Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tools for writers: Choosing your book title

 After careful consideration and a short consultation with my advisory board, I've decided to alter the title of my book. Nothing too drastic, but I thought I would make it official here and use this chance to share a useful Google tool.

Advisory board
For the last year, the title of my book has been Guardian Cats and the Lost Books of Iskandriyah. The story is based on a mystical book saved from the burning of Alexandria's legendary library.
'Iskandriyah' is Arabic for Alexandria and I had originally decided to use that version, because I liked the exotic-ness of the word and it fit well with the fantasy genre. But for a long time, something has bothered me about it, so I stopped to analyze it.

  1. First of all, although I love the word 'Iskandriyah', it's really hard to spell. More importantly,  Alexandria is a real city and the Library is a real place. The burning of the library was a famous historic event, so although my book is fantasy, it has a reality base. 
  2. There's also city in Iraq named Iskandariyah and I thought that would add to the confusion. 
  3. This next part has to do with very practical considerations, that of searchability. There is a cool Google Insights Tool that lets you enter keywords and compare search volume patterns across specific regions, categories, time frames and properties. You can tweak this or use the simple results for a quick check. Here's what I found for my search terms:
    • 'Alexandria' yielded 87 out of a possible 100.
    • 'Library of Alexandria' yielded 51 out of a possible 100.
    • 'Iskandariyah' yielded 20, but they all had to do with Iraq
    • 'Iskandriyah' yielded 0
If I was still had any attachment to the exotic name, this pretty much decided it for me. Besides, if I could never quite get the spelling of Iskandria Iskandriyah down, I certainly didn't want to burden my readers with such a cumbersome name.

Thanks, I feel  better now.

Have book titles been an issue for you?


  1. I am glad you changed it. I always thought Alexandria was more "accessible" and marketable.

  2. Yay that you're happier with your new book title!!! I thought Iskandriya (did I spell that right?) sounded most exotic and I'd have had a browse through if I'd seen this title (that and the fact that your book title has the word "cats"!).

    Take care

  3. I think it will be easier for your middle-grade audience without the exotic title. Thanks for the Google tip!

  4. Thanks for the Google tip. The new title sounds great. Hope your writing is going well? Missed your posts.

  5. Thanks to all for stopping in and letting me know you were here. Hope everyone is having fun writing!


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