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Thursday, 6 November 2014

Writing – You’re entitled

As we all know, book titles are not copyright.

As I point out in Write a Western in 30 Days, ‘… it pays to check that your title hasn’t just been released into the marketplace. If it was used several years ago, then that’s not a big problem, but if the title is recent, then it can cause confusion. It might also suggest that it’s not particularly original.’ – p68

Sometimes, the title is the hardest aspect of writing the book. Should it be about the theme, the main character, the period, a portion of a relevant quotation, or even something pertaining to a series, such as alliteration (Simon Brett) or colours (John D. MacDonald), for example?

It’s your book, your choice. Though a publisher might suggest you change it or even offer an alternative. Robert Hale did just that when I submitted my western Blind Justice; so I changed it to Blind Justice at Wedlock, which I believe worked quite well; that’s a sort of gothic tale within a western setting.

My espionage thriller The Prague Manuscript came out in 2008. Another book, by Dr James E. Paulding, with the same title came out in 2012. So now that my book is being republished by a different publisher, Crooked Cat, with considerable changes I might add, it is retitled The Prague Papers. As it is the first in a series, I wanted the titles of these adventures of a psychic spy to be linked in some manner. The best option seemed some alliteration. So we have Prague Papers, followed by Tehran Text and then Khyber Chronicles (!) – well, it sounds alliterative…

My book Catalyst would appear to be a poor choice for a title.
 
I’ve just downloaded a book entitled The Catalyst by Joy Lennick, a fellow expat author living here in Spain. Its storyline doesn’t resemble mine in any way.

Searching on Amazon will reveal very many titles with ‘Catalyst’ in the title, the majority ‘The Catalyst’… But I couldn’t avoid using the title for a few reasons:

·         This too is the first in a thriller series, all of them about Cat Vibrissae, chemist and model.

·         The next book is written, entitled Catacomb

·         The third book is planned, entitled Cataclysm

·         Other books are planned in the series, following the same title pattern

The common feature is that each one-word title begins with ‘Cat’, so I have had to bite the bullet and hope that it will stand out from the others of same or similar titles.
 
 

2 comments:

Jack Owen said...

Kit-Kat Komes to mind as an alternative sound-alike.
The snack has the alliteration for the illiterati to remember - and a distinctive type-face K and Kolor Kreating instant recognition.

Nik said...

Jack, that's just because you like chocolate, I reckon!