The journey to finding the title for my debut novel.
Picking the title for your book is hard…
I started writing my novel last summer and I had an early title that I used for the file name. I didn’t think too much about it.
Time passes, you write the manuscript and rewrite and then you get it ready for early beta readers. So you need a name. You throw a name on it that you like and send it out. No big deal. It’s just beta readers. Everything is a work-in-progress, prose, characters, plot, everything. The title is still the least of your concerns
You get feed back you go through more rewriting and you get an editor and send it off and then the waiting game starts. After working and thinking and tinkering nonstop with your manuscript for months. You have nothing to do but wait for editing returns.
Now, I had already committed to producing my own maps and I had a few other illustrations I was messing with but mostly those had come to a conclusion. Now what? Time to finalize that title and do some cover mock ups.
So while my manuscript was being edited my total focus became the cover. Anxiety ridden sleeplessness ensued. I proceeded to stress myself out over both the look of the cover and the title. The font and phrasing of the title have a huge impact on the cover art. I started from scratch and compiled a very LONG list of words and phrases that related to the book. Sometimes in obvious terms and others were completely esoteric illusions.
I took my favorite ones and started crafting mock up covers.
My first idea was to use an Edison light bulb as a single image to represent how the cast of characters are entangled in this storm that is the demise of their freedom. I knew that with the powerful beings that control energy being called luminaries that the word luminary or Luminance or Lumineers should be on there somewhere.
So the first title I worked on was the series title. For this I came up with a shorter list then the title.
The Soul Entanglement Archives
The Broken Empire Series
The Luminary Wars
The Luminance Saga
Chronicles of Tyrants & Desperateers
Energies of the Eternal Series
The Devices of God & Men Series
From this I decided that The Luminance Saga was the clearest and most encompassing without being obnoxious.
Next I tried to find a title for Book One or Part One in the series. This proved to be 10 times more difficult. A list that’s too long to share came together. That’s when the cover mock ups began. I needed to see the titles on a cover. I had settled on The Luminance Saga, so I began with it as the title.
I liked it. It’s not bad, but it didn’t seem provocative enough and just wasn’t the title of my book. So back to my list I went. The first title I picked next to illustrate was one of the longest, most rambling ones I had. Just to get it out of my system.
The Lost Frontier Beneath The Radiant Sky.
There was something about the phrase I really liked and still do, but long rambling titles are hard to come to terms with. I threw it up on a simple digital painted scene and quickly realized it wasn’t right.
Moving on down the list I came to a title I pulled out of the novel,
The Apparatus Frontier
The world being in a new scientific age and the Empire unhinged but machines coming alive. It was a good fit for the story and unique. I crafted a Photoshop cover with some gothic elements and steam and threw on the title with mediocre results.
Next, I made another digital illustration that was more lively and used another one of my titles.
The Shadow Field Horizon.
I thought the cover art had promise and it was a fun grouping of words, (the play on field and filled) but it was too sci-fi and ridiculous. Next!
I crafted a design I really liked and threw The Luminance Saga on it. It still wasn’t the right title, but the art was much butter. Stuck I re-examined my list and filtered out the phrases and words I was leaning on, (Storm, Souls, bonds, Horizon, Energy, Light, Eternal, Empire, United). I went back to the original title I named the files, rearranged and rephrased the words and found it. Finally the title had come together.
Finally found it.
The Binding Tempest,
Book One Of The Luminance Saga
Why, the Binding Tempest, because it constitutes both the storm that has entangled and bonded my characters together and also refers to the process that Qudin describes when controlling energy. He “binds the tempest disorder to his own energy”.
A couple of things I figured out. in this process.
One, Too many title ideas can become an abyss that easily traps you.
& Second, while I have some ability to make illustrations and art, it’s a bad idea to illustrate your own book covers. Simply because you lose that sense of enchantment and joy and only focus on the inadequacy of the whole endeavor. With that in mind I searched out a professional cover designer.
Stay tuned for the final Cover Reveal – Coming Soon