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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I put a science fantasy type space opera up for preorder under the title "Shadow Captain"...and only then discovered that there is a space opera named Shadow Captain by Alastair Reynolds. (My only defense is that he is generally seen as a hard SF writer, and that is a subgenre I don't follow, especially in tradpub).

What can I do? I don't want to be seen as trying to ride on the coat-tails of a much more respected author, especially one whose audience would probably find my  adventure story frivolous at best. Coming up with a different title and putting it on my cover art and in the manuscript is maybe a day or two of work at most, and I don't begrudge it, but I don't see any way of getting Amazon to let me edit the title. Help!
 

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Nothing. Unless he somehow trademarked the title, he doesn't own it. If the books are different enough, people probably won't even notice. The thing about titles is that they're often used a whole lot, in different genres. You should always research titles before committing to them. Make sure you're not going too close with a similar book.

I'm not even sure you can change it at this point. Amazon has been questioning people, or flat out refusing to allow, title changes. If you stop the preorder, you'll lose that privilege for a year.
 

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Do a search on Amazon books called "Blood Ties."

Then forget it and move on. Unless the genres are very similar, nobody but a few cranks will notice or care.

Now if something gets big enough, it will be trademarked. For example, you can't call your books Harry Potter or Star Wars or Fifty Shades of anything because those have been trademarked, which usually happens when book sell a zillion.

Until then, use the title you like. As said above, titles are not copyrighted in the USA, though they are in some nations' laws.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Both Shadow Captains are in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Space Opera and might both be in Books > Literature & Fiction > Action & Adventure > Science Fiction. (I am using Kindle Rocket to look at the categories for Reynolds's Shadow Captain). Mine's not in most of his other categories though; his is in a number of YA categories, mine wouldn't be (the main hero is 35), and of course his is in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Hard Science Fiction, which mine doesn't qualify for.

Thank you both for the support, I think I'll just have to live with the embarrassment, and hopefully learn from it.
 

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Although it's preferable to have a unique title, it's not a huge deal if you accidentally use one that's been used a few times before. Especially since any different title you choose may be used by yet someone else who comes along next week or next year. I'd just make sure your branding is clearly different from the other author's and you should be fine. If you're still concerned, maybe wait until your book goes live and then see if you can add a subtitle to help differentiate.

Also, not that you need to cancel this preorder but if you ever do need to cancel one, this is from KDP's contact page:

In order to provide you with more flexibility at this time, we will temporarily allow pre-orders to be delayed or cancelled without penalty. After you've made your changes, please contact us with the ASIN of your pre-order to have the penalty removed.

It's a Covid-related thing and I don't know how long it will last, so use sparingly and keep an eye out for a change at any time.
 

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Could you add a subtitle to yours? "Shadow Captain: a tale of ..." That way you don't have to change everything, but it's still distinguished slightly from the other one.

Or, as others have suggested, just let it go and chalk it up to experience!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Carol: Thanks for the tip; I did not know that.

It's already book 1 in a series, so adding a subtitle in addition to author name, book name, and series name is not ideal. I've pretty decided to just live with it.
 
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