13 October, 2011

How Do You Like Your Book Titles?

There are short book titles:

And long book titles:

Flora Segunda: Being the Magickal Mishaps of a Girl of Spirit, Her Glass-Gazing Sidekick, Two Ominous Butlers (One Blue), a House with Eleven Thousand Rooms, and a Red Dog

Per favore dite a mia madre che faccio il pubblicitario lei pensa che sono un pierre e che quindi regalo manciate di free entry e consumazioni gratis a chi mi pare, rido coi vips, i calciatori le veline e le giornaliste, leggo Novella e mi fotografano i paparazzi, entro neI privé saltando la coda, bevo senza pagare, sono ghiotto di tartine e gin tonic, ho la casa piena di oggetti di design, conosco Paris Hilton, Tom Ford ed Emilio.

(That one is actually in the Guinness Book of Records as longest title.)

The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure

Some series have matching book titles:

While others don't:

A few make up their own words:

Some are questions:

Others end with periods or exclamation marks:


What's your preferred kind of title: short, long, matched for series, questions, sentences? Do the titles of your own books follow some pattern, or do you change the style based on the story itself?

And a note: the order of the books listed was based solely on their titles, in case you were wondering. I have not read all of them, nor are they from the same age group/genre.

-----The Golden Eagle


Bethany Elizabeth said...

Great post, but I can't possibly choose. I love love LOVE titles though. I can kind of buy into 'don't just a book by it's cover' but I do judge books by titles. :)

J. A. Bennett said...

I liked all of titles, but I prefer short and simple for my own books. I think it's easier to remember in some ways.

Michael Offutt said...

You know, Eagle. I honestly don't have an opinion about this.

lissa said...

I have no preference. if a title sounds good to me, then it's good, if not then it's not. but in some cases, it all depends on what type of book it is and whether the title fits that book.

Tasha Seegmiller said...

I like shorter titles - I find five words or less are my preferences, but then I loved The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, and that breaks all my rules. But I was hesitant to start it at first.

Great post - Thanks!

Shiraz Akhtar said...

Obviously, title of a book is one of the main things presenting a book along with the cover. I personally prefer short and simple titles but catchy enough to grab the attention.

Jennifer Hillier said...

Ooh, I love this post. I love looking at all the covers, especially Stephen King's IT, which is my favorite book of all time.

When it comes to titles for my books, I'm a one word, one syllable type of girl. I think it suits my genre and what I write. But when it comes to other people's books, I don't know that I have a preference. For instance, I love the impact of "IT". But I also love the eloquence of "The Art of Racing in the Rain".

Ultimately, I think if the title works, it works.

David Powers King said...

I pick the best title for the story, regardless of size. If you can make it match the feel of your story, run with it.

BTW, I launched a giveaway today! :)

Plamena Schmidt said...

Interesting post! I think my favorite titles are ones that are catchy and tell me something about the book. It can be anywhere from one word to several (but not like super long) and I prefer when they look similar for a series (just so it's easy to identify them!)

Budd said...

I think I prefer nice descriptive titles, but sometimes like mysterious titles. The cover to Eon and Eona make me want to read them.

Kittie Howard said...

Great titles! All appealed. But, if I can't decide, I'll go with the shorter title. Don't know why so will give this some thought.

Old Kitty said...

I have to admit - I'm most intrigued by the longest book title and how it mentions Paris Hilton, Tom Ford and someone called Emilio! LOL! I love quirky titles: for instance this one really grabbed my attention - and is one of my all time favourite books - I've never heard of it until I saw the book cover and title - The Master and Margharita.
It had a weird cat drawing on the cover!

I get most put off if the book title is superceded by the author's name, for e.g. Martina Cole books. The titles on the covers of her books are immaterial so long as her name is mentioned in the biggest font ever covering all of the front cover.

Take care

That 20 Something Virgin. said...

i think for me it depends most on what the words are in the title, whether they be long or short. and i totally read paranormalcy (i liked the first half a lot but thought it went a bit downhill and cliched after that)
and that's cool how you took the time to add all the photos here -- any time i try to add more than three they never go where i want to and the layout gets all messed up. so, you've got some talent!

Marsha Sigman said...

I like them short and sweet. But that's the King influencing on me.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Short to medium. I like it when a series matches up as well. (Really happy mine match!)

Lynda R Young said...

I do have a preference for short titles because they stick in my head and stay. The long ones sound cool, but I can never remember them.

Margo Benson said...

