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What’s in a name? How Important is The Title of a Book?

I actually came up with the name of my debut novel before the tenth chapter was completed. I had been living as a pseudo expat in The Netherlands, and had felt at the time as if I was living in a Parallel World. My husband is Dutch and we lived up north in
Groningen when I first moved to The Netherlands. I spent the first nine months
attending Dutch classes full-time with other expats. My week days were filled
with learning the Dutch language in the classroom and chatting with my friends
during the breaks in English. At night and on the weekends, if my husband and I
weren’t having fun with my expat friends, then we were having a good time with
our Dutch friends. Sometimes the two worlds joined together when we hosted
parties. Then I got a job at The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former
Yugoslavia and my expat world expanded, but my Dutch world also expanded. It
was easy to see how the two worlds coexisted. What else could I call this exceptional
type of living experience? They were and still are for me – parallel worlds.

I’m currently in the process of writing my second novel and many people have asked about the title. Well, I don’t have a title yet. I’ve written over thirty chapters and the title
hasn’t come to me yet. I haven’t even focused on creating a title. I’ve spent
more time on writing, learning how to improve my writing skills, and wondering
if I should go with my heart or try to appease readers. A title? That has been
the least of my concerns. However, what I have learned (because I’m always
learning) is that, besides the content of a book and its cover, the title is
also very important. I had decided to call my first book “The Parallel World” because
of my personal experiences, but does that resonate with my potential audience?
Is it a title that fits in with other legal thriller titles? In hindsight it
may fit better in the science fiction genre. The same goes for my cover. I love
my cover and I’ve received many compliments too, but does it fit the genre or
does it look more sci-fi?

So, what will I be doing in the future for every book that I write? I will be researching other book covers and titles of best sellers within the same genre. My second novel is
also a legal thriller, but also contains elements of the IT world and cybercrime.
Oops, did I just write that? Wow, I never give away details of a work in
progress. If there’s one thing I’ve learned since my debut book was published
in March 2012 is that I will be scouring bookstores to look at the
titles and book covers of other legal thrillers. It would be negligent not to.



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