Posted by: Schuyler R. Thorpe | February 26, 2014

Titles, Titles, Titles Everywhere! (Or As I Like To Say: Who Gives A Fuck?)


While I’m on a sugar high from eating too many gumballs and fighting the urge to sleep for the next century (instead of going to the library today to pick up my library loan of Star Trek-Into Darkness), I figure I’ll let everyone in on a little known problem that I seem to be combating for each and every time I plunk my butt down to write a novel.

And that is coming up with titles.

Seems to be my favorite game these days and believe me, I’m always coming up with some doozies that would rock the world–if only for the sad fact that they are already taken by someone else before I could get around to publishing them!

The Lost Princess? Taken.

The Life of Pi? Famous and already taken.

Lead Me Into Temptation? Taken and…taken.

Firebirds? Taken.

Believe me…

I spent the last twenty minutes on Amazon typing in the titles for my books and finding out to (not surprised really) that a growing number of my book title choices have already been taken.

Of course, I could probably choose something else in the interim, but the truth is, it’s only a matter of time before that title is taken too–by some lucky stiff who has a bigger bank roll than me at the moment.

But this what I get for coming up with my titles independently and not stealing from someone else’s pocketbook.

The truth is, titles are so misogynous. They proliferate like Tribbles and there’s really no way to keep them tamped down for all it’s worth.  I could come up with Hell’s Angels and in a heartbeat–or two–some schmuck in New York will have already thought up the same title, slapped it on a lunch box and published it with the blessing of the mainstream publishing industry.

At the same time, I will have everyone within earshot biting my head off for having the same title as this other published dumb ass and should look for another one.

But for how long?

My imagination can’t stay pat for long. I’m always dreaming up stuff before the next guy gets a hold of it. So I have no choice but to ride the rapids.

In that case, there’s nothing I can do. I can’t change the titles of my books once they are firmly entrenched in my collective psyche. But this has nothing to do with me riding someone else’s coat tails for all its worth either.

I want my books published–or self-published–under those titles. And as far as I am consciously aware generic titles like mine can’t be copyrighted–unless trademarked or something.

Only the material.

Which is fine by me. I don’t think anyone is going to blink at a book that is either fantasy/adventure (The Lost Princess), comedy/romance (The Life of Pi), or simply sci-fi/fantasy. (The Starchild)

Of course, I could probably be sued by said agencies and have my life’s work yanked out from underneath me, but that’s not something I’m terribly concerned about right now.

The thing is, titles are everywhere and everything. Look at how many reincarnations of your favorite box of cereal has gone through over the past 35 years: It’s mind-blowing.

So to simply say, “You’re stealing an already published title!” is a bit superfluous and a stretch. You can’t steal what came from someone’s imagination. (Or in my case, my dreams.)

All you can do is sit back and watch things unfold from a set vantage point. Because sooner or later, all these titles will be filled up by generations of writers–looking to cash in on the next best thing.

And then where will we be?

Better think of another title quick before that’s taken too!

See? Losing battle no matter how you look at it.

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