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How to choose the title of a book.

What is the title of a book?

Wikipedia: The title of a book, or any other published text or work of art, is a name for the work which is usually chosen by the author. A title can be used to identify the work, to place it in context, to convey a minimal summary of its contents, and to pique the reader's curiosity.

Why is it important to choose the right title for your book?

A good book title can mean the difference between a bestseller and a lifeless shelf-dweller. The title is what people first see. It's what they remember when they go home and what they say when the recommend the book to others. It’s the most important marketing decision that a writer can make.

Choosing the prefect title for a book is more complicated you might think. Readers want to know what is in a name. The title must communicate with a reader, encouraging them to pick up, purchase, and read your work. Names are also an important psychological tool. They give means of reference, allowing us to communicate easier.

The title can indicate everything from tone to genre to setting and more.

So, how do you choose a title for your book?

If you can answer the question: "What's your book about?" you already have 90% of the title. It must be answered in ONE sentence.

The title must derive from the central focus of the book itself. Knowing what the book is about gives us a source for drawing out a title.

But simply writing a title on a sheet of paper won't tell anyone the full story. Your cover image must also reveal something about your story or book.

What is the psychology behind a title?

a) It creates curiosity.

Though titles never expressly tell us what the book is about, they give us just enough detail to make it intriguing. They make us want to know what the book is about. We want to know what Silence of the Lambs is. We want to know how the Ender's Game might play out. We are fascinated to learn more about The Girl on the Train.

Your readers have to open your book and read through it to the end, to get the answers.

Consider The Girl on the Train: the title immediately sets the tone of the book - it gives us a setting. It tells us there's a girl, but doesn’t' tell us WHO the girl is. It leaves us with a few questions: WHO is this girl? WHY is she on a train? And WHAT happened to her? These questions pique our curiosity, and in general they will intrigue us enough to pick up the book and read on.

b) Set the tone:

The title of a book should set the tone for the type of story. Think about Silence of the Lambs. Without knowing a thing about the story, readers already experiencing a slight chill down their spine. When we think of a lamb, we think of innocent, cute, lovable, adorable. So when we think of them going silent, it feels wrong to us. It makes us uncomfortable. It builds suspense right from the start.

When choosing a title, you'll want to consider your audience. You'll want to meet the expectations of your audience or disrupt them in a calculated way. Take for example The Notebook by Nicholas Spark. This title can go to two ways: it could be a tale filled with stories of love and romance, but it could also be dark and forbidding. The subtle questions of below will really sets the tone.

What's the story with this notebook?

What's in the notebook?

Is it good or bad?

Will I cry?

It is actually only one word, Notebook, that sets the tone. The word 'notebook' is a book that contains personal thoughts, insights, secrets, quick notes. It may even contain indecipherable secret codes. It conjures up a sense of mystery and intrigue, but it also says 'personal and private.'

In book design, the title is typically shown on the spine, the front cover, and the title page.

Non-fiction Titles.

You should also be able to sum up your book in a sentence. You want to convince your reader why they must read your book. What will they benefit from it? Remember your title needs to focus on the problem- solution set.

Consider a sub-title. It's like a tag where you tell your reader a little more what they can get.

Example: The Killers of the Flower Moon.

The Osage Murders and the birth of the FBI.

By David Grann.

How do you create a title? Look at the example below.

Title: How to plant a Garden - this is boring! It doesn't tell the reader exactly what they can expect.

Other titles to consider: The Best Way to Plant a Garden.

Gardening Made Simple and Easy.

10 Steps to the Perfect Garden.

Gardening Advice.

The Perfect Harvest: A Step-by- Step Guide to Getting the Perfect Garden.

Dale Carnegies' book How to Win Friends and Influence People will reach far more readers than a title How to be a leader.

Tips for choosing a title:

· Length: title comprises 5 words or fewer.

· Impact: Creativity, memorable, recommendable.

· Simplicity: includes keywords that describe the most important thing, person, or idea in your story and demonstrates its significance.

· Get clarity on your book goals.

· Brainstorm several potential titles.

· Make sure this title is not already taken or too popular.

· Pick your favourites and test them.

· Ask friends, families, groups to help you choose the best one.

A good book title is:


Catches the reader's attention

Easily remembered.

Easily pronounced.

Examples of titles:

Famous sayings: Till death do us Part/ Liberty or Death

Quotes from within the book: To Kill a Mockingbird/ Gone with the Wind/ Their Eyes were watching God.

Wordplay: Pride and Prejudice/ I Capture the Castle.

Opposing Subjects: War and Peace/ Love and Hate/ Angels and Demons.

Genre: The Devils Woods (Thriller)

Other titles: Firedance/ Unmasked/ Remember Me/ Shattered Pieces/ The Stars have Eyes/ The Polite Murderer/ Legend/ Two Roads/ Blood Moon/ From the Ashes We Will Rise/ Swords of Freedom/ Fruitless Journey/ Gripping Darkness/ Two Months In Hell.

Best Title Generators:

There are good title generators you can use.


Fiction – Create Your Own Story Title Generator

Science Fiction – Pulp Sci-Fi Title-O-Tron

Sci-fi and Fantasy – UKRifter’s Book Title Generator

Fiction – Story Toolz Half Title Generator


All genres.

Nonfiction – Title Generator

Nonfiction – Portent’s Content Idea Generator

Nonfiction – Book Title Generator

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