To date I've written five fiction, and three non-fiction books, and the one thing in common will all of them is coming up with the few words for the title! I always struggle and can take weeks (or even months) to find something appropriate.
I've made a promise to myself - next time I'll start with the title and then write the book.
But that didn't help with the three books of my dystopian trilogy. I did what most people do and googled 'how to choose a title for my book' and after trawling through a few websites found this very useful article on indiebooklauncher.com It had some great ideas on how to use the story, or pull out a specific element or essence of your story to find a title - I can thoroughly recommend it if you're in the same position.
For the first book, this was 'Mother's' promise of The New Dawn. This is when all the hard work that my hero and his colleagues have completed day-in, day-out for all their lives pays off. But as our hero discovers, they've been told a big lie and nothing is at it seems and so this promise New Dawn will never come.
So the title, The Never Dawn, came about. I know it doesn't actually make grammatical sense but I ran it passed a few of my readers and book reviewers, along with New Dawn, Dark Dawn and just Never Dawn, and lo and behold, everyone chose The Never Dawn saying it sounded intriguing.
Quite pleased with that one :0)
I finished the second book and was well into the third book but still hadn't got a title for the middle book of the trilogy. I even had the title for the last book before I finally settled on the second.
I went back to the article I mentioned above for the second in the series. In the story, things get very sticky for my hero, in fact, it gets very grim in parts, so much so that I had to re-write parts just in case it was too dark for a YA/NA reader.
The working title of 'Losing The Light' represented the hope drifting away from the main characters - but it didn't really grip my audience when tested. Then came the idea to bring the word 'cloud' into the title. This carries on with the dawn/ sky theme of the first, and it refers to the levels of Noah's world, that is, Cloud Levels. So I came up with 'Cloud Level Nine' - obviously playing on Cloud Nine and could relate to the location of one of the ominous elements of my story.
But while a few of my readers liked it, I wasn't 100% happy with it. For me, it sounded a little Star Trek. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of the original and some of the films, but I didn't want my books to sounds like a trekkie book. Then driving home is my car I heard some one being interviewed on the news about a hot current topic, and without going into the details, I commented out loud, 'you're living in cloud cuckoo land if you think that will happen.'
And... there you have it. Ha! I didn't want the land bit, but 'Cloud Cuckoo' said exactly what I wanted it to say. Yes, it refers to an absurd or fantasy element, Cuckoo itself can mean mad, but it also relates to my hero and the situation he finds himself. I loved it, and the majority of my test audience did as well - well you can't please everyone.
As I said, I already had the third title that refers to the big change in the story and taking it outside the setup of the first two - I don't want to say more just in case you've not read them and wish to do so.
The first I went for 'At The Gates of Dawn' and realised this came from a Pink Floyd album from the 60s with the best title ever, 'Piper at The Gates of Dawn'. It's just so evocative and conjures up all sorts of images for me. Obviously I couldn't go for that so decided on 'The Gates of Dawn' to keep it simple.
So finally I'd stumbled on my three titles. And what a relief. Somehow, when the title finally comes along, suddenly the book seems very real 0:)
So to recap, the trilogy consists of
1. The Never Dawn
2. Cloud Cuckoo
3. The Gates of Dawn
And I have also kept a promise to myself. For my next project (a fantasy series) I have already come up with the title, 'Song of Echoes', so at least that's one less thing to be concerned about.
Got any good tips for titles? Please feel free to share them.
Roy is an indie author who writes the type of book he would enjoy reading himself. He writes in his spare time and would love to become a full-time author one day. He's also teacher of The Alexander Technique and athletics coach.