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How to Write a Killer Book Title

Posted by Arthur Gutch on Mon, Feb 05, 2018 @ 02:27 PM

Welcome to all our new Blog members! We are getting ready to really up the ante on content in 2018. Please provide me with any input regarding the types of information you would like to read about but simply leaving a comment below your inputs are much appreciated. Below we discuss a one of the most important components of your book...the title.

No one's ever had a favorite book with a forgettable title. Your book's title is wedded to the concept of your book in your readers' minds. Just saying the title out loud should create memories of your story in their brains. Some independent authors come up with titles long before they begin their book, while others struggle with titles every single time. If you have a hard time coming up with memorable titles, try some of these hints to get your imagination going. Book_title_how_to_self_publishing.png

Your Book's Essence

What is your book really about? If you can narrow down your complete book into one short concept, you might have the perfect title. Some of the most well-known books in history have a simple, descriptive title, such as:

  • Ringworld
  • The Hunger Games
  • Jaws
  • Dune
  • Bridget Jones' Diary
  • The Last of the Mohicans
  • The Andromeda Strain

Add a Twist

If you can't come up with a central concept, try creating a twist to add some spice. How does your main character see himself? That idea worked well for The Catcher in the Rye. Where or when is your book set? How about Nineteen Eighty-Four? Has your character uttered a great line that you'd love to emphasize, one that fits her perfectly? Scarlett O'Hara did in Gone With the Wind.

Play With Words

Sometimes it's the sound of the words than their actual meaning that makes a title catchy. Pride and Prejudice, Of Mice and Men, and Crime of the Times all trip lightly off the tongue. Adding an exciting word to a boring concept can brighten it up into a great title. It worked in Brave New World, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Anne of Green Gables.

Ideas to Avoid

Even the best sounding title can flop for reasons beyond your control. Avoid these ideas:

  • One word titles, which have a hard time standing out in anyone's mind
  • Duplicates of other book titles, especially those in your genre
  • Punctuation and symbols, which can be a problem with book URLs
  • Unintended meanings. Check slang dictionaries to make sure you don't offend anyone
  • Nonsense, meaningless titles. You want your readers to get at least some idea of what your book is about

Picking a Subtitle

If you've got a book series, or if you need to give your readers more information, you'll need a subtitle for your book. A subtitle shouldn't be used to draw out the title; it should be a separate idea on its own. Make your subtitle give the readers a bit of extra information, whether it's the volume number of the series or a more detailed description of your subject matter. Search through other books in your genre to find common details when deciding how to write your subtitle.

Nonfiction Titles

While a clever, memorable title is usually a selling point for fiction books, nonfiction authors are usually  better off with a more descriptive title. There's a sound reason for this: discoverability. Readers searching for nonfiction books will search for them using keywords or topics in the search engine. If your book has commonly searched keywords in the title, it will be among those that come up first in the search results. And that can mean higher sales for your books.

One thing to remember is that book searches will treat your title and subtitle with the same weight when looking for keywords. This gives you the ability to give your book a memorable title while adding a more descriptive subtitle that includes popular keywords. Some currently popular examples include 12 Strong: The Declassified True Story of the Horse Soldiers, and They Came for Freedom: The Forgotten, Epic Adventure of the Pilgrims. 

All nonfiction books are designed to teach the reader something. What do your readers want to learn? Figure that out and you'll find strong keywords that will enable larger numbers of readers to find your books with an easy search.

Keep the Faith and May the Force be with You!


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