8 Tips for Finding Your Perfect Title

[Author’s Note: This article is part of a series of posts drawn from our latest book, Book Writing Boot Camp. You will learn the publishing process from A to Z, with everything you need to know to author your own book.]

To conclude our discussion of titles, here is a list of rapid-fire tips.

Be Simple and Catchy

Author Jesse Tevelow’s advice should guard you against overcomplicating matters. “Don’t get fancy with this. Your title should be crystal clear. It should never leave prospective readers guessing about the content. The standard formula is to use a short, catchy title followed by a longer subtitle that plainly states the book’s value proposition.”

Ask, What Is My Theme?

Your title should reflect your core theme. Know that this is subject to revision as you write. For one of our clients’ soon-to-be-publish books, we changed the title from Discover Your Market to Selling Solutions after realizing that the latter concept had taken more prominence in the book than we initially expected.

Remember Your Business

Sometimes your book title is staring you in the face—right on your branded business marketing materials! Our client Jay Mooreland’s business is named The Emotional Investor, and he used the same title for his book. Publishing The Emotional Investor strengthened his brand and enhanced his credibility. If your business is well-named, consider tying your book title into it.

Do Your Research

Look on Amazon and in bookstores for titles that you like. Ask yourself, “Why do I like this title?” What about it captures your attention? Does it follow the criteria listed above? Contemplate why you are drawn to it, then apply what you learn to your own title selection process.

Be Careful with Dual Subtitles

Dual subtitles can be acceptable. To date, I believe two of our published books (plus my own On Marketing) use two subtitles. However, usually a second subtitle is unnecessary. An excellent title and complementary subtitle will do the job most of the time.

Get Feedback

Stuck with multiple title options? Ask others! Your personal or company Facebook page is an excellent option. Hold a title “content” to drive engagement and build excitement for the book’s release.

Keep an Open Mind

Hopefully you now have a working title and subtitle. Revisit them as your write your book, staying open to revision. The process is cyclical: your title informs your chapter content, and your content informs your title decision.

If you come up with a better title as your write, feel free to throw the old one out! At some point you have to settle down with a title, but until that point (typically occurring a few weeks before publication), give yourself the freedom and flexibility to change your title upon feeling the need.

Keep Moving

Finally, if you absolutely cannot find a title you like, do not get hung up on it. Continue with the publishing process. Sometimes the title will jump out at you during the writing process. Keep on moving—sooner or later, you will create a phenomenal title.