Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Title Trouble

I'm terrible at titles. When I used to write more casually, I would use song titles because they were all I could ever come up with. Now, since I'm aiming to publish my book soon, a song title would be a bad idea. Not original, for one, but most likely copyright infringement as well. As I used to work in music copyright, I have a healthy respect for it and don't want to take any chances. Besides, I want my book's title to stand out, not get confused with a song.

Up until recently, the working title for my novel was Ship of Dreams. The bulk of the plot takes place on the Titanic, so it was a fitting name—until I did an Amazon search yesterday and found more than just a couple of books with the same name. So... back to the drawing board.

I'm not entirely upset by this. I knew all along that my title wasn't very good. It was bland and unoriginal, but it fit my book, so I thought that would be all right. In a way, I guess this is a blessing in disguise: the impetus for me to get off my lazy butt and come up with something better. I'm about 75% of the way through my latest edit (mainly for Kindle formatting errors, but also a general edit as I never seem to be happy with my work and am always making changes), so maybe some turn of phrase in that last 25% will jump out at me as a good title. One can only hope, because if it doesn't, I need to start brainstorming, and as mentioned at the start of this post, I'm awful at coming up with titles. I'm almost as bad at naming characters, but at least there are baby name books and sites out there to help with that task.

At least I learned something out of this. Before you get too set on a title, do an Amazon search. See if there are other books out there with it.  If there are, are there a lot? Are there any in the same genre as yours? It's not necessarily bad for more than one book to have the same title, especially if the title is simple, but only if the books are vastly different. Otherwise you risk confusion. The same principle works with pen names. If you find that there are other writers out there that share your name (or the name you want to use), it might not be a bad idea to find another one. I made sure to search around with Allison Kraft before I chose it. Not just on Amazon, but Google in general, as well as godaddy.com (had to make sure the domain name wasn't already taken). I was toying with another surname, but found the .com was already taken. So, decision made: Kraft it was.

For anyone wondering where I got Kraft in the first place, it's a family name. I've become very interested in genealogy in the last couple of years, and thought it would be a nice way to honor my roots. If I'm not going to use my real last name (it's hard to pronounce and spell for some), it seemed like I should at least stick with something in the family, rather than picking a random name out nowhere. My grandmother was a Kraft (sadly, no relation to the cheese), and the name is close in length and alphabet to my real name, so it felt right.


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