I have a title for a novel, however, it would lose its zeitgeist if I couldn't include the F-word. I can't go in to details without giving away the title.

Would this limit the potential audience significantly? or would publishers simply refuse to accept a title with the F-word in it?

Would a censored version be acceptable like F#%$ ?

  • Related: How much swearing is TOO much? (And how much is not enough?)
    – linksassin
    Commented Mar 1, 2019 at 4:55
  • 1
    [sex] isn't the best tag but there isn't one for profanity or swearing.
    – Cyn
    Commented Mar 1, 2019 at 5:21
  • 1
    @Cyn maybe we should make a profanity one rather than misusing the sex tag.
    – linksassin
    Commented Mar 1, 2019 at 5:21
  • 1
    @Cyn I made a meta: writing.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1842/…
    – linksassin
    Commented Mar 1, 2019 at 5:29
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    This is an aside, since it doesn't relate to publishers, but Frankie Boyle's autobiography was called "My S*** Life So Far", and while the word wasn't censored in the title, the book shops all put a sticker on the front cover to hide it. So retailers would accept a book with such a title as well.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Mar 1, 2019 at 6:42

1 Answer 1


There are 3573 entries on Goodreads with the word "f***" in the title (I only splat it for this site, not for my own sensibility). The titles contain the full word, spelled out.

2744 entries with the word s*** in the title.

And so on.

It's just not an issue with many publishers. It may be for others but those others likely wouldn't publish your book even if the title was G-rated.

The Netflix show The End of the F***ing World is commonly cited with the exact spelling I give here. But it's actually spelled correctly, no splats. Splatting and similar spelling changes are a way that many publishers, bookstores, and etc making the titles more generally acceptable.

Write the book first. Worry about the title later. Your publisher, should you be lucky enough to get one, will work that out with you.

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