And the Winner Is:


Thanks to all who voted in last month’s opinion survey regarding the new title. The large number of responses (nearly 50) really helped me decide. Some of you may be disappointed that your favorite wasn’t the winner. I seriously considered several other titles but knew I’d have to live with the title I chose for a long time, so I picked the title that just plain “felt right.”

Are you wondering how I choose book titles? There’s no secret formula that authors follow to determine the right title, but many factors need to be considered.

Here’s a list of my considerations:

  • How many other books have the same title? Too much competition may bury your book far down the search pages.
  • Is my title the same as an iconic title that may mislead people? No author wants angry customers who thought they were buying a different book.
  • Is the title trademarked? The Harry Potter books and the Goosebumps books are examples of titles that can be trademarked because they have that common word or phrase in each of a long series of books. Trademarked titles are off-limits.
  • Is my title consistent with the titles of my previous books? I’ve gone with two-word titles for SR and CD, so it makes sense to use another two-word title.
  • Does my title suggest a connection to the previous books in the series? Dangerous Straits contains variations of a word from each previous title that helps the reader realize the books are part of the same series.
  • Is my title easy to remember? Short titles are easier to remember; long titles, not so much. Dangerous Straits is easy to remember. However, a long title may be memorable because of the combination of words. Two that come to mind are The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig. Again, that’s a choice the author, or often the publisher must make.
  • Does the title convey a sense of the genre of the story? Dangerous is self-explanatory. One definition of Straits is “a situation of perplexity or distress —often used in the plural. Ex: in dire straits.”

Dangerous Straits was a tough title to come up with compared with Straight River and Castle Danger, but I feel it’s a solid choice that will bolster the “Matt Lanier franchise.”


MON, September 13, 4:00-7:00 pm. Garden Spot Market Annual Author Event in Brownsdale MN. 

Scroll to Top