Friday, 10 June 2011

Getting the Title Right, Getting the Title Wrong...

 Regular readers of this blog will know that I have a novel due out next year, a supernatural thriller entitled The Ghost Effect. I’ve been a bit sparing with details of this event until now, mostly because I have been up to my mind’s eye in rounds of heavy revision. But as time slips by and things begin to speed up, I can start reporting milestones in the book’s progress towards publication, starting now with the news that my book almost certainly won’t be called The Ghost Effect.

Now, I always suspected this might happen, even though I did put a lot of thought into the issue of titling over the two years of the book’s creation. The story is about kids who can travel in time through their dreams. Because it’s non-physical time-travel, they take on an ethereal form as they do this, being spotted throughout history as ghosts. The title was conceived as a combination of the creepy Germanic ‘ghost’ with the  Latinate, science word ‘effect’, a mis-match that was intended to create an intriguing whole. Like the Butterfly Effect, only spookier. At least, that was the idea. However, I always felt that ‘effect’ was a weak title word, and, as it turns out, so does everyone else.

So, what will the title actually be? Well, that’s being debated right now. There is one strong contender, but I won’t say anything about that just yet. What does strike me though is how closely those involved in marketing books think about these things. And also just how popular one-word titles have become. Finding a single word that captures the essence of my book, is universally relatable, and looks/sounds fab, though, now that’s a tall order! Even the English language has its limits. But one thing is certain – it’s crucial to get it right. Watch this space.


  1. I'll be really interested in hearing what the rationalle is behind whatever the final title turns out to be.

    I actually rather liked 'The Ghose Effect' :-)

  2. Thanks, Kate. I think the problem lies in the fact that 'The Ghost Effect' doesn't say anything that kids 11+ can easily relate to. Also, it doesn't trip off the tongue as pleasingly as I would like.

    On a scale of one to ten, where 1 is a pants title and 10 is 'Lord of the Flies', 'The Ghost Effect' just scrapes a 7, I'd say. Though of course, it's all highly subjective.


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