Naming your novel

Lots of books

When choosing a name for your novel, always check to see how many of the same names already exist on the web. The more unique your title is, the better your chance it will come up in the first page of a web search. But you knew that, didn’t you?

Still, this can be hard to do when you’re just starting out and have a limited knowledge of the internet. For example, back in 2011, when I was planning my first foray into indie publishing with an animal novel I wanted to call MagnifiCat (because the main characters were cats) I typed Magnificat – novel into my Google search bar. All kinds of things came up—novels, religious books, music, comments on people’s blogs, something someone said on Linked In—I was soon lost. At the time, I was such a rookie I didn’t even know how to check Amazon’s books for sale to find out what other books were called Magnificat. Even if I had, I doubt I would’ve got an accurate picture of the situation.

The very best way to check whether the title you’re hoping to publish on Amazon has already been used (much as I don’t like monopolies, it would be mad to ignore them; they accoount for more than 70% of book sales) is to have an entry in Amazon Author Central. Once in there, you can check all your proposed titles and see if they are already in use on Amazon and, if so, exactly how many different books carry that title. The catch 22 with this is that Amazon won’t let you have a spot on Amazon Author Central until you’ve published at least one item, fiction or non fiction, with them.

Had I been able to access Amazon Author Central, through their feature called Add to your bibliography, I would have discovered that there are innumerable—and I mean innumerable— books, fiction and non fiction, on Amazon with the same name.

I recommend anyone planning to indie publish a novel on the web to put up something – anything – small on the web through Amazon first, so that they can obtain a spot on Amazon Author Central and have this simple title search site available to them.

If you already have published something with Amazon, don’t hesitate to claim your Amazon Author Central spot. (As well as allowing you to put up a biography, all your publications with Amazon are listed there. That means, if you publish a number of works, you don’t have to bewilder people with the various links, you just send them to your Amazon Author Central link (for example, mine is: and all your publications are there, with their covers. Click on any one of them and up comes the relevant publication.)

Best of all, for a writer grappling with the question of what to call their novel, the situation on Amazon for any proposed name can be seen at a glance through their Author Central’s Add to your bibliography feature. Of course, you must also do a Google search for books of the same name published elsewhere, but I recommend a combination of the two to get the most accurate results about any title you’re contemplating.


About Danielle de Valera

Award-winning Australian author. Editor, mentor. manuscript assessor since 1992.
This entry was posted in advice about writing, advice for writers, Australian manuscript appraisers, Choosing a name for your novel, Danielle De Valera, manuscript appraisers, manuscript assessments and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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