How important is your title to getting an agent?

Submission protocol, query etiquette, and strategies that work
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Kerry Gans
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How important is your title to getting an agent?

Post by Kerry Gans » August 19th, 2010, 4:03 pm

Some writing colleagues and I are wondering: when agents get a query letter, how much weight do they place on the title the author gives the book? In other words, is the title ever the deciding factor in whether or not to ask for a partial or full or to reject?

One friend is trying to convince me to change the title of my book, since I have had no luck querying. I think the title is a good one, and the problem lies elsewhere (likely the letter itself). I contend agents are more interested in what you tell them about the book than the title of the book. Particularly since the likelihood of that title being okay-ed by the publisher anyway are very slim.

What're your thoughts?

Love your blog - first time on the forums, though!

Kerry Gans
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Down the well
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Re: How important is your title to getting an agent?

Post by Down the well » August 19th, 2010, 4:17 pm

Kerry Gans wrote: I contend agents are more interested in what you tell them about the book than the title of the book. Particularly since the likelihood of that title being okay-ed by the publisher anyway are very slim.
I think a really clever title or one that evokes a striking image might get an agent's attention, but really it is the compelling nature of the story and how well you describe the conflict that matters. Likewise, a really stupid title (something I'm amazingly good at coming up with) won't derail your query if everything else is done well.


This might help:
http://bookendslitagency.blogspot.com/s ... bel/titles

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: How important is your title to getting an agent?

Post by Nathan Bransford » August 19th, 2010, 11:09 pm

A good one can help a bit and a bad one can hurt, but it's not ultimately going to be a difference-maker. Titles can be changed.

Erica75
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Re: How important is your title to getting an agent?

Post by Erica75 » August 20th, 2010, 5:17 pm

I asked another agent that question during a live chat last week and she said she doesn't pay much attention to them since so many get changed at some point in the process. And yes, I asked because my title sux. :)
we blog - erica and christy - http://lynneawest.blogspot.com/

CraftyCreations
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Re: How important is your title to getting an agent?

Post by CraftyCreations » August 24th, 2010, 2:20 pm

I'm probably wrong but I think it depends on the genre. I thought I had a good query letter and when I queried a couple of agents, I put "query: title of my book" in the subject line and within a few minutes had rejections. It may have been my query, I'm slowly learning how to do it right, but in my case I think it was my title. I've since changed it and think that as soon as I can get the query right, I'll have a better chance.

Candy
I can spell - my keyboard can't.

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