This morning I stumbled upon a self published novel that bore a name strikingly similar to that of a very famous novel and it set my wheels to turning.
My first thought was this self published author deliberately copied and tweaked the title in the hopes that people would search for the famous book and stumble on hers and possibly buy hers but I decided I don’t want to think the worst of people. Instead, maybe she just found herself influenced by the famous novel and stumbled on the title almost accidentally.
Either way, we need to be more conscious of what we’re doing, especially those who are choosing the self publishing route because there won’t be a publisher, editor and maybe even agent to double check and keep things in order.
We live in a litigation society, be careful, be smart, be conscious.
The working title for my novel has always been Dragon Wars. If you google Dragon wars you’ll discover this isn’t an original title. In fact, it’s quite common! A quick search on Amazon further confirmed that for me. I made the decision to think up a new title (and with my cousin’s help I stumbled on a title I LIKE. It’s different, it’s not something anybody else is using – currently, and it just suits the story). Yes, it was hard work but your title IS important.
Choosing a title similar to that of a popular novel CAN work to your favor. Maybe people WILL stumble on it thinking it’s the other popular novel and/or similar to… but you also run the risk of angering your readers, frustrating them and possibly scaring them off forever. Nobody likes to be tricked, and they will know that you tricked them.
Choosing a title that’s too strange can also scare readers off. AS a reader I can say this. I browse Amazon books sometimes and I bypass all the complicated titles, the odd titles, the titles with a bunch of made up words that make no sense to me. Just as the cover is important, the title is too. When I see complicated titles and/or titles with made up words my first thought is: The book will probably be just as annoying.
I’m getting off track!
Anyway, we are influenced by the world around us. It’s easy to accidentally name a character Sherry Hotter without realizing the name is a play on Harry Potter. It’s important to take a step back and look at your novel the same way a reader would.
If I saw this on Amazon would I buy it?
Would I be offended by it?
Would I be annoyed by it?
Would I think the author is trying to trick me?
The worst part of this experience, for me, is that the book by the self published author did sound kind of interesting but in the end the title was just too tricky for me. So I scrolled by.
It’s okay to be influenced by famous authors. It’s not okay to copy them.