What makes a good book title?

When I begin writing a novel I try to give my book a working title, something that I feel represents the essence of what I am writing. Sadly, I’m not very good at it! I haven’t progressed much since I wrote ‘The Girl from Venus’ when I was eight…I’ll give you three guesses what that one was about!

I quite often suffer from book title envy. How many times have you taken a chance on a book because the title just calls to you? (Or is that just me). You’d think that the imagination that allows you to write a novel would surely extend to the title…in my case, it just doesn’t. Quite often my working title just ends up as my protagonists name which let’s be honest doesn’t give you much insight into the storyline!

Philip K. Dick manages to come up with titles like We can Remember it for you Wholesale and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and the best I can come up with is someone’s name! Of course this works in some cases, like Carrie but as I’m not even going to pretend to compete with Stephen King I know I need something more gripping.

I’ve yet to read All the Light We Cannot See but its sitting on my bookshelf because the title is so intriguing. So what makes a good book title? Sure if you get as far as a publisher you might get some help with it but if you even want to approach an agent’s door then surely you need something at least a little enticing!

I will of course plough on to find that elusive good book title and hopefully one day I will come up with one that will blow everyone’s mind! For now though I guess I’ll have to stick with my own simplicity and keep my fingers crossed that it’s enough.

What are some of your favourite book titles?

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