Inquiring authors want to know: What’s harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names? (It’s me. I’m inquiring authors.)

My answer: Titles. Titles are the hardest thing ever. Titles are horrible, nasty, no good, very bad, brain-killing beasts.

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Actual depiction of how I Shatner-yell “TITLES!” when it’s time to beg the muse for one.

Compared to titles, naming my characters is a breeze. And not like, a fourteen-kilometer-per-hour windstorm breeze, one of those gentle zephyr kind. So many options, all of them easy breezy. I can use names I like the sound of, names which flow smoothly off the tongue, alliterative names, names that pay homage to friends or family by sneaking in their name/nickname.

I can go all Tolkien on my characters and imbue their names with lots of symbolic meaning or Latin-root hints. For example in one of my eXtasy Books novellas, the main character’s names is Asher. Which is Hebrew for joy. Which was very much deliberate and meaningful for the plot. Including little easter eggs like that is one of the obscure, probably meaningless, literary, sorta pretentious? bookwormy joys of my writer life.

Oooh, oooh, and I especially love to get in subtle digs at my enemies by including them as the villain with a slightly different name which still makes me think of them (this probably says a lot about my character and morals as a person and you know what I’m still going to do it, so mwahaha and all that).

But titles. Ahhhh, titles. Such a different story.

How do you encapsulate all of the ideas in the story in one pithy little phrase? What magic enables other authors to come up with a wonderfully fitting, dramatic title? How do you shove the meaning of your entire book into one or two words? How do you make it interesting, apt, evocative, perhaps even punny, but not too long, or too vague, or too boring?

No, really, how? That wasn’t a rhetorical question.

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Perfect title incoming in 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . DENIED

Blegh. Titles are awful. In all honesty, I usually end up trawling Amazon to gather inspiration from which titles are selling well in my genre right now, then tweaking the different ideas for my own story. And I head over to the Kindlepreneur list of free book title generators a lot of the time, too.

For my own entertainment I used the title generators to come up with the worst titles of all time in several different genres and posted the results. It was way more fun than coming up with actual, serious titles, tbh. I mean, by the end of it there was a rejected illustrated children’s book titled “Forty Whacks and Bedtime Snacks, the Goode Childe’s Compendium of Famous Serial Killers” and really, I might as well retire right now.