Does Your Memoir Title Pack a Punch?
Posted by Kathleen Pooler/@kathypooler
” Next in importance to books are the titles.” ~Frank Crane
We all know that a book’s title and its cover need to pack a punch right away. No matter how great our story may be, it will be the title and cover that sell it to the reader.
The title and the book cover are a promise to our readers.
When I think of my own reading habits and what goes into my decision to read a new book, I know the title and book cover matter.
I’m going to think out loud here and then ask for your input.
In the five years I have been writing my memoir, I have accrued a list of working titles that seemed to fit at the time. These two stuck for a while, the latter has been my current working title until recently:
Choices and Chances: My Jagged Journey to Self
Ever Faithful to His Lead: A Memoir About Choices
My memoir is about getting into and out of two emotionally abusive marriages and finding my voice.
The main question that drives the narrative is:
How does a young woman from a stable, loving home make so many wise decisions about her career yet so many poor decisions about love that she ends up escaping with her two children in broad daylight from her second husband for fear of physical abuse?
But now that I am in my final edits and contemplating book cover designs and publication decisions, I find myself wavering on the title.
These are the questions I am asking myself:
* Is the title catchy?
* Does the title strike at the heart of my story?
* Does my title reveal my promise to the reader?
* Does the title create interest for the reader?
Choices and Chances: My Jagged Journey to Self came from one of the themes in the book–we are responsible for our own choices.
Ever Faithful to His Lead: A Memoir About Choices came from my writing. In a serendipitous moment before a read-aloud session at the International Women Writers Guild this past summer, I read a memoir excerpt to my friend and colleague Susan Weidener. “Ever faithful to his lead” stopped me. Susan and I looked at one another and I said, “That’s it. That’s my title.”
Ever Faithful to His Lead fits in with the dance metaphor I use as well the faith journey that are both woven throughout the narrative. In my mind, it’s the better of the two titles and the one to which I have felt the most bonded but. . .
Maybe I just need a stronger subtitle? or a new title that more accurately reflects the heart of my story?
Then the other day while waiting in the car for my husband, I generated a few other working titles:
1. Jagged Journey: My Path to Freedom From Emotional Abuse
2. Missteps: A Memoir About Getting Into and Out Of Two Emotionally-Abusive Marriages
3. Out of Step: My Journey Out of Emotional Abuse
4. Ever Faithful to His Lead: Finding Freedom From Emotional Abuse
5. Awakenings: Saying Goodbye to Emotional Abuse
I’m working on it and I have a favorite but I wonder, dear readers, what do you think?
Which title, if any, do you feel packs the greatest punch?
Does it make you want to know more?
Is it too vague? too specific?
Do you have any idea what it’s about by the title?
I’m also open to other ideas, so bring it on!
I know it is my decision and it needs to come from my heart but I’d appreciate your thoughts and comments.
Thanks ahead of time for brainstorming with me.
How about you? How do you find a memoir title that packs a punch?
I’d love to hear from you. Please leave your comments below~
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