Choosing a title for your book is most certainly a creative decision, but it is also one of the most important marketing decisions you will make. That’s because your book title can greatly help or hinder sales.
So here are six tips to help you make sure you have a title that in unforgettable.
#1 Short can be sweet…and memorable
Take a moment and write down the book titles you remember. I suspect you will find many on your list have short titles. So try to come up with a title for your book that has no more than four or five words at most. For whatever reason, it seems like a lot of titles have three words in them. To Kill a Mockingbird, The Hunger Games and The Tipping Point are examples. Keep this in mind as you consider options for your title.
#2 Avoid words that are obscure, hard to pronounce or spell
Many times in an attempt to be provocative authors will choose words that are unusual because they think it will help them standout. But it doesn’t. Obscure words are great for scoring points in Words with Friends, but not for book titles.
#3 Give readers a hint about what they will find in the book
Again, some authors will think they should be obscure or provocative and tease readers with the title. Not a good plan. Make it memorable, but don’t confuse readers or make them guess what the book may be about.
#4 Know how titles are used in your genre
You definitely want to use a title that is memorable, but it should also be appropriate for your genre. There is a big difference between titles for romance books and business books so it is important to understand what the latest trends are in your genre. You can learn that by looking online at the titles from respected publishers in your genre or visiting your local bookstore or library.
#5 Have a clear subtitle for your non-fiction book
If you are writing a non-fiction book a subtitle can really help readers understand what they will get from reading the book. A great example is a book published by Berrett Koehler titled, Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em, with the subtitle, Getting Good People to Stay. It is a catchy short title with a great subtitle and easy to remember.
#6 Do your research
Once you have a title or titles you like, do some research to see if there are books out there in your genre with the same or a similar title. I have been surprised over the years how many authors chose a title without doing a simple internet search on an online retailer to see if that title is already being used. It can save you headaches later on if you do your research before you get into the publishing process.
Even your title may require some revisions
While most authors usually have a title in mind when they first start writing their manuscript, it is worth considering these tips before you select a final title for your book. And don’t be surprised if the first title you chose is not the one you end up with on your published book. Remember, the goal is not to use your first choice for a title but end up with one that is unforgettable.