This book is now 94,000 words (or 321 pages, if you prefer) long, and it has just been given its third title. Titling a book is harder than you might think. Obviously, the title must be related to the content in some way, but there are also other considerations. For one thing, it ought to sound good. Also, you must check whether it has already been used by somebody else. You can’t copyright a title because it is just a collection of words relating to a body of text. It is the content that is copyrighted. At the same time, one ought to exercise a bit of caution. I could write a book and call it ‘The Lord of the Rings’ or ‘The Hunger Games’, but it would be a foolish thing to do. Those are hugely successful books, still in copyright, and a buyer would be upset to discover that my book had nothing to do with either of them. Accordingly, I try to find titles that have not already been used. I will return to this point in a moment.
I think of a title and Google it, adding the word, NOVEL. If Google comes up with a published work of that title on its first couple of pages, I scrap it and think of another one.
The original title of this book was ‘Bruno’s Choice’. This was a very unsatisfactory title for two reasons. Firstly, it was too similar to the title of a famous film, ‘Sophie’s Choice’, and I didn’t want to mislead people into thinking it was linked with that. Secondly, the book has two protagonists. Bruno isn’t the only one making a choice. Alice makes one too. The title should, therefore reflect either both of them, or neither. I chose the latter path with the second title, ‘A New Allegiance’, but I was never particularly happy with that one either. It doesn’t trip off the tongue well.
So now comes the third, and hopefully final title: ‘Another Allegiance’. It is a subtle change, but I think it is livelier because of the included alliteration. Hopefully, it will suffice.
But what if someone has already published a book with that title? As far as I know, nobody has, but that does not mean it hasn’t happened. I Googled it, and it didn’t appear on the first two pages. That means that, even if someone else did use that title, it isn’t a best seller, so I am free to use it.