How do you come up with a book title?
Well, as an author – I don’t. When I write my books, I use a ‘working title’ – so that I can refer to it as something instead of just ‘Book X’. It’s a little like naming a baby – and many writers will tell you they consider their various writing projects as just that – their babies, and they’ll take just as much care and effort as they would with naming a child.
I’ll spend some time trying to think up a title that is relevant to the story, that could possibly be seen in the bookstore and not cause me considerable embarrassment – and then I bin all those and try to look at my book as a publisher would – a book that will hopefully attract readers. Once the book is completed I send it to my editor.
The usual response is: Love the book, but we’ll need to change the title.
There could be a number of reasons for this outcome. There may be another book coming out within a close period of time with the same or similar title…or there may be something that’s considered ‘sensitive’ in the title…or, it might be really hard to get a cover that would suit THAT title…or the title I had could quite simply suck.
Most publishers will have an idea of what would appeal to a reader – or what could repel them. I know of one that has a list of key words of what could/should be used to encourage sales – and what should not appear on a cover. And that’s the basis of a title – something that brilliantly, effortlessly encapsulates the tone and feel of your story, that will make readers pause, perhaps pick the book up off the shelf (or more than likely, click on the thumbnail cover image) to read more, and then to hopefully (fingers crossed, praying fervently) buy.
Then there are those book titles that you wish you’d thought of, that bring forth an immediate reaction – perhaps it reminds you of an experience, or it may contain one of those mysterious key words that make you reach for the wallet as you heed that novel’s siren call.
Recently, I’ve had such an experience – and it was based purely on the TITLE. I’m a sucker for 80’s movies and T.V. shows – The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Magnum P.I., and (of course) MacGyver. I remember watching all of these, dancing to the soundtracks (I kid you not, I had the themes for both Magnum P.I. and MacGyver on cassette tape, and no, I’m not THAT old.)
I particularly remember singing into hairbrushes and choreographing dance moves with my sisters along to the songs from the movie Footloose. Uh-huh. You know what I’m talking about. Kevin Bacon. Who hasn’t parodied that scene with the disjointed bopping along a hall wearing earphones, regardless if it was intentional or you were just uncool and uncoordinated (mind you, the fact that Kevin Bacon did it implies an inherent cool factor).
So when I saw the title for this book come up, I had to have it. Yes. I want a book, purely based on the title. Because it made me remember great times with my sisters, sizzling hot summers, rocking tunes, fun movies, and if I grab this book, it’s like grabbing on to those memories. And Kevin Bacon (although I’m not allowed to grab on to Mr. Bacon). I call it The Kevin Bacon Book Effect. I’m making a buying decision based purely upon the fact that Kevin Bacon made me do it. And here’s the kicker – it’s not even released yet, but I can pre-order – and so can you!
Will Kevin Bacon make you do it, too?
For those who haven’t seen the movie, or fans who have and like to get their Bacon bits, enjoy:
For those who enjoy the music, and maybe some hot superheroes, too, enjoy:
Tell me: what is your FAVE Kevin Bacon movie/show/moment?