Monday, 21 March 2011

What's in a Name?

When I decided I wanted to start a blog, I was determined to find a name that no one else was using, at least in blog circles. This is my excuse for my rather random title as there are a lot of blogs out there using every pun under the sun and more. It was either that or some obscure Latin word that would most likely put readers off!

So, that got me thinking, what do authors go through when trying to name their books? The UNESCO figures easily accessible online are from 2006, but in that year alone, 206,000 new books were published in the UK. Google Books calculated that there were approximately 146 million unique books in existence. It puts our TBR mountains into perspective doesn't it? No author purposefully wants to nick a title from elsewhere but there's got to be some overlap.

I have two books called The Night Watch and one simply Night Watch; Terry Pratchett got there first, Sergei Lukyanenko wrote in Russian so the original title is really Ночной дозор and Sarah Waters happily added a "The" to distinguish her very different novel. It's quite possible that these authors didn't even care that they were sharing titles but I know I would.

The answer must be to come up with quirky titles, similar to the technique of googlewhacking but for books. Strange titles really do draw me in too so it's a good marketing ploy. Those that made me pick up and read include The Earth Hums in B Flat, The Tent, the Bucket and Me, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and, a personal favourite, The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse. Of course, the publishers would be more than happy for you to get their debut author's title muddled up with a similar sounding bestseller.

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