I often come up with book titles before the manuscript is written. I try to think of something that would stick in the heads of the readers. A good working title is very important. It's the first thing readers see before choosing to purchase any book.

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What a great topic, George, when I can't come up with a title for my current book. Maybe we get some offerings of really good titles here.
I totally agree, George! I think a strong title not only draws in the readers, but it also helps the writer focus the story as he or she is writing it. Back in the days when I wrote under a pseudonym for a YA mystery series, they never took my book title ideas, and I always thought their final choices were watered down for the kiddie readers. It would have been hard to write the books under the titles they chose, but it was easy to write them using my working titles.
I find that a good working title is necessary for me to focus on the book I want to write. A lot of the time, I know, or at least have a strong feeling about, the title before I even begin writing the first page.
I wrote my first (and so far only) book with a different title in mind. I got a good response to the manuscript and a lukewarm response to the title. I changed the title and it changed everything.
Slightly off-topic. I'm thinking about starting to write from titles. I read recently that the songwriter Fat Mike from the punk band NOFX starts with a title, and it seems to work for him, with such titles as "One Way Ticket to Fuckneckville", "Anarchy Camp" and "Whoops, I OD'd".
Many times I'm asked how I came up with the title for THE BLACK WIDOW AGENCY series. I owe all credit (and part of my sanity) to my co-worker and fellow sister-in-crime, Kristyn Bernier, who lurks here at CrimeSpace. Kristyn and I were commiserating at the PD one particularly difficult day when she announced that when she retired, she'd start her own PI firm comprised of female PIs. "And you know what I'm going to call it?" she continued. "The Black Widow Agency." As they say, the rest is history...
I find that I need to work on the story before I come up with my title. I'm never usually good with getting my stuff titled early on for whatever reason.


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