Monday, 28 February 2011

Be Careful With That Title!

So I spent part of my weekend cataloguing my books - fun, non? Well, fun if you're slightly OCD like me, and enjoy lists and sorting books by categories... I'm probably using the word "fun" in its loosest possible sense there!

One thing I noticed was how many books either had very similar titles or exactly the same title. When starting a book blog or a website we're now advised to head onto the Net and search for other sites with the same name that we've picked, to avoid treading on toes and ruffling feathers. Do book people not do this as well when choosing titles? Or are we at the point with that many books in circulation that we're always going to be reproducing ideas in some fashion? How are titles picked anyhow?

Here are a quick selection of ten titles you should probably be avoiding in the future!

City of Ghosts

- Stacia Kane
- Bali Rai

Love on the Run

- Leigh Greenwood
- Marie-Nicole Ryan
- Shari MacDonald
- Barbara Cartland
- Rachel Ann Nunes
- Jeanne Rose
- Angela Winters
- J M Benjamin


- Joseph Finder
- Karen Robards
- Kate Brian
- Danielle Steel
- Kat Richardson
- Kristi Holl
- Maureen Child
- Jordan Gray

The Edge of Ruin

- Irene Fleming
- Melinda Snodgrass


- James Herbert
- Malinda Lo
- Mary Gentle

The Ritual

- Adam Nevill
- J N Williamson
- R R Walters

The Magician

- Colin Wilson
- W Somerset Maugham
- Michael Scott

Ends of the Earth

- Tim Downs
- Valerio Massimo Manfredi
- Thomas Locke
- William Golding


- Karin Slaughter
- Lauren Kate
- Celeste Bradley
- Erin McCarthy
- Michele Hauf

Black and White

- Dan Mahoney
- Jeanne Betancourt
- Shiva Naipaul
- Jackie Kessler & Caitlyn Kittredge

As you can see from the ten titles above, it tends to be the generic terms that pick up multiples. I'm sure there will never be another novel called The Quantum Thief, for instance!

Actually, this is where I wanted to point out that fantasy and science fiction are blazing a trail in terms of unique book titles. Thanks to various made-up worlds or words or concepts, few fantasy titles will have duplicates! I present to you:

- The Lies of Locke Lamora
- The Quantum Thief
- Tome of the Undergates
- Prince of Thorns
- Embassytown
- The Jennifer Morgue
- The Dragon Reborn

We have a rich history of unique titles that will stand the test of time just fine - but it is always worth authors/editors/publicists just running a quick Google search just in case *winks*

Can you think of any other duplicate titles? What are some of your very favourite and unique titles for novels?


  1. Well there's The Gathering Storm the one from Kate Elliott and the other from Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson.

    Destiny by Fiona McIntosh and one by Elizabeth Haydon.

    And not the same but so alike it always catches my eye when I run across it, City of Ruin by Mark Charan Newton and City of Ruins by Kristine Kathryn Rusch.

    Those are the ones I can think of off the cuff :)

  2. There's Entangled by Cat Clarke, Graham Hancock, Barbara Ellen Brink, Chris Salter and Peter Sellars, and a bunch of others. One-word titles are the worst for this, I think. Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie is another one that shares its title with a lot of others, or very similar variations.

    The great thing about fantasy is you can just make up a place name, like Villjamur, and if you incorporate it into the title you can be fairly sure no-one else will have nabbed it yet.

  3. Thanks for putting 'Prince of Thorns' in with the unique titles. I have to admit though that amazon shows me 'The Prince's Thorn' is dangerously close in title if not direction.

    PS I loved your book-fort so much that I'm moved to offer you the spare ARC my US publishers sent me.

  4. Great point - these days at least it's easy to take a swing by The Google prior to publication...

  5. Wow that's a lot of Love on the Run books!

    I can only think of one from the top of my head -- Starcrossed. There are 9 results in Goodreads with the exact same title, two of which are on my wishlist, I think.

  6. I've got one on my e-reader called The Atomic Weight of Secrets or The Arrival of the Mysterious Men in Black. I don't think there'll be another with that title.

  7. I can only think of two title that I own multiples of:

    Utopia - the classic by Sir Thomas More, and also part of Roger MacBride Allen's "Caliban trilogy".

    Refugee - part of Piers Anthony's "Bio of a Space Tyrant" series, as well as part of the "Star Wars: the New Jedi Order" series.

  8. This bugs me too although I think I usually end up only reading one of the dupli(tripli, quadri)cate titles~~

    Unique title: The Name of the Wind ^.^

    Sniffly Kitty
    Sniffly Kitty's Mostly Books
    Loving the Reviews Challenge

  9. @ Mark - thanks so much for the offer, but I am one of the incredibly lucky people who already has an ARC :-D Will be reading it a little closer to publication date and post a review then!

  10. Great post - I hadn't realised how many duplicate titles there were!

  11. @Magemanda - cool. At the very least it can be another brick in the wall :)

  12. I've seen at least a couple of books titled "Blood and Iron"..