When writing, some people start with the main character, then go on to formulate the stories. Other's find it easy to start with the title of the story. For me, the hardest possible thing in the writing process is naming my story. I can come up with characters and names that just fit the characters. I can come up with intricate plots and scenes. But for the life of me I cannot find a suitable title for my books.
My debut publication morphed from, "Once upon a Wedding day" to "A Marriage of Convenience" with a whole list of abandoned titles in between. Two years ago I entered it into a first chapters competition hosted by gather.com. It was an American Idol style competition where a book publication contract with a nice signing bonus was the prize. Of course hoping for anonymity where my friends and family were kept in the dark did not help my cause and needless to say, I didn't even make it to the second round.
One person reading my first chapter in that competition made this comment (and I am paraphrasing) "Interesting story, but the title lacks originality." I can tell you, I was more than a little upset. Two years and a publication later, as I did a search on Amazon.com for "A Marriage of Convenience" I understood what the reviewer was saying. There were so many other books and videos entitled "A Marriage of Convenience" that I had to use the author's name to search for it.
"From SKB with love" in the Holiday Brides Anthology was a little more original. But that went from "Love on the shores" to "A Caribbean Christmas" to "Sugar City love" before finally becoming "From SKB with Love" based on the title of a song mentioned in the book and the nickname for St. Kitts, where the story unfolds.
Right now I have a WIP and for the life of me I cannot think of a name for it. I wonder if it is good idea to have a naming competition. You know, post a synopsis on the web and have people email me the possible titles and then choose from there. The prize could be a signed copy of one of my published novels. It should certainly give a pre-publication, pre-acceptance, pre-submission publicity boost.
What do you think? Is that a good idea for selecting a title for a book or am I just being naive?