The Ultimate Guide To Select Your Book Title

Book Title

One thing that is arguably as difficult, if not more, as naming one’s child or pet is finding that perfect title to their book. According to author Bethany Atazadeh, “When you boil it down, a book title is a business decision.” Atazdeh is on point when she says this because your book title is the first marketing tool in getting your book sold. There are several aspects of writing a book that gains attention and effort. However, most writers do not put in the same kind of work into their book titles. These decisions are usually led by instincts or the content of the book itself. Sometimes, they work and sometimes they fail miserably. If you are a newbie writer who is yet to establish a name for themselves in the market, then it is highly advisable to pay attention to finding the right title. Through the course of this blog we will understand:

  • Why titles are important
  • Things to keep in mind while picking a title
  • How to pick a title
  • Things to avoid

Why is your book title so important?

“Don’t judge a book by its cover” is such a famous line because that is literally what most people end up doing. Irrespective of the cover design one thing that will definitely create a difference is the Title of the book. It is the first thing that a person would notice about your book. The title of the book is what dictates whether the person picking up the book will turn to read the summary or place it back on the shelf. In essence, it is your first and most prominent call to a reader to peruse your material. The title of a book plays an imperative and crucial role in creating a buzz about your novel in the market.

The idea is to pick a title that stays with the reader. For example, The Fault In Our Stars by John Green was hit. The story worked exceptionally well with the readers along with the title of the novel. The title was a segway into the content of the book for a reader. Another great, but a slightly different example of the importance of a title is a book called Everything Men Know About Women by Alan Francis and Cindy Cashman. The book was a 1980 bestseller and has sold millions of copies up until now. Here is the catch, the book holds 100 plus blank pages as its content. So essentially a blank book sold over millions of copies because the title was so on point. It is no secret that the title of your book, if chosen correctly, can advertise itself. 

Things to keep in mind while picking a title

When you are writing a book there are several checklists that you keep in mind in order to make sure your book is everything you aspire it to be. Similarly, having a checklist for your book title will help you out in the long run. Let us look at some characteristics that make up for a great book title:

Catch Attention
It goes without saying that one’s title needs to be interesting enough for a reader to pay attention to. Given that we live in an era of social media, there are a hundred things fighting for a person’s attention at all times.  This essentially means that life and people, in general, have become fast-paced. Hence, your title needs to grab attention the very moment someone lays their eyes on your book. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson was a bestseller for several reasons including the title being extremely impactful. The sheer choice of words and their placement demands the attention of a reader to check out the book. However, using a provocative or derogatory word in your title is not always recommended and we will dive into it in the latter part of the blog.

Easy to Remember and Discoverable
Once you have drawn a person’s attention to your book, you want to make sure that they remember the title. It is highly recommended to use an easy title that could slip out of a person’s mouth without much effort. The logic behind the same is to enhance the popularity of your book. People sharing and talking about your book is of paramount importance when it comes to marketing your book. Following the same rule, it is essential to remember that the name of your book should be easily discoverable. When someone searches for your book or a topic similar to it, the title of the book should easily pop out in the recommendations. People cannot share or look for a novel if they cannot easily recall the title of the book.

Relevant
Even though it is understood, it is important to reiterate that the title of your book must be relevant to the book. This rule is exceptionally important while picking a title for a non-fiction book. If you are writing non-fiction, then the title of your book should enhance the subject of the book in a crisp manner. The title cannot be polar opposite to the message of the book. An easy method to check if your title aligns with the message of your book is by seeing whether the title evokes the right kind of expectation from the reader. One can ensure this through surveys and research. In the case of a fiction novel, one can get adventurous with their titles. The main motive behind picking a title for non-fiction should be to create curiosity. The title must make the reader take an interest in finding out what the story is about. It would be beneficial if the title sets the tone for the book. For example, books like Call Me By Your Name and A Walk To Remember already inform the reader that the book may be heavy on emotions and sensitivity. The basic idea is to make sure the reader gets an idea or becomes interested in your book through the title.

How to pick a title?

Now that the basics of what a title should ideally do for a book are covered, let us look at some steps one can take while picking out the right title:

Brainstorm and explore all ideas
Each and every writer has their own writing process which is very specific to their individuality. Some writers work on a book with a pre-conceived title or an idea while others may have a freestyle approach towards their writing. Irrespective of what method you may follow, it is advisable to write down all the potential names for the title of your book. It does not matter if all of them are good as long as you are writing them all down. This method will give you a clearer idea about what you want and what you do not want.

Research
We already know that research is paramount when it comes to writing fiction or non-fiction. The same courtesy must be extended towards the discovery of your book title. Make sure that you study your book title thoroughly. You should examine all connotations to the title of your book. During this time you should also check if your title justifies the material in your book. If you are unsure about the title or have more than two options to choose from, it is advisable to conduct mock surveys. You could either pick a random group of people and seek their opinion on your title, or make advertisements on social media with your title options. Examine which title gets more clicks and then, you can proceed further. Similarly, you could also survey people and check if your title raises all the right expectations from the reader.

Things to avoid while picking a title

Before you finalize on a title there are certain things one should check. First and foremost, make sure your title is not already taken or used in the past. Similarly, it is not wise to pick a title that is oddly resembling of an existing title. If a reader comes across your book while looking for another, they are going to be disappointed. As a result of this, your novel may not be received well. Another very important thing to keep in mind while finalizing a title is to avoid derogatory language. If your title contains foul language or an offensive word people will hesitate to name your book in public. This will deter the marketing and popularity of your book.

All in all, your book is your labor of love. The title of the novel should communicate the same with the reader. If you get the title right, then you already have an advantage over the other books in the market. A catchy title would give momentum to the inquisitiveness about the book. Even though Shakespeare claims “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” as an author one needs to remember that it is all in the name. Hence, be smart and attentive while naming your brainchild.  

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