Titles Are Hard

8/23/20232 min read

Hi There... Titles Are Hard

As the title suggests, titles are hard. Be it blog posts or novel titles, it's something I've struggled with for ages. Years ago I started a podcast, and I called it Severed Scissors. Why? Well, because I have a tattoo that looks like a pair of busted scissors. Clever, right? Sure, only if you really knew about the tattoo and saw what some others did. That didn't last long. The podcast evolved into a horror podcast, and I'm a photographer as well, so naturally we call it Horror Shots, right? I know, I know, super creative (not). Well, that one lasted a couple years before I realized it's the most confusing title for something ever. What a podcast called Horror Shots about? Movies, maybe? No, of course not, it was about myths, legends, and dark history. I needed a new name, something that people would make people understand what the cast was about. I drew a blank. As I said, titles are hard. A good friend came up with one, Ominous Origins. It was the perfect blend of alliterations and theme. And ever since I changed it, the listenership had a decent bump. Titles are everything.

That brings me to today. I've just finished the first edit of my latest book. I've called it Family Ties. Originally, it was a placeholder title, because... You guessed it, titles are hard. However, it has since become the title, and I hate it. It doesn't do the story justice. It's just a name with no meaning, and so I'm back at square one. Short of some decent cover art, the book is all but ready to go. But I can't release it with a horrendous title like Family Ties. The only aspect linking the title to the story is that there's a family in it. Huzzah.

I never thought that the title would be my biggest hurdle. My other two books had the title just come to me, and I think they were good. Lizzy was pretty self-explanatory. It's about a girl called Lizzy. The cover art is a picture of a girl covered in blood, so you get the idea that maybe, just maybe, it's about a girl with some... issues.

Next comes Necromancy... And Other Mystical Things. I love this title. Others not so much. Many thought it was long and convoluted, after all, an ellipsis, c'mon, how pretentious could I get? But that's sort of the theme of the book. It's tongue-in-cheek, just like the book, which heavily leans on the comedy side of things. I didn't want people to think it was a straight horror story called Necromancy, after all, it's not a serious book at all - save for the world ending aspects. But hey, what's a world savoir without a bit of humor? In the end, I thought it was a good title, and one I'm happy with overall.

But Family Ties? I don't even want to italicize it; it doesn't feel like a real title to me. I'm not sure what I'll end up with in the end. It's certainly not a comedy book, so a smarmy title wouldn't suffice. It has to be serious, to drive home what the overall theme and story is about. But how in the Hell am I to do that when my previous efforts include Horror Shots. Blah.