What’s in a book title?

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What’s in a book title?

What’s in a book title? Good question. Objectively, the main point is probably marketing — to grab the attention of readers you’re trying to attract. To do that, the title needs to convey what the book is: a romance, a mystery, a horror novel. And something compelling to make them want to read it.

It would be great if there was some kind of artificial intelligence that helped generate titles — something on the web, and free — hey, what’s good enough for Bernie is good enough for me.

Well, it turns out there are. They just don’t work very well, in my opinion.

I tried out adazing.com’s title generator, which required me to submit my email address, and I know what’s going to come of that. I had to pick a genre (fantasy, since horror wasn’t an option), protagonist’s occupation (detective), his positive trait (genius), his negative trait (lonely), the location (Telluride), what the opposition in the story is (vampire) and the character’s main goal (solve the mystery).

Here’s a list of the titles the service generated:

  • Wise Detective Saga
  • The Mayfair River
  • The Lonely Telluride’s Solve Mystery
  • Night in the Maid
  • The Vampire’s Page
  • Apprentice in the Castle
  • The Foundling of the Solve Mystery

This service seems to have an “English as a second language” problem. And I’m not sure where some of the suggestions even came from: Mayfair River? Night in the Maid? Apprentice in the Castle? What river? What maid? What castle?

How about Telluride Blood? Think I’ll stick with that.

There are other online generators to come up with vampire names. Such as — this from fantasynamegenerators.com — Dragos, Solomon, Malik, Tallon, Kristoph, Davorin…

Having a vampire named David Parker has worked pretty well for me in the past. I don’t think I’ll change it to Malik.

4 thoughts on “What’s in a book title?

  1. Joe

    Sounds as though putting a gathering of words on separate pieces of paper, into a hat, drawing 3 to 5 of them, and then arranging them to suit the author’s taste would serve one better. No?

    1. michael Post author

      That would work about as well as these title generators. But based on the character name-generating software, I have decided to officially change my name to Zoltan. Please make a note of it.

  2. Joe Nobiling

    Okay, Zoltan. (What planet are you from? You sound alien.)

    Like the title of the new book – Telluride Blood, btw. Seems there could be a whole Telluride series; Telluride Gondola Ride of Death, Telluride Blood Fest, Parker Vampire Mysteries, etc. – pretty early for these thoughts.

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