Author Topic: No book title seems unique anymore  (Read 448 times)

alhawke

No book title seems unique anymore
« on: October 22, 2022, 11:33:02 PM »
I'm struggling with titling an upcoming book. What struck me is the volume of books out there--I know, you all know this. But it kinda sucks when you're trying to find an original title. Literally every title I come up with is already done. Every one. And I know I could go with whatever anyway, but I like different.  :shrug Suppose it's a comment on how many books there are out there.
 

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Re: No book title seems unique anymore
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2022, 12:55:47 AM »
I have a WIP that's on its third series title.  After choosing the first title, there was a major movie series with a very similar title, so I changed it, making the title of book one the new series title.  Then, some years later, that exact title was also TV series and a movie or something too.  So, I came up with a new series title which, so far, no one else has used that I've seen.  I also secured the .com domain name so I imagine if there were to be a big movie or TV series wanting that time before I publish, there's a good chance they might contact me about buying the domain name.  Maybe.  Anyway, I'm keeping the book one title because that title has been used often enough now that I don't think it will be a problem since the series title should serve to differentiate it.
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alhawke

Re: No book title seems unique anymore
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2022, 01:17:36 AM »
I have a WIP that's on its third series title.  After choosing the first title, there was a major movie series with a very similar title, so I changed it, making the title of book one the new series title.  Then, some years later, that exact title was also TV series and a movie or something too.  So, I came up with a new series title which, so far, no one else has used that I've seen.  I also secured the .com domain name so I imagine if there were to be a big movie or TV series wanting that time before I publish, there's a good chance they might contact me about buying the domain name.  Maybe.  Anyway, I'm keeping the book one title because that title has been used often enough now that I don't think it will be a problem since the series title should serve to differentiate it.
Sounds like you chose a good title. The best titles are the most popular ones, of course. What a headache.
 

Hopscotch

Re: No book title seems unique anymore
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2022, 09:04:47 AM »
The fab title for my first tradpub novel yrs later was cruelly stolen by a nonfic writer whose book went on to vast fame and fortune, leaving mine in the dust.  But do I complain?  Hoo.  I say use whatever title pleases you so long as it's not in the same genre.  Or differentiate w/a subtitle.  But, as we all know, it must include the word girl as in "Girl in..." or "Girl on..." or "Girl who...."   
 
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alhawke

Re: No book title seems unique anymore
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2022, 09:46:33 AM »
Or differentiate w/a subtitle.
I thought about doing this. One idea was to write a title {comma} adverb. You guys have probably seen this. It works similar to a subtitle.

Another title I just came up with garnered three pages on Amazon with the same words. I must have picked a popular genre and character for this one. It's going to be a paranormal angel book.
 

Bill Hiatt

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Re: No book title seems unique anymore
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2022, 11:38:29 PM »
Sometimes, it's tough. I haven't changed a title if someone subsequently used it. (A trad publisher used my series name four years after I started using it, but I figure that's on them. It hasn't caused any problems so far.)

I do try to make sure that my titles aren't identical to anyone else's if I can. Book titles can't be copyrighted the way the text can, so it's not really a legal issue. But it is potential a search result problem, particularly if another book with the same title is very popular (and thus very likely to appear ahead of mine in search results).

All of that said, there are some things we just can't control.


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She-la-te-da

Re: No book title seems unique anymore
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2022, 01:31:04 AM »
Yeah, it sucks. The title I had for my first UF novel was "spellbound". A search showed about eleven-ty billion books with that title. Oh, crap. So I figured out a way to get a unique title. A few years later I saw someone had an UF novel with a similar name, but it wasn't selling so I didn't mess with her.
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alhawke

Re: No book title seems unique anymore
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2022, 01:45:51 AM »
Yeah, it sucks. The title I had for my first UF novel was "spellbound". A search showed about eleven-ty billion books with that title. Oh, crap. So I figured out a way to get a unique title. A few years later I saw someone had an UF novel with a similar name, but it wasn't selling so I didn't mess with her.
I finally came up with my title. For obvious reasons, I'm not posting it yet. It's perfect for the novel. I was surprised it was so hard to find--not impossible. Of course there are books with the same name. Forget it if you're trying to be totally original grint.

My original title was Fallen Angel. There's a couple of pages with book titles on Amazon using that one too.
 

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Re: No book title seems unique anymore
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2022, 03:01:49 AM »
One way to make the problem less likely is to incorporate the setting into the title. Fallen Angel in Los Angeles isn't going to be chosen as often. It's even easier with a fictional place name, which makes epic fantasy a genre that can most easily use that approach. Fallen Angel in [insert fictional place name] is very unlikely to be duplicated.

Of course, that might in some cases make the title longer than desire, depending on how long it was to begin with. But it may be worth thinking about, at least.


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antares

Re: No book title seems unique anymore
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2022, 04:46:39 PM »
Could be worse. Could be Germany. In Germany, book titles are protected, too. You CANNOT use a title already in use. So German writers now using English in their book titles kinda makes sense.
 

Jeff Tanyard

Re: No book title seems unique anymore
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2022, 08:26:12 AM »
In Germany, book titles are protected, too. You CANNOT use a title already in use.


