A Guarantee of the Perfect Book Title

What’s your method for selecting a title worthy of a New York Times best seller?

Mine? I’ve been struggling.

However, I hit on something that might not be the proverbial hen that lays the golden egg, but it’s mighty close. And if not close, then certainly lots of fun. In a moment, you’ll meet Lulu.

I decided there had to be a better way to attack the process of titling and lessen my ongoing angst. I don’t worry about short story or poetry titles. Book titles are what keep me up at night, or wake me up when my subconscious pounds on my brain and demands to be heard. Like at 3:00 am. Even then, I don’t usually fall in love with that title, and due to my interrupted sleep, I’m certain to be grouchy the next day. Something not conducive to searching for the perfect title during daylight hours.

Believing that need is the mother-of-invention, my struggle sent me to the internet in search of a sure-fire method for titling a novel.

Attention! Lieutenant Title reporting back on my reconnaissance:

My first try landed me at an Amazon page with Roger C. Parker who’s apparently written many books about writing, none of which I’ve ever heard of. (Mr. Parker, please do not take offense. I’ve found you now and am investigating your offerings.)

Not finding the site useful for my immediate needs, I metaphorically trudged onward and clicked to How to Pick a Book Title, a posting in a blog called Ensight-Jeremy Wright.

Jeremy’s blog elaborates about how titles can spring from:

Alliteration
Iambic Pentameter
Rhyme
Half and Half Words
Reverse clichés
Proverbs

I found the information useful to a point, but more like points to ponder, or empty-calorie food for thought, and I left not quite satisfied.

Next, I found How to Write and Publish Fiction where Jason Moser gives logical tips for how to pull words from your writing to create a great title.

It’s an easy-to-do method, one that on the surface kept me engaged and focused. I played around, creating a scramble with words. A few good ideas came from the recommended exercise, but I wasn’t quite to the finish line yet.

I continued my quest, which landed me here: meryl.net –Meryl’s Notes Blog. Things wordy, geeky and webby

Selecting the Perfect Book Title (a blog post from Tuesday, January 10th, 2006 at 11:52 AM) I pondered…this information has been out there all this time and I’m just discovering it now?

Contained within that post, one that is now over six years old, I found a gem. A tool. Something to lessen my angst. Embedded within the text of the blog post was a link to Lulu: Put Your Title to the Test. And that’s what I did.

I tried several times. Secrets and Strawberry Soda. Lemonade and Death. Friendship Foibles. And others that I won’t mention. Lulu rated each one with about a 10% chance of success. Not to be outdone, my competitive nature took over. Now, I think I have a workable title that I really like.

So, if you want to exit the title quagmire with me, wave and say, ‘hello.’ Then, check out Lulu and let me know how it works for you. Also, if you know of great “How-To” sites that offer a method for titling manuscripts, please share.

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About Linda Joyce

Writing is a curious journey. You don't pick it, it picks you. See my website at www.Linda-Joyce.com to learn more about me.
This entry was posted in Books, Creativity, Links, Romance stories, Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to A Guarantee of the Perfect Book Title

  1. cricketmuse says:

    There really is something to selecting the right combo to come up with a NYT best seller. I’m all about boosting books–hope you will stop by and add your name to the growing list of other Book Boosters. See, alliteration at work…
    Happy Pages,
    CricketMuse

    • Linda Joyce says:

      Cricketmuse,

      I think I’m going to run my own test through Lulu and see what happens. I will say that I took the process from Jason Moser, then put it through the Lulu test and I was amazed! Thanks for stopping in. Hope you’ll visit more.
      ~Linda Joyce

  2. Wow! Seriously? I love this story. It also goes to prove that older content can still be relevant today. Glad my link helped you. Good luck!

  3. So very cool. Redneck Ex has a 32% chance of success.
    Santorini Sunset has a 64% chance of being a bestselling title. Woohoo! Fingers crossed.

    • Linda Joyce says:

      Claire,

      Yay!

      Your percentages are way higher than mine for the Belles…however, I’m going to debut the new title for that book and take a poll about the change. See what others think. You’ll have to let me know.
      ~Linda Joyce

  4. amyshojai says:

    I have SOOO shared this link (expect some traffic *s*). My working title only scored about an 8% but one of my alternates scored 44.2%. Still playing with it.

    • Linda Joyce says:

      Amy,

      Isn’t Lulu fabulous? And, while there’s no absolute guarantee, I feel confident that the program is guiding us in the right direction with our title choices. Thanks for stopping by.
      ~Linda Joyce

  5. What a fun and useful technique for choosing a book title! I tested the working titles for three of my manuscripts. They scored 45.6%, 35.9% and 59.3%. — which is pretty encouraging. But not perfect. So, I will keep playing with this and see if I can do better. Thanks, Linda Joyce, for the information.

    • Linda Joyce says:

      Sue,

      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂 And, glad you found the information useful. If you would, once you decide on a title, share with us the iterations of development. I’d love to hear.
      ~Linda Joyce

  6. Patrick Hempfing says:

    Linda, I need to make it a habit to check out your website each week. I always enjoy your articles and you offer lots of fabulous tips for us writers who have so much yet to learn. I gave Lulu a try and will use it in the future. I think that it will be quite helpful. Thank you and keep on writing!

  7. Pingback: Tuesday Tips: A Roundup for Valentine’s Day « Amy Shojai's Blog

  8. Interesting post! Enjoyed the links. Not sure about the Lulu thing though – The da Vinci Code has a 10.2% chance of being a best selling title!

    • Linda Joyce says:

      Colin,

      *chuckle* Lulu may not be 100% foolproof. Did you try any other titles and get good results? Technology is a tricky thing…Thanks for visiting and I appreciate you comments.
      ~Linda Joyce

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