Just like your book’s title, your characters’ names matter when evoking not only their personalities, but also a reader’s interest.
Some of the most memorable and iconic names in fiction have their roots in rather mundane origins.
The most famous example is Ian Fleming’s James Bond, named after an American ornithologist. Now that name is eternally linked with images of glamorous espionage, not the relatively staid study of birds.
If you go down a list of famous fictional names, you’ll find not only variety in terms of protagonist types, but also carefully selected syntax.
Some fictional names - like Sherlock Holmes, Atticus Finch, Lolita, Jekyll and Hyde, Holly Golightly, Jay Gatsby, Oliver Twist, Ebenezer Scrooge, and Rocky Balboa - immediately conjure up a very specific type of individual, because they have indeed become symbolic of a certain profession or personality. They’ve organically grown synonymous with the characteristics defining them (in the case of these references: master detective, moralistic lawyer, pre-teen temptress, dual-minded schizophrenic, eccentric socialite, rich recluse, pathetic orphan, miserly scoundrel, and underdog boxer, respectively).
Not every character name achieves this universal glory, basically transcending mere identification and becoming a catchphrase. But when it does, whether strategically or accidentally, it ensures the author literary immortality, even if the creation (Frankenstein) eventually exceeds the notoriety and name-recognition of its creator (Mary Shelley) in popular culture.
Sometimes a seemingly ordinary name (“Tom Sawyer”) will become just as memorable as an intentionally idiosyncratic one (“Huckleberry Finn”). This applies to Henry Fielding’s celebrated but rather blandly designated novel Tom Jones, a deceptively simplistic handle later appropriated by a certain atomic-lunged pop singer (though it was professionally co-opted due to the success of the 1963 film adaptation, not the book itself) .
This is due to the strength of the actual story being told, which in turn elevates the power of the subject's name. Would the famous but humdrum name "Don Johnson" carry any weight at all without the context of Miami Vice?
In other instances, the main character is a thinly veiled representation of the author him or herself, and is dubbed accordingly. The drunken, struggling writer narrating the novels and short stories of Charles Bukowski is called "Henry Chinaski," a similarity removing any doubt of the character's autobiographical resonance.
Raymond Chandler’s “Philip Marlowe” is not as instantly distinctive as Dashiell Hammett’s more alliteratively catchy “Sam Spade,” which is perhaps why the latter has become a much more common description of the classic private eye archetype. However, when someone is describing a noir scenario conveyed by a world-weary, wisecracking first person narrator, they are more likely to say “very Raymond Chandler” as opposed to “quite Dashiell Hammett” (whose seminal genre masterpiece The Maltese Falcon was written in the third person).
Both of these hard-boiled trendsetters were graced with very cool authorial monikers, by the way, but that’s all a matter of fate, not strategy, unless of course one is writing under a colorful nom de plume.
My only recommendation is to come up with a name for your main protagonist – particularly if the novel itself is named after him or her – that is unique, rather than derivative. You don’t want to be just another Jane Eyre, even if by now that legendary name – like Dracula – is in the public domain and up for grabs (hence the hit book/movie Pride and Prejudice and Zombies).
“Walnut. Chumpy Walnut.”
Chumpy Walnut is the name of a character I invented when I was a teenager. He’s only a foot tall, and in fact originally he was to be the "talking walnut" star of a comic strip. However, early on I decided I was a more promising writer than artist, so his identity changed accordingly. But I did embed some of my crude Thurberesque illustrations in the Runyonesque narrative when it was eventually published.
I created my own private eye protagonist, Vic Valentine, as a vague combination of Philip Marlowe and Holden Caulfield, the ultimate angst-ridden adolescent from The Catcher in the Rye, though Vic’s name is alliterative in the “Sam Spade” mode (and actually has been employed by others for both real and fictional purposes, I discovered much later). Frankly, the character’s name sprung from the title of his first (mis)adventure, Love Stories Are Too Violent For Me, which just popped into my head during a private conversation about the state of my romantic life. So for what it’s worth, that’s an example of how your characters’ names can tie into the title, beyond the title simply being one's name.
Whatever you do, be careful not to offend anyone or violate any personal rights that might get you in trouble. I would strongly advise naming a fictional character “Donald Trump,” for instance. You may just get sued. But then again, think of the publicity!
There are easier ways to make a name for yourself, though.