What’s in a title?


What makes a title work? Is it the clever word-play? An arresting thought? A famous quote? When you look at a list of book titles, you can see hundreds of different attributes working below the surface – all of them trying to capture your imagination and make you want to buy the book. But which of these attributes work best? Are there any that completely kill a title?

To answer these questions, I’ve created the Fantasy Title Fight. It’s a simple web-based game and experiment in which potential readers (like you :-) can look at pairs of hypothetical fantasy titles and choose which of them you prefer. Play once, or play a hundred times. You’ll probably find some of the suggested titles amusing, and some will no doubt bore you. But by voting in a few of these head-to-head battles, you help me establish a base of data to study.

When it’s all over, I’ll run some analysis, looking at a big stack of attributes and how they performed in the competition. Then I’ll post my results. It won’t be an instant recipe for success by any means, but hopefully, it will give us some idea of what attributes work for fantasy titles, and which ones seem to stumble.

Ready to give it a try? Just head on over to Fantasy Title Fights. And let the combat begin.

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About the author

Jefferson Smith is a Canadian fantasy author, as well as the founder, chief editor and resident proctologist of ImmerseOrDie. With a PhD in Computer Science and Creativity Systems compounded by a life spent exploring most art forms for fun and profit, he is underqualified in just about everything. That's why he writes.