastrophic events force their lives to collide once more, when his brother, a nefarious Magician, seizes the kingdom in search of Alysia’s telepathic powers. To save the Enchanted Realms, they must risk everything and sacrifice all, to protect the ones they love.

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

Please give me your feedback. Or share your working title. Let me offer you some feedback. As always, thanks for reading and have a fantasic day.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and, 2018.



49 thoughts on “Creating a Catchy Novel Title

  1. I understand what you mean. My book’s title when through a few changes too, but I struck gold in terms of originality: when googling “Mystical Greenwood” my book is the first result.

    You have an excellent title too, and the blurb is intriguing. Can’t wait to hear more about it!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Last year at Felixstowe Book Festival I attended a talk by Alwyn Hamilton and she told us the many titles they discussed for Rebel of the Sands. It was really interesting. My book was called Drift for a long time but I kept getting interest from racing driving fans where it’s a term for taking a corner. I changed it recently to Jewel of the Sea which I think screams mermaid (plus it’s the meaning of the MCs name, Mariah).

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Elysa

    I like it, and I think the book sounds interesting and well fit with the title. However, I would make all three nouns plural to make it parallel and roll off the tongue a little smoother. Knights of Shadows and Lies.

    I’m not even a writer. I’m on the other side with editing, but I really enjoyed your post. I love reading about how people think and how they approach the writing process. It helps me understand things better on my end.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Coming up with a title is one of my favourite parts of writing! It’s just so exciting and…I don’t know…hopeful. I’ve always shied away from the idea of using a working title, though logically I think it makes a heap of sense, especially if you haven’t yet fleshed out all your ideas. I think my hesitation comes from using a working name for a MC in one of my earlier writing projects, and then being unable to change it because I’d become too attached and accustomed to it! Ah the joys and troubles of being a writer…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Haha, I know what you mean. Except I’m the opposite, I’ve just started novel 3 and I’m using a minor character from the first two books and turned him into a MC. I decided he needed a new name. Perks of not yet being published. Lol

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love your title!

    Titles are my least favorite part about writing — I just always struggle to come up with them! Everything I write is untitled until the last possible minute, and I’m very rarely confident in my titles. Maybe it’ll come with practice, though!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Great post as always Lorraine! 🙂 I think your title is great, having beta-read your story, I think it works really well to capture the essence of the plot.

    (One) of my novels, the first is a series is called Dark Hart. 🙂 It was the WIP name of the whole series but actually works well for the first novel 😀

    Liked by 3 people

  7. ninithibodeau

    Maybe just use “The Shadow Knight” since the story seems to revolve around one knight in particular. Sounds like you are a Sara J Maas fan. So am I! I’m impressed that you’ve written a novel. Good job!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for your feedback back. You make an excellent point, however my antagonist and protagonist are both Shadow Knights. I’ve also named my collection of novels: ‘The Shadow Knight Series.’
      I’m a huge Sarah J Maas fan. 😍


  8. You have an awesome title that fits perfectly well with your book!! 🙂 I hope to read this interesting story soon.

    Great tips on how to figure out the titles of our books. The category my book (once I finish it) may be into the poetry field. The title of it is called ‘Spiritual Inspiration For Spiritual Strength’. This will be my first book since I love poetry and the Lord so much. I gained so inspiration to write from my home church members as well. I think I experienced writer’s block because I was able to write half of it, but… I keep losing my drive to finish it. So it remained on my computer as an incomplete file for over a year. 😦

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Great title, strong and grounded in its field. My first novel took over two years to write, in the end I set smaller tasks. Sit down and try to write xx amount of words, they soon add up. Good luck, I have faith in you. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hey, Sis’! 🙂 Thank you so much for your help. I was able to publish my ebook on Amazon, despite it not having too many poems within it this time around. Now, I have a raring to work, write, and do more for Him. He deserves it. Thank you again so much for your help!

        Liked by 2 people

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  10. If the title continues to come back to me I’ll give it some serious thought. If it makes me feel good I’ll look at it. Finding a title can really mess with your head. At the same time it can be the easiest thing in the world. I know…..confusing.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Marion Njeri

    Coming up with a title for a book is always a hard task for me. I didn’t find it easy for the short exam tests in high school.
    My titles are a bit weak and not as catchy

    Liked by 2 people

  12. YariGarciaYA

    Out of all the aspects of writing– typing alone for hours, revising numerous times, killing darlings –the title is by far the most difficult part for me 😭 Though I’ve been mostly writing for school, I tend to use placeholder titles that are… meh.

    I’ll have to take your advice and just brainstorm like crazy 😁

    Btw one of the most memorable titles I’ve seen was “The Wife Between Us.” Is that eyebrow-raising or what! 😮

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Pingback: Creating a Catchy Novel Title – Alison Aldridge

  14. Pingback: Creating a Catchy Novel Title – Alison Aldridge

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