It is easy enough to write a book. The difficulty is to sell the production when it is finished. That, however, is not the author's business. Nevertheless, the labours of the writer are not over when he has completed the last paragraph of his book. He has, then, in most cases, to find a title for it.
This, I maintain, should be a matter of little difficulty. I regard a title as a mere distinguishing mark, a brand, a label, a something by which the book may be called when spoken of -: nothing more.
According to this view, the value of a title lies, not in its appropriateness to the subject-matter, but in its distinctiveness.
To illustrate: some years ago a lady entered a bookseller's shop and asked for " Drummond's latest book -: Nux Vomica." The bookseller without a word handed her Lux Mundi.
To my way of thinking Lux Mundi is a good title inasmuch as no other popular book has one like it. So distinctive is it that even when different words were substituted the bookseller at once knew what was intended. That the view here put forward does not find favour with the critics may perhaps be inferred by the exception many of them took to the title of my last book -: Bombay Ducks.
While commending my view to their consideration, I have on this occasion endeavoured to meet them by resorting to a more orthodox designation. I am, doubtless, pursuing a risky policy. Most of the reviewers were kind enough to say that Bombay Ducks was a good book with a bad title. When criticising the present work they may reverse the adjectives. Who knows? D. D.