Donna Galanti — What’s In a Title?

Please welcome fellow ITW debut author Donna Galanti this week to talk about one of the most important elements of every book… THE TITLE 

Novel titles. Where do they come from? R.L. Stine mentioned at ThrillerFest recently that he creates the title first and then the book. So do I. Other authors write the book first and create the title afterward. Of course, the title an author may love can get changed by the publisher.

Did you know that book titles can’t be copyrighted? How many have “shades of grey” in them? (or ‘gray’ if you’re of the American English persuasion). I stopped counting at twenty when I searched Amazon. Which one do you think most people are reading right now I wonder?

How about bizarre titles like, I Was Tortured by the Evil Pygmy Love Queen. Would you ever know it was about the evils that await a U.S. Navy fighter pilot when he meets a pygmy tribe after parachuting out of his plane? Doubtful. I would have re-thunk that one and tried it out on people at parties first. Or how about How to Make Love While Conscious. People may buy it just for fun, I hope not as a guide.

Are you writing a book and need a title? Try this fun online title generator. ( Can also be used to fake people out when playing Charades.

Here are titles I came up with for my book, A Human Element:
Cool ones – Bloody Bananas. Freaky Aliens.
Really? – The Daring Murders. (What murder isn’t daring?)
Funniest – The Human Runs. (Talk about messy)

I didn’t go with any of those. My paranormal suspense novel title, A Human Element, came from the premise that we all have a human element in us that is redeemable, no matter how small. It may not be Freaky Banana Runs, but I like it and got to keep it. What draws you to a book title?


Q&As with Donna:

One of the requirements for any guest post on this blog is that the victim (er I mean guest) must answer my version of the Proust questionaire. Here are Donna’s responses:

(1) What motivated you to write A Human Element?   A vision and grief. The story just came to me in a flash one day as I was driving. I wrote the entire synopsis down (while driving erratically), the first two chapters, and then shelved it for more than a decade. When my mom passed away I picked it up again and wrote it.

(2) What is your most treasured possession?  I would say my son, but he can be possessed himself at times. Seriously, the video memoir I shot of my mom before she died. It’s priceless and can never be replaced.

(3) What trait do you most deplore in others?  Arrogance. And people that slurp the water fountain and clip their nails at the office.

(4) What is life’s greatest betrayal?  That we can’t go back and enjoy our youth with what we know now. And that doughnuts and Doritos won’t make you thin. That’s just so unfair.

(5) What is your greatest extravagance? Time alone to write and read. I live for Scout weekends when my husband and son go away. And good beer. I’m a nut for rich, complex beers. I could have Troeg’s Double Bock Troegenator for dessert every night. No Miller Lite please.

(6) What do you do when you’re stumped at the keyboard? Bang it really, really hard. I’m on my third one. Then I go for a walk and the answers flood in…and call my husband to buy another keyboard on his way home.

(7) If you died and came back as a character in fiction, who would it be?  Sam Gribley in My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George. I grew up with the Catskill Mountains as my backyard view and would love a season to live off the land as a youth as Sam does. No rules. No school. No parents. Tons of challenges. Total freedom. Plus having a pet falcon would be super cool.

Donna Galanti is a 2011/2012 ITW Debut Author of the paranormal suspense novel A HUMAN ELEMENT (Echelon Press). She is a former Navy photographer, marketing manager, and recovering business owner. Donna lives with her family in an old farmhouse in PA with lots of nooks, fireplaces, and stinkbugs but sadly no ghosts. Visit her at:

Link for A Human Element:


  1. Brian, thanks so much for having me on and making me answer your questions! Was fun. And would love to hear of some fun novel titles from folks!

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