Pub Rants

A Very Nice Literary Agent Indulges in Polite Rants About Queries, Writers, and the Publishing Industry

#NLAquerytip #4

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Two contract things to tackle but it’s feeling like a mellow Friday.

Listening To:

GRACELAND by Willie Nelson

Fact: A really good title for a novel will catch an agent’s attention

And once that attention is caught, then the chances of the entire query letter being read is very high. The benefits of this is obvious. If an agent reads the entire email, the more likely it is that the agent will request sample pages.

I know I’ve requested pages simply because a title was so original and cool, I had to see if the writing stood up to the wonderful title premise.

Now if the writing doesn’t engage, a good title won’t keep the agent from rejecting the pages but as you all know, writers have to get a foot in the door first to even get the chance to wow agents with their craft. So anything that increases your chances for getting sample pages read is valuable.

Spend some time on this component of your novel. Do searches on Amazon and other venues to see how common it is, etc. Don’t just include a “throw-away” title. It certainly won’t help and it might actually harm.


3 Responses

  1. Giora said:

    Interesting and thanks for posting this. I didn’t spend much time to have a great title because I’ve read that in almost all cases the book publisher decides about the title, and most titles by authors are being replaced.Now, I’ll try to find an original and cool title.

  2. Carolynn Pianta said:

    Maybe I’m shooting myself in the foot but if an agent suggested a title change, or a publisher wanted to change my title, I would be heartbroken and really rethink choice. It’s not that I am arrogant, or think I know it all, I’m just convinced my title is ‘the one”.

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