Writer’s Corner: A Title Is Worth a Thousand Words

Writer’s Corner: A Title Is Worth a Thousand Words

Just like an intriguing book jacket, your book title should attract interest. And a good one is worth a thousand words, or dollars, or however you’d like to quantify it. Simply put, titles attract readers. And there are lots of opinions to what makes a good book title and why it will help you sell your book to a wider audience. To help, here are a few factors to keep in mind when choosing your next book title:

  1. There are strong arguments that the shorter the title, the better. That isn’t necessarily so. You certainly don’t want your title to be so long that it’s hard to share with others or worse, difficult to understand. But it still needs to convey the story. Shoot for something concise, clever, correct, and compelling.
  2. It might be impossible to find a title that hasn’t been used somewhere along the line, but agents and publishers know the value in a title that is as original as possible. Conduct a thorough search through online bookstores and the Internet to ascertain your title is as original as possible and won’t mislead the reader. After all, there should only be one Harry Potter.
  3. Is your new book a romance, thriller, or how-to? Whatever the genre, when choosing a title align it with readers’ expectations. When a title is confusing or irrelevant it may turn off a potential reader or publisher even before they crack the cover.
  4. Creating intrigue is important. So is developing a title that screams “pick me up.” You also need to keep in mind that appropriate titling means avoiding controversial topics or offensive language—unless that is the goal of the book. And if you choose to go down that path, remember it will always be part of your brand.
  5. Books with memorable titles sell big. Some even sell on title alone. Titles like “Men Are from Mars and Women Are from Venus,” “Lean In,” “Brave New World,” “Grit,” and “Mean Girls” are a few examples adopted into mainstream language. If you can nail a memorable book title that weaves its way into popular, behavioral, or business culture, you’ve got yourself a best-seller.

Still struggling to figure out the best title for your book?

Review the best sellers list in your genre for inspiration. If that doesn’t help, ask family and friends and even your beta readers for their opinions. I’ve even seen authors conduct polls on social media; which is a great way to engage potential readers and build your following.

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