Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Titling Your Book

I recently saw a debate online. Should you title your book before you start writing or after you are finished? Each options offers you different results and opportunities.

Choosing a Title Before You Start Writing

Some authors may decide to choose the title of their story before actually writing the story itself. Why? They may find it motivating and that it helps set the direction for the entire book. Some people also just find it super satisfying to have a title solidified.

Choosing a Title After You Finish Writing

Some authors wait to choose a title for their story until after finishing writing it because they are uncertain of which direction their story will go. Sometimes, authors do not make a conscientious decision to wait, but rather, they are unable to title something until it is complete because they cannot think of an appropriate title without all the information before their eyes.

Which is better?

Neither.

That’s right. In my opinion, neither option is better than the other as it depends on the type of author that you are. In fact, I think that both can be extremely restrictive. So here is my best advice:

Feel free to choose a working title before you begin. What is a working title? A working title is a temporary place-holder for the real title. For example, my current working title for my book is The Agency Games, but the publishers may choose to change it. Likewise, your real title might be the exact same as your working title, or it may be completely opposite.

The best decision when it comes to titles is flexibility.

A working title gives you that initial sense of direction that many authors crave, plus it gives you something to call it besides just “that-thing-I-spend-all-my-time-agonizing-over.” However, because you know it’s a working title, you are not so reluctant to later part with it if it needs revision.

What do you think? Do you choose your title before or after writing your book?

Leave a comment below!

©KaylaAnnAuthor

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43 thoughts on “Writing Tip: Titling Your Book”

  1. More sound advice, KaylaAnn. I usually pick a title and go with it. I suppose that can be a good or bad decision. For example, for my first Mac McClellan Mystery I chose the title DEADLY CATCH. Around the same time a very popular cable/sattelite show called DEADLIEST CATCH began. Did I benefit in any way from the similarities in the titles? I’m not sure. But, I figured it can’t hurt. Titles are not protected by copyright (thank goodness!). So, my advice is to think about the gist of you book, and then name it the most effective title you think will be advantageous for your book. That’s my two-cents worth; take it or leave it. 🙂
    –Michael

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I feel like sometimes if the writer chooses a title before finishing the book, they might become reluctant to change it as the book develops. But it depends on the writer’s personality and what works for them, in my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a great post, Kayla. For someone who is picking up writing seriously after so long, I can see both sides of the argument.

    On the one hand, I like having a title so that I can figure out the direction of my novel. However, I do like the idea of a working title because maybe, we as authors aren’t sure the direction we want our novel to go; so we wait.

    Personally, I would choose a working title because it can always be revised to fit the overall scope of your novel.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think it’s good to have a working title. After all, SOME of your work in progress should be shared with family, friends, or followers. It will encourage you to continue writing if a friend says “How is (working title) coming on?”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I totally agree with you. The title of the book should highlight the essence of the plot chosen by the writer. Writing it in the beginning or end doesn’t matter. Great post. Keep Glittering ❤ Misha

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hmm…this is interesting. I’ve never really thought about when to title my story. I always end up calling it something and then the name sticks but I suppose I could call it a working title…as much as I don’t want to part with it 😛

    Yes, the name can change but it will always be “insert working title here” in my heart 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have to admit that all my titles invariably suck. Normally, I have a working title that outlines the theme – Feral, Clutching at Straws, Hoodwinked – then end up giving them pretentious rubbish like Beyond Wild, The Children of Eden, or In the Place of Judgment, when Feral, Clutching at Straws and Hoodwinked would have been fine! Peter Benchley came up with A Stillness in the Water, Leviathan Rising, The Jaws of Death, before he simply settled on Jaws, a much more visceral, evocative title. A prime example of how keeping it simple works.

    Liked by 1 person

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