Fantasy Friday – I Need Your Help

I’ve been thinking about this for some time and today, I made the decision. I need to change the title of my first book. Currently it goes by The Sword of Secrets. I thought that worked, but the thing is, soooooo many fantasies employ “sword” in the title.

I was aware of this but had it confirmed today. Two blogs – Ink & Paper and A Bibliophile’s Bookshelf – are hosting a fan vote for the favorite all time fantasy. Out of 800 nominated books, they compiled a list of 101 to choose from. Of those, 18 contain some form of the word “sword” in the title.

Uh, nearly 20 percent! As I see it, a newbie trying to stand apart from the crowded field of fantasy writers would do well to chose a title that isn’t so much like 20 percent of the books already out there.

So here’s where I can use your help. I’ve come up with a list of titles that I think work with the story. Would you please participate in the following poll to let me know if any of these catch your attention? If none do, please mark the “other” category.

Also, tell your friends to come and vote. These don’t need to be fantasy fans. Just readers. The more feedback, the more help it is. 😀

And thanks for taking time to voice your opinion!

*Note: I just posted the latest version of Chapter I, but I don’t know if that will help with your title choice. Mostly I want to know which title would cause you to look at the book more closely.

Published in: on September 11, 2009 at 9:49 am  Comments (20)  
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20 Comments

  1. Wow, isn’t that interesting. So far, 40% voted for Against Blood and Fire. What does that say about how our brains are “stimulated” by words? 😛 I think it’s a very gripping title. Definitely snags my attention.

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  2. Rebecca,
    Out of the Singah Mountains does it by far for me… it evokes a place I want to visit… the others are, well, generic, and like ‘sword’ do not stand out in a large field of titles…

    Now I’ll have to read it!

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  3. It’s probably corny, but what about a title like the 1950s TV series – Have Sword Will Travel? 🙂

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  4. Rebecca,

    Even though sword is cliche in many ways, I kind of like your original title better than the new ones, but that’s just me.

    Why? The other titles are not obviously fantasy except “The Otherworlder”, although that could be Sci-Fi as well.

    Question — how many Christian fantasy novels use “sword” in their title? I bet it would be a lot less than 20%. Just a thought.

    I’ve belabored over this naming issue, too, and I know how tough it is.

    -Robert

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  5. I’m with Robert on the name issue for my WIP. I’m not happy with the working title, but it’s what I have for now.

    Unfortunately none of them really grab me. Maybe the cover art + title would do it. I’d pick Against Blood and Fire or the Mountain one out of that list. I just get the feeling there’s something a little more catchy out there.

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  6. Well, this poll and these comments are extremely helpful. I really appreciate you each taking time to share your thoughts.

    Jason, I probably agree with you most of all. I’m not sure the best title is on the list. But I’ve heard so often that editors change titles, so what I really want is a title that will capture the interest of an agent or editor—something that makes the book different from so many others they see.

    Robert, while “sword” may not appear in a lot of Christian fiction, I very well may be taking my book to general market publishers. And it is all in the perception. If an agent is knowledgeable of fantasy, then the “sword” reference will be familiar.

    Anyway, again, thanks to all you who voted and who commented.

    Becky

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  7. None caught my attention, so I voted for Other and offered up “Blood Fire.”

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  8. Is there a title that just kind of “clicks” with you when you’re working your way through the story? “Against Blood and Fire” has a strong ring to it, and so long as it makes sense in the context of the story, I think it would be a good one. Would I be more likely to pick up a book with that title over a different title? I’m not sure, but I’m also more into Sci-Fi than Fantasy.

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  9. Just a question…

    I liked “Against Blood and Fire” but it also was the first on the (alphabetized?) list. This can lead to reader bias though that shouldn’t be a large factor here. I don’t know what your options are using PollDaddy but a randomized list per viewer would all but eliminate this.

    “Against Blood and Fire” really is catchy though. My own WIP series has some similar name issues. I seem to have decided at least on a “theme” word for each of the first three books and I’m going to build off of that. Your poll here has inspired me to do the same whenever my books go to print. (Pretty good and cheap marketing strategy too…)

    Blessings! 😉

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  10. I like something like, “The Exiled” because it involves that I can identify with you as an outcast, and then, it involves adventure, like how do I get back into the world. My thinking anyway.

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  11. Hi, Daniel, actually the titles are randomized, so you must have randomly landed on Against Blood and Fire in the first spot. 😀

    I discovered the importance of randomizing when I started putting up the polls for the CSFF Top Blogger Award.

    Glad the poll has given you some ideas for your own work. I hadn’t thought about this as a marketing idea, but I guess it does give more exposure to the work. Of course, if the title ends up being one people didn’t vote for, I wonder if that will work adversely! 😮

    Becky

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  12. Kristin, thanks for your feedback. I love hearing your ideas and what the title you suggested sparks in your thinking. Very helpful.

    Becky

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  13. Brandy, thanks for your suggestion. The split vote and the number of “other” suggestions makes me think I haven’t hit upon “it” yet. But this feedback is so helpful.

    Hoomi, there really has never been a title that I think is a perfect fit for this story. I’ve worked with it under two different titles and never felt married to either. Of these suggestions, I could be happy with any of three of them, I think. But I keep holding out for one that belongs to the story and is equally intriguing and attention getting.

    Anyway, all the ideas and feedback from you all really helps. Thanks!

    Becky

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  14. Hi, I saw your comment on Chip MacGregor’s blog and dropped by. I, too, think I like your original title better. Sword schmord. 🙂 Just name it what you think fits it best.

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  15. Hi, Lynnette, thanks or dropping by. I appreciate the feedback.

    I actually like the original title, too, but have one I think fits the story even better. Thing is, it’s not an attention getter. And in this case, I want to set my story apart from others in the genre.

    Since there are already so many quality books in print using some form of the word “sword” in the title, I wonder how many the editors see that never make it into print.

    I learned a number of years ago when an editor held a short story contest, that they get “sameness weary.” Even if the writing is good, if the story or characters are too much alike, they just get tired seeing it.

    So I’m guessing here (and that’s all it is), that a title with “sword” will be an immediate strike against the book. I can see the editors rolling their eyes and saying, Another one of THOSE!

    That may just be my overactive imagination, but that’s the rationale behind the new title search. 😀

    Becky

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  16. I realized why I liked the original title so much … it was the presence of the “Secrets”. That word is powerful, more so than “Sword”.

    Here’s a new idea for a title:

    “Secrets of Singah”

    Or something like that. You even get the acronym SOS out of it.

    I have no idea if that makes any sense for your book, but it seemed like it might.

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  17. […] title. If you haven’t given feedback yet and would like to, you’ll find the poll at Fantasy Friday – I Need Your Help. The poll will be open through this […]

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  18. I like “The Company of Exiles”; it immediately makes me wonder about the people in the story–who they are, why they’re exiled, why they’ve banded together as a company. A personal touch the other titles perhaps lack.

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  19. On further observation, I like Robert’s “Secrets of Singah” as an alternate title. It’s unique and has that air of mystery. It’s also direct in that it lacks the overly used “the” in the title.

    You can also mix and match:
    * Exiles and Enemies out of the Singah Mountains / out of Singah
    * Exiles and Enemies and the Other Worlder
    * The Company of Exiles and Enemies
    * The Other Worlder and the Company
    * Of Exiles and Enemies
    * The Sword of Secrets against Blood and Fire

    😉

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  20. The Exile Saga
    Blood, Fire, and __________ (supply it, I don’t know)
    Secrets of Singah

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