Thursday, August 16, 2012

Two Books, One Title...

I received this letter this morning:

RE: The Novel Title "Dead River"

Are you aware that the title of your new novel is the same as another novel published February 2010?

Professional courtesy would call for you to change the title of your novel to avoid confusion even though the genres are different.

Most all professional writers do due diligence and check titles of published novels so these conflicts do not occur.

(Name Redacted)

My response was this:

Dear (Name Redacted):
I am aware of this. However, I believe "most all professional writers" are aware that book titles can not be copyrighted. And because there are millions of books on Amazon, with thousands being added every day, it is a very common occurance for books to have the same title. I am actually surprised there are not more books entitled "Dead River", considering there a quite a few Dead Rivers in the United States, and it does make for a very creepy title.

 The book you are referencing came out awhile ago, and it's not the same genre, so there can be little confusion. I would like to point out to you my novel SLEEPLESS, which came out in 2010. If you check it on Amazon, you will see MANY books with that title. Ironically, two of them are the same genre as mine. Yet, I have never once had my titles confused with theirs. Another book of mine, TOUCHED, which came out this month, shares its title with another book in the same genre, coming out later this year. I consider those to be closer matches than what you have provided me, and yet, as I have learned, there is little reason to be concerned.

 I am fortunate to be working with a major publisher who regularly consults the market and makes determinations for me as to what my titles should be. If they have any concerns over conflict, believe me, they would address them.

 Thank you for your concern.

 Cyn Balog

FAIRY TALE (Delacorte, out now!)
SLEEPLESS (Delacorte, out now!)
STARSTRUCK (Delacorte, out now!)
TOUCHED (Delacorte, out now!)
DEAD RIVER (Delacorte, April 9, 2013)

What are your thoughts about two books having the same title?

UPDATE: The person who contacted me earlier responded. The response is so laughable that I should probably not feed the troll, but sometimes I can't help myself.

Of course titles can not be copyrighted, you missed the point. This is not a legal issue but a professional one.
I already stated below, the genres are not the same, however, there still could be confusion having the same title ...
Your publisher may want to do a better job next time.


  1. There are so many books out there with the same title that I don't really think it's a big deal. If the title fits the book well, it should be titled that. I actually think it is rude that someone would call you out on it since really the final say is with your publishers right?

    1. Yes, I think that many people who haven't worked with a major publisher before don't realize how little say us "tiny" authors have in our books. A lot of times, they say jump, and I jump. I don't live under the delusion that I'm special, with a magical gift few possess. If I played diva and demanded a new title, there's about a thousand other willing authors who'd gladly take my place!

  2. Seriously?? What is wrong with people? Who sends a note like this? The other day, I got a note from someone who follows my blog that told me the interview I did had a mistake in it and I should correct it. I have to say that I do not correct the answers to the questions authors give me. I copy what they have given me and paste it into my blog. I don't think it is my right to correct it, although I could always ask the author. But, of all the things to comment on, this is what you point out? Not, wow, great interview, wow, I'd like to read this author's book or any number of positive comments I could come up with. In the long run, people will have their opinions. I chose not to respond to this person, as much as I wanted to! I can't say I would have had the same restraint had I received a letter such as you did. People have nerve. There are many books with the same title out there. Anyone who does an internet search on places like Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Goodreads can attest to this. Ridiculous. I'll be curious to see if the person responds to you again. Good for you for standing up for your book, Cyn!!!

    1. Yeah, I really don't get it, but some people have way too much time on their hands and actually think it's a productive use of their time to rip on people they don't know. I felt at first that I had to answer, as I want to answer ALL my email, and thought that maybe he'd appreciate the information. However, it's clear he's not interested in learning something new, he just wanted to victimize someone.

      When I realized he was just a troll, I told this person I would not correspond with them further as I considered the matter closed, and was hit with a barrage of emails where this person insulted me and just about every other YA author out there. I had to block his email. No doubt just another crazy troll who has ties to the self-published author he was trying to defend. I feel bad for that author, as this person is not doing him any favors.

  3. I can't even believe someone would waste their time or yours in e mailing you with such tripe. Of course titles cannot be copyrighted, it happens all the time that books have the same title. Please don't let stupid people get you down Cyn and btw, I think you handled it beautifully :)

    1. Thanks, Lynsey! Some people are just crazy. I can understand being worried about something like this, as I confess I was, until I learned it was nothing to concern myself over. This person obviously just wanted to pick a fight. It's sad that there are so many people like this out there.

  4. Hilarious. That is all I can say.

    1. Hee, at first I was so angry, but looking back at it, it is kind of hilarious to see how clueless people can be!