“What are the possible repercussions of giving my book the same title as other books on the market?”

“What are the possible repercussions of giving my book the same title as other books on the market?”

Q –

I wrote my book and I really need to keep the same title I chose long ago. I’ve already mentioned it on social media and I’ve even done some pre-publication marketing.

I learned today that there are books, articles, and even an old movie with the same title as my book. I really don’t want to change it at this point. What can I do?

A –

Titles can’t be copyrighted but they can be trademarked.

I searched the trademark database. The title of your book was trademarked by what appears to be a videogame company (perhaps they made a b-grade movie back in the day) back in 1995. However, the trademark has been abandoned (is expired).

Yes, there are several books by that exact same title on Amazon. That is a big problem.

To avoid confusion, we recommend authors come up with an completely unique title.

If there are other books with the same title, people searching for that title may end up finding those other books on Amazon, and buying another author’s book by mistake. In other words, your marketing efforts can end up enriching those other authors. And, when one of your readers receives a book by that title written, but written by some other person, guess who they’re going to be upset with? YOU. They may even accuse you of trying to ride on the coattails of some other, more popular author.

I’m an industry expert and it happened to me one day. I was in a hurry, and ordered a copy of Swan Song. That’s my favorite book and it was written by Robert McCammon. Over the years, I’ve purchased copies for all of my adult kids and my parents. Well, since I was in a hurry, when ordering a copy for a friend one day as a gift, I ordered a completely different book came by a different author…but with the exact same title.

If it can happen to me, it can happy to anybody. Change the title of your book. Make it completely unique. It’s easy to search Amazon for new titles you have in mind. Be sure to put quotation marks around the titles you are searching for.



Angela is not only the publisher of WritersWeekly.com. She is President & CEO of BookLocker.com,
a self-publishing services company that has been in business since 1998. Ask her anything.


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