Picking appropriate titles for my thrillers: how it took me three tries to get it right!

October 22, 2013 10:44 am Published by Leave your thoughts

I’ve now written a trilogy of thrillers, Category 5, Prophecy, and White Thaw: The Helheim Conspiracy. All three of my titles are good titles, but only the last has a special quality that the others don’t have.

My first novel, Category 5, is about hurricanes, and a “Category 5” hurricane is the most intense, as most of you probably know. Prophecy is about an errant gene in the human genome, one that gives the carrier special abilities, such as prophetic powers: hence the title Prophecy. So, I can’t argue that both of these titles don’t do a good job of capturing or summarizing the intent of the book. BUT, if I were to do it all over, I’d change them both. Why? Because they are not unique. Go to Amazon.com and search for “Category 5” in books. Nowhere on the first page of selections does my book show up. Of course, if Category 5 were a big seller it would, but it isn’t.

If you do the same with Prophecy, it’s even worse. There must be a million books out there (okay, I’m exaggerating; there are probably no more than nine hundred thousand) with the word “Prophecy” in the title.

With White Thaw: The Helheim Conspiracy, I finally got it right. Search for either “White Thaw” or “Helheim Conspiracy,” and my book pops right up. (Full disclosure: my wife, Becky, gets credit for the title “White Thaw.”)

Lesson learned: If your goal is to stand out from the multitudes, it’s not a particularly good idea to look like everyone else.

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This post was written by paulmarktag01