That's just crazy.  Not surprising, since it's Germany, but still crazy.

Since others have provided personal anecdotes, I guess I'll add one, too.  There are plenty of books titled Buddy out there.  However, almost all of them are about an animal with that name, usually a dog or horse.  There's no animal named Buddy in my short story, so my title's sort of "unique" in that regard, I guess.   :confused:
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antares

Re: No book title seems unique anymore
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2022, 09:59:15 AM »
"That's just crazy."
It's not crazy -- verrückt. It's German. Well . . . maybe they are the same thing.
No matter what anyone else tells you, Germany does NOT have copyright. Germany has author's rights. The German government pretends those two are identical, but they are not. Nothing ever slides into the public domain. Even after the author's right to profit from the work has lapsed and the work may be used without payment, the author still has the right of attribution. That is, even after the work enters the German equivalent of public domain, when you quote it, you still must say 'This was published by Dummscheiss in 1714.'
Wanna make a film of a German book? Make certain the contract is written in English or French or Swahili and the choice of law is American. Otherwise the author can stop the film at any time. Because he doesn't like it. Or because it's Thursday. Does not matter. No reason needed.


In Germany, book titles are protected, too. You CANNOT use a title already in use.
That's just crazy.  Not surprising, since it's Germany, but still crazy.

Since others have provided personal anecdotes, I guess I'll add one, too.  There are plenty of books titled Buddy out there.  However, almost all of them are about an animal with that name, usually a dog or horse.  There's no animal named Buddy in my short story, so my title's sort of "unique" in that regard, I guess.   :confused:
 
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Bill Hiatt

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Re: No book title seems unique anymore
« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2022, 07:28:01 AM »
The film part is certainly disquieting, but I don't think there's anything wrong with authors retaining the right of attribution. That's not really such a big deal. Nonfiction writers will invariably identify their sources, anyway, because that adds credibility to their position.

Also, I've never seen public domain fiction get released under someone else's name, either. The publisher may list himself or herself as an editor when there wasn't much editing done, but the only public domain works likely to get republished are ones that did fairly well. In such a case, attaching the author's name adds value. No one is likely to throw that away.


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antares

Re: No book title seems unique anymore
« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2022, 07:56:50 AM »
. . . I don't think there's anything wrong with authors retaining the right of attribution. That's not really such a big deal.

My bet is that you think it is 'not really such a big deal' because you have no experience with it. I have, and it's a fecking headache.

I worked with The Great War (TGW) YouTube channel on their aviation episodes. FYI TGW is a division of Real Time History; Real Time History is headquartered in Berlin and operates under German law.

I provided numerous photographs to TGW to supplement my text. TGW could not use those photographs because I did not have the photographer's name to provide attribution! No matter that legal protection of these photos had lapsed before I was born and that these photos were in the German equivalent of public domain. If you do not know who took the damned photo you cannot use the damned thing.

In the US, work-for-hire assigns copyright to the boss. In the case of Army photographers, the US gov't is the boss, and the photos taken are public property from the get go. In Germany, yeah, the gov't owned the rights, but the right of attribution still required that we name the photographer.

Does this serve the photographer's interest in Germany? I do not think so. His photos will never be seen in Germany, attributed or not.

So, yeah, it really is a big fecking deal.

PS Experience trumps reason and logic every time.
 

Bill Hiatt

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Re: No book title seems unique anymore
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2022, 07:51:53 AM »
You and I are talking about different things. I was thinking about attribution of quotes in text. Obviously, you'd know the author of a book you were quoting from. But yes, attribution for a photograph where you don't know the name of the photographer would be a real pain.


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antares

Re: No book title seems unique anymore
« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2022, 08:12:35 AM »
Perhaps you thought about quotes in text, but you did not say such.

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You and I are talking about different things. I was thinking about attribution of quotes in text. Obviously, you'd know the author of a book you were quoting from. But yes, attribution for a photograph where you don't know the name of the photographer would be a real pain.
 

Bill Hiatt

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Re: No book title seems unique anymore
« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2022, 12:00:18 AM »
I'm still half asleep, but my post does include

Quote
Nonfiction writers will invariably identify their sources, anyway, because that adds credibility to their position.

Also, I've never seen public domain fiction get released under someone else's name, either. The publisher may list himself or herself as an editor when there wasn't much editing done, but the only public domain works likely to get republished are ones that did fairly well. In such a case, attaching the author's name adds value. No one is likely to throw that away.

Since I mention writers, fiction, and nonfiction, I thought that was a fairly clear indication I was talking about quotes in text or republishing public domain literature. Since your preceding referred to authors but never to photographers, I had no reason to think that was the area you were concerned about.

That said, I'm sorry if I inadvertently caused confusion. You are certainly correct that verbal precision is important.


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CaptnAndy

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Re: No book title seems unique anymore
« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2022, 05:14:26 AM »
I made the stupid mistake of doing the cover for my current wip, & of course, the title was used on a popular SF series. Two dozen alternates researched now & I'll wait until just before release to rework the cover.
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