Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Matching Titles

In case you haven't noticed, book titles are not unique. I generally track search results for the titles of my books. Anytime someone says something about one of my books, I want to know about it. The other day, search results showed up for <i>For the Love of a Devil</i>, but the author wasn’t me. For <i>And Thy House</i>, there’s no hope for uniqueness and I didn’t expect there to be, but what really got me thinking was when I saw two authors talking about <i>Thicker Than Blood</i>. One was new and one was old. One is a first book and one is the second book in a series. But it made me wonder if the publisher of the newer book gave it much thought when they  used the title.

There are some advantages and disadvantages to using a previously used title. If there is a popular book with the same name, then your book may sell more copies, just because it happens to show up in the search results when someone types in the name. On the other hand, by having the same name, you risk getting buried below all the other books with the same title. Add to that problem that people are likely to compare your book to the others. That may be fine, if your book is what they want to read, but it could be upsetting to them if they purchase your book, expecting the other. Your book may be fine, but they won’t review it as fine.

Sometimes, we want our title to stand out. Sometimes, it isn’t that important to have a unique title. Which way is better? That depends on the situation. Maybe what is really important is that people know the author.