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The Perfect Title for My Upcoming Release

This week, I thought I’d give you a little insider information on the process for finding the perfect title for your novel. Or at least, how we found mine.

After reading about finding the perfect title, if you want to learn more about my writing journey, check out this post about my experiences by clicking the link here.

What’s in a name?

In a word? Where book titles are concerned . . . everything.

The title is the first chance to engage a potential reader. It’s why most people pick a book up off a shelf. Then they decide if they like the cover.

If a book is one of those lucky ones that sit face up on a table or face out on a shelf, then the cover might be the first thing a reader looks at, but regardless, it’s title and cover that matter most.

(On another note, I really, really want one of my books to show up on an end cap at an airport bookstore someday, not for sales . . . for exposure!)

These two decisions, the perfect title and cover, can help determine if your books sells one hundred copies or one thousand or . . . you get the picture.

So much pressure on a couple words and an image.

So we agonize over them.

I have lists of great titles with no books attached to them. BRILLIANT titles I know would fly off the shelf. We’re talking New York Times Bestseller titles.

So Many Perfect Titles!

If only I had the story to go with them.

Someday I will. For now, it’s a lovely list.

When my agent sold my upcoming novel to Crooked Lane, we sold it under the working title RESURRECTION LAKE.

While it’s not a bad title, it came with some issues I hadn’t thought through. Luckily, my editor did.

First off, although Resurrection can fit on a book cover—Anne Perry uses the word in her title Resurrection Row—it does create some artistic challenges.

It’s also not the strongest choice for the story I wrote. Resurrection doesn’t necessarily convey a sense of a “mystery.” It carries a religious overtone, which my novel doesn’t contain, making it potentially better suited to another genre.

Perry’s novel, for example, is a historical mystery. The title there resonates with Victorian England. The word itself is a little old-fashioned. Combining the length of the word and the fact it wasn’t the strongest choice, sent us back to the drawing board.


We made lists of perfect titles. So many ideas. So many lists of words.

My editor, agent, and I went around and around . . . and around.

Then . . . I had it. The perfect name. I sent it out convinced it would wow them both.

And it did. Except it was already taken by another Crooked Lane Book coming out soon.

At least great minds think alike.

We tried literal titles. We tried image heavy titles. I found an obscure Middle English word, tarn, from the Old Norse tjǫrn, which we all loved, but feared no one would understand.

The Perfect Title. We had a winner!!!

(A tarn, by the way, is a small mountain lake and is currently my favorite new word.)

Then my editor came back with a title. She’d already discussed it at Crooked Lane and everyone loved it.

We had a winner!!!

I can’t wait to tell you what it is.

Want to be among the first to know our perfect title? Sign up for my newsletter and get a sneak peak at our brilliant new title. You can sign up using the form below, send me a PM or email me at [email protected] and ask to be added.

Next up for public consumption . . . cover art! I can’t wait to see what the art department creates.

At least they don’t have to try to fit the word “Resurrection” on the cover.

Here are a couple of my favorite perfect titles.

What titles do you love? Put them in the comment section below, I’d love to read them!

Bury Your Dead

The Life We Bury

Watership Down

A Wrinkle in Time

No Country for Old Men

And Then There Were None

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Bookstore photo by LubosHouska on Pixabay. Click on the photo for more information.

Header photo by Anemone123 on Pixabay. Click the link here for more information.

Elena Hartwell

Author and developmental editor.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Ann Henley

    Looking forward to your next book! Please sign me up for your newsletter.

    1. Elena Hartwell

      Thank you! I’d be happy to!

  2. Dji Renhard

    Launch date makes it just around the corner. Time does fly when you do what you love. Can’t wait to buy the new Elena Taylor book. Yes, please add me to your newsletter.

    1. Elena Hartwell

      Perfect timing – I’m getting ready to announce my new title to my Newsletter group first. Thank you for your kind words!

    1. Elena Hartwell

      Done! Thank you!

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