UPDATE: I received the following message from Amazon KDP:

“Firequeen: Author and title indicate a different book has been submitted than what is currently for sale on the site. Please submit as new book.”

That’s right. The new title was so much livelier than The First Covenant that Kindle couldn’t comprehend them being the same novel! I think I’m onto a winner here, but it’ll mean deleting TFC from the system.

The title can make or break a novel (or blog post, etc). This is even more true for self-published novels. You need a gripping title to bring in readers and make them want your book (or blog post).

Sadly, this isn’t a how-to post. This is a what-not-to-do post.

The First Covenant

That’s the title of a fantasy novel I self-published. In technical terms; it’s dead. Currently it sits below the 1,000,000 mark in the Kindle UK rankings. I wouldn’t mind, except for the fact that my historical novel Vikingr now stands manfully around 8,000 (thanks to all of you readers, I don’t doubt!).

I’ve spent a long time trying to figure out what went wrong. Did I lose my marketing touch? Was the writing awful? Did the plot, again using technical terminology; suck?

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think the title is largely to blame. The First Covenant is a rather boring way to express what is (hopefully) quite an exciting tale.


So I made the decision to change my title. Often, the first one you land on won’t be up to scratch. You’ll have to walk a tightrope between those which are plain boring and titles which have already been snapped up.

In what I can only assume was a temporary fit of madness, I landed on Firequeen. If Lesson 1 here is not to use the first title which pops into your head, Lesson 2 is definitely don’t run with the second.

Firequeen sounds like the name of a poorly-drafted cartoon character, or a dodgy nightclub. I’m now stuck waiting for Amazon to approve the change (I hope they don’t) before I can reverse my folly.

Anything else

At this point, anything would be an improvement. How about Queen of FlamesBurning Realm, or Lady of Vengeance?

To be honest, I don’t like any of them. It’s possible that some stories don’t lend themselves to a compelling title. In which case, it must be better to give it an irrelevant one rather than a title which perfectly expresses a story no one will ever read.


Ok, here’s a very brief how-to. You can construct a title as follows: [noun] of/in/by/etc. [noun], OR [adjective] [noun].

For example: Lord of the Rings, King of Monkeys, Death by Piano, Pancake of Doom, Lovely Bones, Perfectly Dead. 


If you have any suggestions, let me know! How easy do you find it to choose a title?


16 thoughts on “Firequeen *updated* (choosing a title)

  1. Probably a ridiculous title for your book, since I don’t know the storyline, but how about ‘The Firequeen’s Covenant’? ‘Covenant of Fire?’ Oh, I can’t even work out a title for a short story I’ve just finished, so don’t listen to me!

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  2. I’ve struggled with my title landing with ‘The Brothers Three’ for my main novel. With another I struggle with the name being almost too long, but I think it adds to the appeal of the book.’Ameliorate and the Infinite Dungeon’ (Ameliorate is a name, not the word.) It defines what the book is about in a broad sense, while driving you to wonder more about the details.

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      1. I can understand that. I need to start thinking about the cover of both of them, as I figured I’d get to that detail afterwards. Though now I will definitely start thinking about that!

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  3. I actually like Firequeen. What do you feel is wrong with it? I was just thinking ‘hmm… wonder what that’s about… Vikingr is a good one too, but can see why The First Covenant fell flat: it doesn’t sort of mean anything, or rather, it could mean anything, and I don’t really care enough to find out. I have been learning some of the same things since I’ve been blogging (not long) and have noticed that OK posts with inspired titles tend to get loads of views, but possibly better posts with more workaday titles don’t. Reading other people’s blogs and noticing what piqued my interest and/or kept me reading – that’s been such a useful lesson. I’ve come to the conclusion that either you need to paint a picture with a title, create one big, bold image (which for me Firequeen does) or you need to excite people’s curiosity. Vikingr works partly because it sounds rugged and adventurous, historical or possibly fantastical but also because, reading that word, you wonder, why is it spelt like that? What actually is/are Vikingr?

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    1. Thanks, maybe I’ll give Firequeen a second chance! You’re absolutely right about TFC, I think it sounds like the title to an essay on biblical history (which it isn’t).

      I’m currently working on another novel, White Rose. Do you think that title is evocative enough? Or am I heading in the wrong direction with that as well?


      1. Not too keen on White Rose, not quite sure why. Yes, it’s because Firequeen is a person, a character, whereas White Rose is a thing, or sounds like a thing anyway. White is…white. So what? Rose… well, a rose is a rose is a rose. I expect it’s something to do with the Wars of the Roses, but I’m still not moved by white roses somehow. Easy enough to criticise, of course, not so easy to think up a better alternative! I have noticed, with blog posts, people tend to like photos of people above the post, especially a picture that tells a separate little story of its own, rather than just pretty pictures of objects or scenes. I wonder whether we are somehow programmed to be fascinated by other human beings… or beings… above all else? Just a thought.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. This is meandering but: have you heard of Firestorm? It’s a superhero from The Flash. I say “it’s” because Firestorm is a combination of two individuals who have to join together to become the superhero. The reason I mention it is because the Flash is really popular here in the USA. Firequeen is reminiscent of that. Thusly, good title. (I really wish I’d read this now!) Kai is your hero? How about Kai, Queen of Fire, (think Reign of Fire) or Kai, Queen of Flames? If you want to keep the “covenant” thing going, then I like the Bond Of Fire or Forged in Fire (maybe that’s redundant) Proved By Fire, The Pledge of Fire. Ok, enough! You know what, too? About Vikingr, I think you struck while the iron was hot. Vikings has become very popular on the History channel. With ahem, hotties like Travis what’s his name running around all bearded and… But I digress. Oh geez, see what happens when I’m tired and I have a beer?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right about Vikingr’s timing. With the number of viewers The Last Kingdom is getting, now might be the time to change Housecarl from a short story into a novel, while Saxons are still popular. Shame my works-in-progress list is already longer than my arm!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I have a thing with names. If I don’t know something’s name I lose interest. If I don’t have a title, the story never goes anywhere. I need to know my book’s name. My titles just come to me from the dark recesses of my mind.

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