Help! Someone is Using My Book Title!

 

Book titles!

Here’s the important thing to remember:

**YOU CANNOT COPYRIGHT A TITLE.**

This is why you see the same titles on multiple books, movies, songs, albums – any creative work. Nobody has a claim on any particular title. You want to name your book The Godfather? Go for it.

When you’re thinking about your title, you definitely want to Google & Amazon-search it, to see what already exists. But just because it’s already in use doesn’t mean you can’t use it. It’s your choice. Will it create confusion? Will it interfere with sales? Will it make readers mad and cause them to give you 1-star reviews because they thought they were getting “an offer they couldn’t refuse” and instead got your memoir?

Make your decision based on factors such as: How old is that other book? How popular is it? Is it similar to yours, or entirely different?

There are some pretty famous books out there that share the same title. For example, I know of at least two books with the following titles:
Great Expectations
Forever
Cloud Atlas
Life After Life
Possession

There are countless lesser-known books that share titles. Some popular ones are The Choice, The Secret, things like that.

The point is, titles can’t be copyrighted so you can use whatever title you want. Also, you don’t need anyone’s permission to mention a title (of a book, song, poem, anything) in your book or article.

Copyright law is fascinating and the idea of copyright is out of fashion in some circles, but your book title needn’t be part of that conversation.

Choose whatever book title you want!

 

If you should decide to invest in some personalized counsel, I offer coaching for unpublished authors here: My Coaching Services

I also offer online courses here: Author School

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Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Gardner Literary. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!

1 Comment

  1. Mark Murata on February 15, 2021 at 9:23 PM

    I think there was a book titled Shades of Gray, and people mistook it for a certain erotic novel. The author was actually happy about all the traffic she received.