How to Write a Book Title
One of the most important assets of your book is the title.
Truth is, the title of your book has the power to dictate if people will actually pick it up and read it. So while it is important to know how to write like a bestseller, your book’s title shouldn’t be an afterthought.
I promise you the time you invest in writing a memorable, intriguing title is well worth the effort before publishing your book.
Because of the importance your book title has on your success as an author, I’m excited to share my top tips and steps about how to write a book title that I use to come up with titles for my bestselling books.
The Importance of a Book Title
Your book title has the power to convince people to read your book because it is usually the first thing people see or hear. Because of this, your book title is your single most important marketing tool.
You have heard the saying, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.”
But in this case, a good book title will cause readers to stop, take notice, and either choose your book or keep on browsing.
You also want to make sure your title is memorable enough so when people finish your book and want to share it with their network, it’s easily recalled.
To help accomplish this, remember a good book title is usually short, attention-grabbing, easy to say, and not embarrassing to say.
It should also be informative enough to give an idea of what your book is about, but has intrigue. Intrigue motivates the reader to pick it up and see what it is all about, after all.
How to Come Up With a Good Book Title
Whether you’re at the end of your writing journey and need a title or want a title to help guide your book writing journey, coming up with the right title will be critical to the success of your book.
Use these tips on how to write a book title to inspire your thinking.
Make sure you write down ideas as they come to you, test them out, and then choose your best one.
Think About Your Audience
You wrote — or are writing — your book for a certain person or group of people. Keep them in mind when writing your book title.
What do you think would draw them to your book? What would they want to see?
Choose words and phrases that your target audience will understand. Think about their age, interests, the things that are important to them, and the unique challenges they have.
Think and Grow Rich is an example of a bestselling title that appeals to people who want to be wealthy or get out of debt.
War and Peace is intriguing to people who enjoy history and the drama surrounding it.
Letting your mind be free to come up with a stream of various ideas is an effective method authors use to learn how to title a book.
Ideally, this process unfolds over time, even over the months or years that you are writing your book.
When brainstorming, don’t hold yourself to just one title. Keep a running list of book title ideas as they come to you to circle back to later.
Try short titles as well as longer subtitles. Write down everything that comes to your mind. Even bad titles will help you find the right one for your book.
As you continue to write your book, you may also come up with various titles based on clever phrases, names, places, or events in your story.
When sorting through your brainstormed titles, just make sure to always keep the ideas that use relevant keywords that will make your book searchable.
Inform and Intrigue
While your title should give away enough of what your book is about, it should really serve to intrigue your audience and not reveal too much of the actual story.
For example, The Diary of Anne Frank lets people know they will be reading about a diary by the famous historical figure Anne Frank, but they are intrigued to know what is actually in the diary.
Titles that hint at the content but leave room for mystery, such as She: A History of Adventure, are more likely to get people to open the front cover.
If you’re writing a non-fiction book, informative titles are especially important. To help come up with a good title, you can include people who are interested in the topic you are writing about.
Consider bestselling titles, such as 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The Purpose Driven Life. These titles appeal to those who seek to live effective and driven lives by learning from those they believe already have.
The use of allusions can also spark intrigue in your title. Allusions hint at something the reader is likely to understand the reference to, such as a popular song, event in history, or work of art.
No matter what strategy you use to spark interest in your book title, always keep your target audience in mind.
Hook Your Audience
A good hook piques interest. This method of how to come up with a book title is often best used with a short title followed by a more descriptive subtitle.
Your hook can be a question, such as, What Color Is Your Parachute? This title is attention-grabbing, and the subtitle lets the reader know what the book is about, A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers.
Make a claim with your book title that the reader is interested in achieving. You Can Heal Your Life, How to Win Friends and Influence People, and You Are Stronger Than You Think are examples of bestselling book titles that make claims.
Differentiate Your Title
There are a lot of great books and titles out there, so you want to ensure there isn’t something that already uses your ideas. You want your book title to stand out from all the others, after all.
If you want people to be able to discover your book by its unique title, not find a book that has a similar title to yours, researching and differentiating your title from the competition will be essential as you go through the process of how to write a book title.
To help put yourself apart, use captivating vocabulary. Power words that are persuasive or trigger emotion can really differentiate your book from the rest.
Using inspiring words, such as life-changing, breathtaking, and supreme are also good options to consider. Power words can draw out other emotions, such as surprise, nostalgia, excitement, calmness, appreciation, craving, and empathy.
You can also differentiate your book title by inventing new words related to the content of your book. For example, Plandemic is a blend of the words “planned” and “pandemic” for this bestseller.
Inventing a new word or coining a new phrase has the potential to sets your book up to become a series and can help you stand out as an innovative leader in your field.
Test Your Ideas
Once you have settled on a few good book titles, test their potential.
Imagine people referencing it and talking about it with colleagues. When they hear your title, do they immediately know what your book is about? Or, is the title so interesting that they want to ask questions to learn more?
If you imagine people having a different reaction, choose another title.
Does your title sound right and is it easy for people to say? A lot of marketing for your book will be done by word of mouth. Long book titles are harder to remember and may be repeated incorrectly. Short titles are easy to recall and share.
Ask your target market to help you choose a book title. Use Google Surveys or Google Ads to reach out to your audience. You could even send a survey to your email list if you already have one or ask for feedback on social media.
Asking others could be a good feeler if you’re approaching burnout and need help staying motivated about your book writing process. It is also a good method to gain some outside perspective about your book and its title to help increase its likelihood of success.
Book Title Examples
Lucky for you, there are a lot of great examples you can use as inspiration to help learn how to write a book title that is amazing. This includes both nonfiction and fiction books.
Popular Nonfiction Book Titles
Keywords are important when it comes to how to title a book that is nonfiction. Keywords make your book discoverable to your target audience.
When you do not use keywords, make sure your subtitle is clear and descriptive.
Here are some examples of popular nonfiction book titles:
- Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
- Educated: A Memoir
- In Cold Blood
- Between the World and Me
- Thinking, Fast and Slow
- Eat That Frog: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time
- Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life
- Let Me Tell You What I Mean
- What Happened To You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing
- Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know
Popular Fiction Book Titles
Good book title ideas for fiction books are more mysterious and thought-provoking. Unlike fiction titles, they do not get straight to the point but create curiosity.
Consider these examples of popular fiction book titles:
- Klara and the Sun
- The Last Thing He Told Me
- While Justice Sleeps
- People We Meet on Vacation
- Remember Me
- Things Fall Apart
- To Kill a Mockingbird
- The Hand Maid’s Tale
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
You Can Master How to Write a Book Title
Using these tips and steps for how to come up with a book title will help you craft a title that can get your book the attention it needs to become a bestseller.
Since your title is the gateway into the content of your book, spending the time needed to write a title that sets your book apart from the rest is well worth the effort.
Writing the title for your book — and writing your book, in general — doesn’t have to be hard. Join my free book writing webinar to learn more about how to write a book that flies off the shelves.
About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.