Selecting a Great Book Title

Your book title is one of the most important elements of your book.  It’s the hook that grabs your prospective reader’s attention and motivates them to flip over the book, look inside and hopefully purchase the book, so it is critical that your title be relevant and compelling.  Here are some tips on how to find an effective title for your book:

  1. While you are writing your book, don’t worry about finding the best title.  Come up with a working title that pertains to your goals for the book, or the message you want to communicate.  Get the book written first.  Sometimes the title will come to you once the book is mostly written.
  2. Short titles (5 words or less) are more compelling than long titles.  One word titles are even more compelling.  Contagious, by Jonah Berger, or Lean In by Cheryl Sandberg are two examples.  You can include a subtitle, such as “Why Things Catch On”, the subtitle to Contagious, or “Women, Work and the Will to Lead”, the subtitle to Lean In.  Subtitles should be 8 words or less.
  3. The title should convey the topic of the book.  If you are solving a problem for your target reader, the title should focus on that, or the benefit the reader will obtain from reading the book.
  4. Certain titles have mass appeal, such as X Mistakes to Avoid, or  X Tips to a Better ____, or How to XYZ.
  5. Use active words.  For instance, “Get Clients Now” is more compelling than “Getting Clients Now.”
  6. Numbers are popular, particularly three, five, seven, ten and 101, as in Three Simple Steps to a Healthier You, or 101 Ways to Market Your Book.
  7. Use key words.  If your title or subtitle includes key words on your topic, your book is more likely to be found in searches on that topic.
  8. Consider using alliteration, metaphor, a common expression or words from a well-known song.  These will make your title memorable and familiar.
  9. Test your proposed title – ask fans of yours on social media to vote for their favorite title among the ones you propose; or you can run a contest, offering a prize for the best suggested title.  By doing so, you are likely to get some good input, plus you build engagement and start to build an audience for your book.
  10. Check to make sure your title isn’t already being used.  If someone else has a book with the same title, you are better off choosing a different title.
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