books with the same name

Question: If you come up with the name for a book but it's the same name as another book. Is that ok? Or is that not allowed?

Answer: Titles cannot be copyrighted, so there is no rule against giving your book the same title as another.

However, the danger is that you might create confusion in the marketplace, especially if both books are in the same genre or will be published around the same time. For instance, if you were releasing a serious literary novel in 2013, a title like "Shades of Grey" might attract readers looking for a different kind of read. Consequently, they may be disappointed in your book and discourage their friends from buying it. Meanwhile, your ideal readers, the literary fiction crowd, who might love your book if they read it, might be turned off by the title.

Occasionally, you will see books given titles similar to the title of a currently popular book in an attempt to ride on the coattails of the other book's popularity. Sometimes this may be legitimate, as in the case of a parody. However, sometimes it looks like a blatant attempt to make money by deliberately confusing the readers. No doubt it works. However, smart readers will recognize the strategy. It's also tantamount to admitting that your book cannot stand on its own legs.

In the end, it is usually the publisher's marketing department that has the final say on a book's title, and potential sales are a key factor. They will generally want a title that will appeal to your ideal audience, that will make it stand out, and that will be in line with the promise of the book.

Click here to post comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Questions About Novel Writing.

 Step-by-Step Novel Planning Workbook

NEW! Make Money Writing Nonfiction Articles

"I've read more than fifty books on writing, writing novels, etc., but your website has the most useful and practical guidance. Now that I understand how a novel is structured, I will rewrite mine, confident that it will be a more interesting novel." - Lloyd Edwards

"Thanks to your "Create a Plot Outline in 8 Easy Steps," I was able to take a story that I simply just fooled around with and went willy nilly all over, into a clearly defined, intriguing battle where two characters fight to keep their relationship intact, and try to find a balance in control of themselves and their lives. Thanks to you, I'm not ashamed of the poor organization of my writing." - Nommanic Ragus

"I am so glad I found your site. It has helped me in so many ways, and has given me more confidence about myself and my work. Thank you for making this valuable resource, for me and my fellow writers. Perhaps you'll hear about me someday...I'll owe it to you." - Ruth, Milton, U.S.A.

"I never knew what to do with all the characters in my head, but since discovering Dramatica I am writing again in my spare time. Thank you for making this available. Yes, it is a bit complex, and it does take time, but I love it because it works." - Colin Shoeman

"I came across your website by chance. It is a plethora of knowledge, written in a simplistic way to help aspiring writers. I truly appreciate all of the information you have provided to help me successfully (relative term) write my novel. Thank you very much!" - Leo T. Rollins

"I can honestly say that this is the first website that is really helpful. You manage to answer complex questions in relatively short articles and with really intelligent answers. Thank you for taking the time to write these articles and sharing them so generously." - Chrystelle Nash

"...had no idea that a simple click would give me such a wealth of valuable information. The site not only offered extremely clear and helpful instructions but was a very enjoyable read as well. The education from your wonderful site has made me a better writer and your words have inspired me to get back to work on my novel. I wish to give you a heartfelt thanks for How to Write a Book Now, sir." -- Mike Chiero