I don't really mind long or short, or even a little criptic as long as something in the wording and/or cover grabs me. Like Tasha, 'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society' was a must, simply because it sounded completely bonkers. (It's a wonderful read btw!)

Angelina C. Hansen said...

My favorite titles are from Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls Series. So clever.

As regards my own, it's one of the toughest parts of the process. For most of the process, I call the novels by the name of the main character until I come up with something passable. I do my best, but always keep in mind that it'll probably be changed by the editor anyway.

Shelly said...

Really? I like the one or two worded titles. Ones that drive it home like a knife into your guts. Yeah. I write horror stuff. Paraormal, too.

Rusty Webb said...

My favorite type of title?

_____: The ______ _______ ______

Bloodrake: The Hunted Leaf Killer

You know, stuff like that. Subtitles are always cool.

Liz said...

I like evocative titles. Ones that stand out. And if they tie into something in the story, all the better.

As for me, all my stories are untitled. I can never come up with anything good enough.

The Desert Rocks said...

I'm with Shelly on this one. One or two words are enough to wet my appetite, but I like your post. It made me think of various titles and why they finally settled on it.

RaShelle Workman said...

Love Best. Ramadan. Ever. It's clever and unforgettable.

Claire Lachance said...

I'd just like to see my title on a bookshelf, LOL.

mshatch said...

Interesting post. I buy according to title, cover, and back blurb. Usually overlong titles don't appeal, altho I do want to read How to Live Safely in a Science Fiction Universe. On the other hand, I've lately thought there are far too many single word titles on the market, some of which sound contrived. That said Dr. Seus can do no wrong :)

Christine Rains said...

Oh, great post! I like the short titles. I can't remember titles very well, so it's best if they're short. Sometimes the themed titles for series can get annoying. I don't require it for a series, but it seems to be the trend these days.

Elliot Grace said...

Great post, Eagle ;)

I prefer short and to the point, but as with each of us, every book is unique in its solidarity. Therefore, the task of us writers is to read our manuscripts, listen to the words as they're being read, and name that child accordingly, whether one word, or a dozen.


Sarah Pearson said...

I've never really thought about titles. I don't think I have a preference as long as it intrigues me.

Mel Fowler said...

I really think that it's funny that some have question marks on them, I've never really noticed it before.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I like titles in a series to be connected somehow. I think titles can catch someone's interest though not as much as a great cover can.

Ms Saba (aka Teacher007.5) said...

I'm horrible with titles! But I tend to choose books that have interesting titles and cover art. The title has to give me some info about what to expect from the book.

Mary Mary said...

I think the series matching is a good idea. It lets the reader know right away who the author is and what's between those pages. Interesting look at book covers. Thanks for sharing!

Scarlett Clay said...

Well, I thought of 3 of my favorites and what do you know? They're all names....Jane Eyre, Heidi, Nicholas Nickleby....so I guess I like my titles short and sweet, with a preference for proper names! :)

I wonder if there's some 'title' gurus that makes big bucks helping publishers decide what titles will sell the best?

Enjoyed your post!

Jake Henegan said...

I've always been drawn to short, punchy, one word titles for my stories. But long ones work too, as long as they have a rhythm (say, Nathan Bransford's Jacob Wonderbar and the Cosmic Space Kapow). Alliteration doesn't hurt.

If the title rolls easy over the tongue, I like it.

Flying high in the sky.... said...

this was such an interesting one...so many titles...so many unique ones :) ...loved it :) made me smile...

BornStoryteller said...

Too Long: I forget the name of the book, get frustrated, and my mind goes blank if I try to tell someone else.

Too "made up"...I forget the name, as it's fuzzy in my head.

Just right: a few words, a little cryptic...and it's the blurb/author that will grab me. Titles do in the book store, as well as the cover.

It's like the 30 second elevator meeting: you only have so much time to grab my attention and get me interested enough to pick up the book. The books with the huge honking titles MIGHT titillate, but, in all honesty, I stop reading the titles if the first few words don't grab me.

anthony stemke said...

A short catchy title is best I think. I used to read a lot a few years ago. I worked out in the field and would enter a drugstore somewhere and walk down the b ookshelf aisle and read the titles.
When you see a large array before you, there must be something that "grabs" your attention.

Charles Gramlich said...

I tend to like longer titles that either ring with poetry or which have some kind of meaning. "I have no mouth, and I must scream," Is a good example.

Reece said...

I like medium-length titles, but other than that, it depends on the story I'm writing.

As far as other books go, one-word titles tend to throw me off and super-long titles bore me.

