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I have a really good title for this book, but I'm scared it implies the book is religious when it's really not. The title is "The Only Way To Heaven Is Up." It mostly focuses on people overcoming tragedies. I'm trying to keep this post as generic as I can, however.

So the question is, is incorporating religious elements such as this into a book title giving the wrong impression?

  • As a customer looking at the title, I would walk by it not because 'heaven' is in the title but because some systems have spiritual experience as 'down.' Such as 'falling' asleep into the dream realm, the 'sub'conscious, and so on. – DPT Sep 17 '17 at 19:47
  • I'd probably not read it, given that I'm not religious and heaven is in the title. I suggest changing the title to suit another part in the story rather than that specific part. – Aspen the Artist and Author Sep 17 '17 at 20:01
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    Note to answerers: a question asking whether a particular title is ok should be closed as primarily opinion-based (it's a poll). This question uses that title as an example and asks about incorporating religious elements into titles. Please address the latter in answers; responses that only comment on whether you'd buy a book with this title are likely to be deleted. – Monica Cellio Sep 18 '17 at 13:10
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I think it would be fine; "Heaven" is not really a religious element, people use it all the time to refer to pedestrian real world things. (The same could be said for the word "pray").

"That dessert is heavenly".

"How was your week in Hawaii?" RESPONSE: "Heaven."

I think that is a clever title. You (and your publisher) will figure out your book category; if it is not religious you won't be put in the religious or self help sections, you will be put in fiction where you belong. Then nobody expects your book to be religious.

  • Yes, that statement is correct, but as someone who does not practice religion, I would not say that in any circumstance. So it may prove offensive to some people strictly against that subject. – Aspen the Artist and Author Sep 17 '17 at 20:02
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    @AspenRand I don't think it is possible to write anything of interest to adults at all without offending somebody; it would have to be written for first graders. Whatever microscopic fraction of people cannot handle the use of "Heaven" outside of its religious meaning are worth sacrificing to gain the 99.999% of people that aren't going to buy an utterly boring book. Zero offense equals Zero Success. The nation (USA) and the world (Earth) are divided between conservative and liberal, religious and secular. IMO what doesn't offend either one of them doesn't leave room for a story, really. – Amadeus-Reinstate-Monica Sep 17 '17 at 20:50
  • @Amedeus true, I now realize my mistake. – Aspen the Artist and Author Sep 18 '17 at 0:49
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As a reader I think it's a common title. If it is a religious book then it would be placed in the "religion"section. Also, the cover can make a difference and of course if you write a good summary then I don't think you'll have a problem. Good luck!

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Giving your book a misleading title gives it an unnecessary extra hurdle to overcome in finding an audience. This title runs the risk both of attracting religious readers who will be disappointed by the actual content, and of turning off non-religious readers unnecessarily. It isn't necessarily a problem that cannot be overcome, but why take it on if you don't have to? It doesn't strike me as being such an amazing title that you couldn't find a decent secular replacement for it.

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