Choosing an effective book title is a very important step in the publishing process, so choose carefully! Keep in mind that book titles are the first thing a potential reader sees, and some readers will decide whether or not to buy a book by its title alone.
Your book title should catch the attention of your target audience and give readers an idea as to what the book is about. A good title will intrigue potential readers, generating interest without giving away too much information.
Here are some tips on how to come up with a good book title:
Three common attributes of good titles
- Short: Short titles are easier to remember and can be very intriguing to potential readers. Having a catchy, "sticky" title that is easy to remember can help spread awareness by word-of-mouth. If someone recommends your book, you want to make sure they can remember the title in order to buy it!
- Evocative: Best-selling titles are often evocative and contain compelling wordplay and imagery. You want your audience to read your title and think, “I must read what’s inside!”
- Unique: Choose a unique title so potential readers won’t confuse your book with others with similar titles.
How to come up with a title:
- Brainstorm: Write down every word that’s related to your book—the characters' names, the locations where the story takes place, the themes of the book, the topic you talk about the most, catchy quotes or phrases you used. Then start combining the words you came up with and list all your possible titles. Do this for a couple of days or until your creativity bank has run completely dry, then go back through and pick out the top ten.
- Take it down to five: Review all the titles you came up with and pick your favourites. Try to narrow your top ten down to your top five choices.
- Do your research: Search online to check if there are books published with a similar title. Remember, book titles should be unique. You don’t want potential readers to confuse your book for another book with a similar title (this may not be a problem if the other book is not well-known).
- Seek counsel: Talk to your friends or family about the titles you come up with and ask for their opinion. Create a poll on social media or any other online platform. As the author, you have a closeness and intimacy with your book that literally no one else has (unless you have a co-author!), so consider that what makes perfect sense to you may be confusing for others. Seeking outside perspectives allows you to test which of your ideas make sense to others, and may even give you new ideas you hadn't considered.
More things to remember
- Avoid one-word titles. It's good to keep your title short, but one-word titles can make it difficult to find your title in search results, bringing up other books that include your title in the title, or other books that share that topic, but not your book.
- Choose the words in your title carefully. The words you use for your book title should be appropriate for your book’s genre and target audience. You don’t want to use foul or harsh words if your target audience is children. You do want to use dreamy words for romantic novels, and strong language for action or thriller books. Avoid using derogatory words, which may catch people’s attention—but possibly not the kind of attention you want.
- Ensure that the grammar and spelling are correct. It’s good to use evocative words that capture potential readers' attention, but make sure the title still makes sense!