By the way, if you haven't read Dan Wells' books yet (I am not a Serial Killer, etc.), go get them right now!!!! Not my normal genre, but I loved them.

The Golden Eagle said...

Bethany: Thanks! :)

Same here. Sometimes I pay more attention to the title than to the cover art.

J. A.: True! A single word like Matched is much easier than The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's . . . what was it again? :P

Michael: Well, a good book is a good book regardless of it's title.

Lissa: Good point. The title has to fit the genre/age group.

Tasha: I've never read that book! It sounds like a good story, though. LOL.

You're very welcome! :)

Shiraz: I like short titles, too; though longer ones can be interesting as well.

Jennifer: Glad you enjoyed it. :)

I've never read It--I still have The Stand on my shelf, which I was set to read a while ago but still haven't gotten around to. :P

I love that title!

Creep certainly fits that one-syllable description. :)

David: I agree!

Plamena: Thank you!

True; it makes it a lot easier to know that books are associated with each other if they look the same. Though that can create problems when two books look alike but are written by completely different people . . .

Budd: They're great YA Fantasy. :) The MC is one of my favorites.

Kittie: They're snappier. :)

Old Kitty: LOL. I was, too; I tried Google Translate to find out what it said exactly (hope it isn't bad) but it just gave me a lot of gibberish. :P

Intriguing title! I'll have to check it out--and see if I can find one with the cat drawing. :)

I don't like that, either. It makes it look like the author is the title, which is just confusing.

That 20 Something Virgin: Same here on Paranormalcy; though I liked Evie more than I thought I would. :)

Thanks! The computer I used might disagree with you, though; the CPU went bonkers when I was downloading/uploading all of them. :P

Marsha: His titles to tend to be shorter!

Alex: Your books have awesome titles. :)

Lynda: I don't usually have a problem remembering them; but telling someone a long title can take time. :P

Margo: I'll have to find that book!

The Golden Eagle said...

Angelina: They are clever, aren't they? :) I've never read one of the books, though.

I hadn't thought of that point--but you're right, they're often changed.

Shelly: Nothing wrong with that. Those sorts of titles are the ones that will be remembered. :)

Rusty: I agree! I hadn't thought of that when I made up this post; but subtitles can be good.

Liz: I agree!

I feel like that sometimes. I've given most of them titles just because I wanted to be able to call them something . . . though a few I do like.

The Desert Rocks: I'm glad you liked it. :)

RaShelle: Agreed! Medeia is a great writer.

Claire: Well, yeah, that would be awesome . . . ;)

Mshatch: I like the sound of that book! I love Science fiction.

Some do sound contrived.

Nope. LOL.

Christine: Thank you!

Yup, they can get annoying, particularly if it seems like another title would have worked out better for the individual book.

Elliot: Thanks! :)


Sarah: I'm the same, most of the time; if it appeals, I'll check it out.

Mel: LOL. It is, isn't it?

Susan: I agree. Visual stimulus has a more powerful effect . . . which is a bit ironic, since they're for worded works. :P

Ms Saba: I don't mind if a title doesn't indicate what the contents are; so long as it somehow relates to the story.

Mary: I agree--as long as the title matches the book and not just the series. :)

You're very welcome!

Jake: I want to read that book. LOL.

Me, too.

Sushmita: I'm so glad you enjoyed it! :)

Stuart: I've forgotten the name of some books because it was a made-up word, too. Some are just too confusing and/or hard to pronounce.

Anthony: I agree! And the shorter it is on a shelf, the easier it is to read; bigger text.

That's an intriguing title, I must say. :)

Charles: I like the sound of that title! It stands on its own well.

Reece: I don't mind either much, so long as they're not too weird.

I've read the first book in the trilogy--the third is in my library TBR pile and I'm waiting to read the second. :)

E.D. said...

Great post - although never an easy task, it's always fun to play around with titles. I prefer titles somewhere in the middle - my current wip is 7 words. Generally it depends on what I am working on and how the theme can be captured.

The Golden Eagle said...

E.D.: Thank you!

I'm assuming you mean the title, not your WIP itself, right? :P

I agree--theme is important.

Anonymous said...

I wonder when EONB and EONC will come out?

The Golden Eagle said...

Joshua: Um . . . EONC and EONB?

Anonymous said...

I was just being silly. The one book is called "EON" and the sequel is "EONA" so I was wondering when the next two (EONB and EONC) come out. Being literal and ridiculous.

In retrospect...not so much.