On Titles

As I finish the first draft of “Among Others”, a rather interesting take on zombies if I do say so myself (and I do), I’ve been considering titles of novels and their importance.

Titles have always been important to books and stories. Back in the days before printing presses, fewer books and fewer still people capable of reading them meant a lack of competition. Then, titles were descriptive in nature. They were the Twitter tweets of their day. Long titles with subtitles that were longer still.

More recently, books are a dime a dozen (if I may be allowed to use such an overused cliche). Competition is ferocious. And nearly every person on the planet is capable of reading a book in their own language. Though many choose not to. How sad.

Titles today play a marginally different role than their predecessors before them (redundant?). Today, titles must not only explain the 100k or more words beyond the cover art. They must also grab your attention so that you notice it among the billions of other choices barking just as loud to catch your glimpse.

So, my question to you is this: What makes a good title? And, more importantly: what the hell should the name of my zombie novel be called????

Titles today must be short, pithy. To the point but vague. Encapsulating but brief. Entertaining but intelligent. Each juxtaposition is an impossibility in their own right. Veritable oxymoron-laden snippets of text that can will either make or break your book.

My zombie book, Among Others, was originally named so because of it’s look at power and the use of internal and external Others. Yes, “Others” with a capital ‘O’. Originally, I meant “Others” to reference the zombies as being considered the Other by the “normal” population. As the book progresses, it appears my muse is more interested in “Others” being a reference to the “normal” population. ODD!!!

However, something I heard today, probably on the radio, I don’t remember now, made me consider a rewrite on the title to “Only Human.” After reading the text, you will probably realize quickly why I would choose such a title. The zombies in the book are no less human than the Normals are. It is only because the government made them into demons that the zombies are vilified and hated.

Now I’m conflicted. Should I keep the book title “Among Others”. Or should I change it to “Only Human”???

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