I suppose that everyone here knows that titles cannot be copyrighted. There are any number of books and movies with the same name, and also many songs, ( I can think of four off the top of my head that are named “For Your Love”).
Do you take this into consideration when you search for a title for your books?
Do titles suggest themselves from your writings or storylines, or do you wrack your brain for just the right one?
With so many books out now, especially theme-based cozies, play-on-other-titles is a popular ploy; you just change one word or a few letters and you may truly have something distinct, (our Hound changed the genders from one classic title and came up with a clever version for one of his books), or sometimes they fall flat and just sound silly, (I will not embarrass any writers by giving examples).
To grab readers with a familiar phrase is the idea, and it works.
One of my stories is going to have a title almost the same as a famous song, but the first name in will be spelled differently, and it will be changed to a possessive form. With the original spelling, my version has been used by other books, but mine can really have no other title, because the story ‘written by’ the person, and it does evoke the song, which has been a classic for nearly 60 years. Mine is a diferent twist.
One writer of handiwork cozies asked for title suggestions a few years ago and I gave a number to her. Although technically the particular needle-work mentioned was not included in the story, her manager and her editor both jumped on it because it was a well-known phrase with a double-meaning to a sewing craft and yet, it had previously been unused at all in any other published book title that they could find.
I do have two stories which are in dire need of titles. All that jump out at me have been overused. These are not as important as the novels, but gee, I wish good titles would jump out at me. I usually don’t have a problem thinking of something unique, as I can usually do for my posts here and for other stories or poems which I have written.
Do you check to see how often a title that you have in mind has been used?
Every once in a while something goes around Facebook and other social media asking for the title you’d give to your life story. Years ago when a dear friend of mine was supporting me via emails during a truly trying time in my life, she’d ask me how things were going by sending messages like this: “Please send the latest episode of my own, personal soap opera”. I’d laugh, and give her most, but not all, of what was going on. (Bless her heart; may she pray for us.) She came up with a few titles for the ‘soap opera’ but I came up with one that she said was perfect. Frankly, it’s so good I hate to put it out in public, because I may well use it one day and hate to see it overly used before I can.
On the other hand, one of my novels just screams for one particular title. The phrase is a commonly known, (although commonly misquoted), line from the Bible. By the most common and misused version, there are quite a number of books using it as a title already. I suppose that I could change it and use the actual biblical phrase, (in which case there seem to be very few uses as titles). It will do, but it just isn’t quite the same. I may change one word, but still evoke the familiar line .
Do you think it makes a difference how many books are out there with the same title?
Can you give me some insight as to how you chose your titles?