The Anatomy of a Perfect Book Title

The perfect book title can mean the difference between a bestseller and a good dust collector. Particularly if you are writing an e-book, finding the right combinations of words can impact the way the public receives your writing.

The power of a few short words can be intimidating. Fortunately, there is an easy way to dissect the elements of successful book titles and replicate them in your own work.

A great title depends on several interlocking elements: your topic and target audience, the theme of your book, finding a delicate balance of revealed information, and marketing tactics.

Here are a few tips to help you learn how to write a book title that achieves all these elements.

1) Target Your Niche

The first consideration for finding a great book title is your genre. Genre is the biggest factor in determining a good title, because the genre tells you what your audience wants.

You want to come up with a title that matches the genre, partly to attract potential buyers and partly to set up and meet expectations.

For example, not many people want to read a work of fiction called 5 Places to Find Coupons, even if the story actually revolved around 5 coupon locales. Similarly, a personal-development book will do better if it addresses a consumer’s need in the title rather than a lofty, ambiguous name, like The Debt Eraser Formula instead of 2017 Financial Almanac.

2) Consider the Heart of Your Book

The heart of your book should come out in the title.

This is especially relevant in books covering more technical topics. If you are writing a book on advanced economic strategies, spruce up the wording to be compelling, but don’t be so esoteric that potential buyers have no idea what the book will say. Ideally, the title should be informative but should also resonate with the customer.

3) Say Enough… But Not Too Much

A successful book title should tell people what the book is about while also adding intrigue.

One is to offer a compelling solution to something, such as 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. This title both informs on the topic and promises to give the reader the inside scoop on effective people’s lives.

The other way is to sum up your book in a few short words that encapsulate the theme of your book, like The Slight Edge.

4) Use Allusions to Add Intrigue

Another great way to add intrigue to your book is to structure the story title in a way that alludes to a great work of literature.

Lines of famous Shakespeare plays, quotes from religious scripture, and other well-known pieces often have the effect of drawing in potential buyers. In addition, usually these works are old enough to be in the public domain.

5) Use a Compelling Hook

Nothing gets someone to pick up a book or click on an e-book better than a compelling hook in your book title.

A good hook can add the compelling mystery which causes people to read past the cover. A hook can come in many forms, such as making an unusual claim, working a joke into the title, or giving something seemingly valuable for free in the title.

6) Substitute for Elite Words

Whenever you have the chance to use descriptor words, use the most detailed ones available.

For example, instead of the word “great,” you should use words like “extravagant” and “magnificent.” Boring descriptors tell potential readers the content just might be boring, too.

7) Test Title Ideas With Your 

Once you’ve come up with a title you think will work, you can actually test its success.

You can create social media posts, Google ads, and Facebook ads with different titles to see which one gets more clicks. You can poll people on Facebook to get a good sampling (just make sure those who take the quiz are in your target audience). This information will steer you in the right direction and may end up boosting your sales.


The title of the book must perfectly sum up your creation.

Writing a great personal-development book is no good if people aren’t compelled to read it. The perfect book title takes many things into consideration, but in the end it has that perfect blend of message and creativity to draw in readers.


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 Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.

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