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View Full Version : Is It Okay To Have The Same Title As Another Book?


Darren Frey
11-06-2011, 01:03 AM
Ive noticed some people have books with the same title. I have a good title for my work in progress and noticed another book has the same title. Is it okay to name it the same thing as that book? I want to call it "Meat". It is a horror book. What do you guys think?

MJNL
11-06-2011, 01:10 AM
It's fine for now. If a publisher doesn't like it, they'll change it.

Maryn
11-06-2011, 01:10 AM
It's fairly common--I come across identically-titled books all the time--but ordinarily if the other book is at all recent, or if it's well-known, you'll be told to retitle it. And if they offer to buy it with a new title, you'll be delighted to do so.

That said, I like "Meat."

Maryn, who also likes meat

dangerousbill
11-06-2011, 02:37 AM
It's legal to use the same name, but lousy marketing practice.

The one exception would be a case where you step on a trademark or franchise, like naming your book 'Harry Potter and the Magic Bidet', or some such.

Check Amazon for titles or go to your local library or bookstore and check Books In Print.

Matiasve
11-06-2011, 03:37 AM
Dont think it's illegal since noone owns such a vague title but you might be better off looking it up osmewhere

Smish
11-06-2011, 03:44 AM
It's perfectly fine. And common.


And it's only a problem for marketing if the similarly titled novel is in the same genre, with a similar topic, published around the same time, etc.

Libbie
11-06-2011, 05:15 AM
It's generally okay. Usually publishers only change too-similar (or identical) titles if a) there is another book with that title, or one very close to it, at that publishing house, or b) there is another book with that title at a different publishing house, but it's a very well-known book.

Keep in mind that titles are marketing devices. You don't want to get too close to other titles in your genre, or your work may be confused with another author's, and that could cause headaches for you.

If there's a book with the same title in a different genre, it's generally not an issue, as long as you're not planning to call your book, say, Twilight, or Water For Elephants, or The Help. You get the idea.

Asha Leu
11-06-2011, 05:28 AM
It depends on the title, too. Something like "Truth" or "Battle Flag" is perfectly fine, while I suspect calling your book "A Tale of Two Cities" or "A Feast for Crows" would be less so.

IceCreamEmpress
11-06-2011, 06:54 AM
It's fine. There's lots of title reuse and overlap.

There are a few books out there called Meat, apparently.

For a laugh, look to see how many books are called Till Death Do Us Part. There seem to be hundreds.

mephet
11-06-2011, 11:42 AM
There's only that many (good) titles in the world, so some books do overlap. :D But the publishers might very well change your title in the marketing department, even if it isn't already used by another (new) novel. Therefore, preparing yourself emotionally to a title change might be a good thing to do before attempting to publish.

JSSchley
11-06-2011, 11:53 AM
Yep. No legal repercussions to using a title from another work. And the title you put on your WIP may very well be changed anyway, so title it something you're happy with. At the house I worked at (nonfiction), we re-titled about 50% of the things we got from book proposals.

However, should you go to market with a title too similar to something else, there may be repercussions--I've been very sad to see the Amazon ratings plummet for one of my favorite novels, THE SOLOIST by Mark Salzman, because people give it 2 and 1 star reviews when they buy it mistakenly thinking it's the book by Steve Lopez that was made into a movie.

stray
11-06-2011, 11:58 AM
I published a horror short story called MEAT last year!
No copyright on titles, so it should be fine as long as you use common sense.
Best luck.

Stijn Hommes
11-06-2011, 06:14 PM
It's completely legal, but still a bad idea. Imagine someone trying to Google for your book. They're not going to find it unless they add a whole lot more words to the search query instead of just the title.

scarletpeaches
11-06-2011, 06:19 PM
It's completely legal, but still a bad idea. Imagine someone trying to Google for your book. They're not going to find it unless they add a whole lot more words to the search query instead of just the title.Yes, like the author's name.

It's perfectly legal and acceptable to duplicate titles. Hell, I've done it and it hasn't affected my sales any.

blacbird
11-07-2011, 12:11 AM
I suspect calling your book "A Tale of Two Cities" or "A Feast for Crows" would be less so.

Clarification: It would be legal, but not very smart. And, as has been mentioned, a publisher would almost certainly change the title if you named it To Kill a Mockingbird or Twilight.

caw

scarletpeaches
11-07-2011, 12:15 AM
What about To Kill a blacbird?

McCaw.

blacbird
11-07-2011, 12:21 AM
I like it.

caw

gothicangel
11-07-2011, 01:51 AM
My new WIP that is R&D is called The Praetorian. By complete coincidence I found out Simon Scarrow's new book has that very title.

I'm keeping it for now. Maybe by the time I get to the submission stage, I may change it to something like Speculatore or Collector of Grains.

CarlyeKnight
11-07-2011, 05:27 AM
You should be fine as long as some other book called Meat doesn't become a Harry Potter-caliber bestseller before you get a chance to publish. Like they said above, if that becomes the case, your publisher will likely change your title.

VictoriaWrites
11-07-2011, 07:47 AM
...
Keep in mind that titles are marketing devices. You don't want to get too close to other titles in your genre, or your work may be confused with another author's, and that could cause headaches for you...

And your readers.

There were two YA books titled StarCrossed released last year (I think). One was fantasy, one was paranormal romance based on mythology, so the genres weren't the same, but they were similar.

All the comments on the internet about the one I hadn't read caused me major confusion.

skylark
11-07-2011, 11:38 PM
One of the Erin Hunter Warriors book series is called Twilight. It was released in 2007.

That said, I only found it at all because I knew there was another popular YA book also called Twilight so I kept looking until I found it.

I tried to see if there are any other books called Meat, but it's basically unsearchable on Amazon because of the sea of cookery books. If I were you I'd consider something a bit more Googlable.

scarletpeaches
11-07-2011, 11:41 PM
I have a book out next year entitled (I hope) Dark-Adapted Eyes. My editor emailed me to say, "Did you know that's very similar to Barbara Vine's Dark-Adapted Eye?" I said yes; in fact I'd nicked the title because I liked it so much.

Her response? "Oh. Okay. I just wondered if you knew."

As long as there are no other books with the same or a similar title at that publisher, usually it's okay.

Obiwanbeeohbee
11-08-2011, 01:41 AM
I'm fairly certain that you can tell from the cover of my book that it has nothing to do with pre-WW2 British / Polish / German political posturing.

Or, does it? :e2brows: Hmm.

Anyway, there is nothing wrong with using a familiar-sounding title to stir up interest in your book, especially if your use of the title could be considered satirical or just a pun. Of course, that requires your book to cover the same basic themes from a different viewpoint.

:rolleyes: Well, okay. Maybe my book does sort of reflect my views on imperialism, colonialism, how we treat veterans and foreign policy cock-ups since the middle of the twentieth century... But only a little.

Orianna2000
11-08-2011, 09:44 AM
The title I really wanted to give my current novel was taken by several other novels on Amazon. (A Time to Love) It fit the story very well, because it references time (it's a time-travel story) and it's a Biblical quote, which works because the MC is very religious. But I didn't want to overlap with so many other novels, so I gave it a working title that really sucked (Slipping Time, because the MC keeps falling through time). I despaired of ever finding a suitable title and figured I'd have to wait and let the publisher think of something. Then I was listening to a song on the radio and the lyrics hit me and all of a sudden I knewthe novel's title. I scrambled for a piece of paper and wrote it down, because I was so afraid I'd forget by the time I got home. I checked Amazon and there is no other book with the same name, so I'm rejoicing. (And no, I'm not saying what the new title is. I'm too paranoid, LOL. :) )