The ‘Young adult’ book market is a competitive and congested one – a quick look on Amazon shows 889,261 titles in this category as of today. Of those, 7,865 are described as ‘ historical’ and, in turn, 704 as ‘Medieval’. So my new book has lots of competition. I need to give it as much assistance as I can and that includes a good title (see my earlier post Entitlement – the search for a title ).
I have done my analysis of words used, considered the different types of title ( conceptual, descriptive, ‘clever’ ) and looked at how those titles are presented. And, having spent this last weekend researching, brainstorming and formulating possible titles I have come to the conclusion that I have written the wrong book! In terms of finding a title my book ought to
- have one major character, whose name could be the title e.g. ‘Rebecca’, ‘David Copperfield’, or in the title e.g. ‘Sophie’s Choice’, ‘Portnoy’s Complaint’.
- Be set in a readily recognizable place e.g. ‘Goodbye to Berlin’.
- Have one over-riding theme e.g. ‘Jealousy’.
- Be easily summarised in a neat popular expression e.g. ‘Not a Penny More’, ‘I Can’t Begin to Tell You’.
In fact, my book has five main characters, who each go on their own journey, physical and/or metaphorical. It is set in a place, Moorish Al Andalus, and at a time, 1264, outside the usual historical knowledge of its putative readers. The period is a bloody and unsettled one, as the Christians from the north re-conquer the Moorish southlands, but the setting is both beautiful and romantic. The book begins on the day when Jerez surrenders to King Alfonso X, who has been besieging the city. Three of my five characters carry silver rings, their talismans ( and useful, very portable, property ), which are pertinent to the plot.
My title must be short, the Bestseller lists would suggest three words or thereabouts, and one which hasn’t been used before (a tall order). Titles aren’t covered by copyright unless they are registered as trademarks (like the Harry Potter series) but I don’t want to risk my book being confused with another, it is likely to deter potential readers and buyers.
Eventually I arrived at a short list, which is as follows
- The Silver Rings or Rings of Silver
- No Place of Safety
- After the Siege
- Flight from Frontera
There are pros and cons for each and I cannot make up my mind. Please let me know which ones you prefer, which catch your attention and interest ( if any ) and, if you have the time, say why. Use the ‘Comment’ box to list them in order of preference, or just submit the one you like best. If enough people ‘vote’ I will publish the results.
Incidentally, I was tempted, late on Saturday night and after a certain amount of red wine, towards a riff on the Enid Blyton books of my childhood and ‘Five Get Lost in Al Andalus’. Sanity prevailed.