It is TOO a real word. It's a small mark used in printing. I looked it up. And now I will have to spend days clearing my mind of the mental image of a gnome (called Mark) of course, being used as a lead-type corrector. I need a new mind. It started with a typo. I wanted to talk about something I find incredibly difficult and even worse than artwork to get any two people to agree on - ergo, the title.
After all, a book sells -- let's face it, on its cover. Well, it gets picked out - especially if you're a new author with no push - on the SPINE - which is, duh, the title and your name. If your name is Fenella Von Plugelflueglepestenschatz-Borbratzenfond (or, at least something long) choose a short title, because the publisher is going to have to use a rather small font (as on the the three name bearing Heirs of Alexandria books).
So to run the book buyer gauntlet in order (assuming spine out display and an author without much of a following, or a newbie) titles become the first hurdle. Then cover, then blurb, then first page. And then possibly last page!
If you fall at the first hurdle, you're out of the race.
So it is very important.
Now let's make this clear: I am a dreadful advisor on this, unless it is as case of ‘Bad example'
I've chosen precisely none of my titles.
THE FORLORN - would have been MORNINGSTAR
A MANKIND WITCH would have been - Gah. Can't remember. Memorable title, obviously.
DRAGON'S RING (a title which still makes this new Australian ex-South African embarrassed) SKEIN OF DRAGONS
Eric chooses all the Heirs' ones out of Shakespeare
Jim Baen decided on RATS BATS AND VATS. It didn't really work for me as it sounded like an anthology - but if that's what your publisher wants...
The Karres books are all logical follow ons from Witches of Karres.
PYRAMID SCHEME I may have had a hand in. Like SLOW TRAIN TO ARCTURUS I was there when it was born.
But generally, Eric, or O'Mike , or Misty or Jim have all said: ‘good idea, the title sucks', in varying degrees of politeness. But by now I believe I can't really name a book well.
I've had a little more joy with being allowed to name Short Stories.
THE WAR, ME, 17 MILLION DOLLARS AND A STRIPPER
remains a favorite of mine. I could never resist reading a book called that. Could you? I mean how could you not want to know?
THE HUMAN CONQUEST OF A GALACTIC EMPIRE :
IT'S A DIRTY JOB, BUT SOMEONE'S GOTTA DO IT
PART 1 : NEITHER SLEET, NOR SNOW, NOR ALIEN MONSTERS...
Is maybe a little long for your average spine - But NEITHER SLEET, NOR SNOW, NOR ALIEN MONSTERS...
Works for me.
THE POET GNAWREATE AND THE TAXMAN - I always thought a better title than the story...
And of course there is THE GOTH SEX-KITTEN ... (forthcoming from NR:-))
Anyway. What makes a good title? I obviously don't know - so why don't you tell me? Would you have bought any of those?
What titles have you seen that jumped out at you?
How do you work out what to call a story?