Naming Your Book


Your book is written, the manuscript is in the final editing stages, and it’s time to finally nail down the official title of your work. Perhaps you’ve been using a working title, but its incredibly important that you sit down with multiple people in the business (your publisher, literary agent, trusted writer friends, unbiased professionals, people in your target audience, etc.) to develop the perfect title. Because the fact of the matter is…

There’s nothing more important than a strong, engaging title.

Potential readers consume in the following order: the title, the front and back covers, the first pages of content, and the price. If they aren’t grabbed by the title (and the front cover doesn’t make up for what the title lacks), then you’ve lost your potential customer.

So how do you develop and choose the most effective title for your book? Here are 11 things to consider when naming your book.

  1. Make a promise, create intrigue, identify a need, or simply state the content. (think PINC)
  2. Appeal to your target audience’s demographics and psychographics. It is of utmost importance to consider the following: gender, age grouping, education, race, breath or narrowness of religious doctrines, exact denominations, likes and dislikes of how that particular audience likes to buy or be sold to.
  3. Be unexpected. Your title shouldn’t be something so basic that a customer would easily glance over it. Your title should be enticing and engaging.
  4. Leave room for mystery. Don’t tell your audience exactly what or how to think about your book. Compel them to pick it up themselves.
  5. When deciding between going with what the majority of your largest target audience would like and what a lesser segment of your audience would like…choose the majority.
  6. Once you’ve narrowed down the possible selections to 5-8 possibilities, form a focus group of independent people within your target audience who are not bent towards you or your publishing team (not friends of yours), and ask them to consider your title options.
  7. Beware of not liking your own ideas and the ideas of your close friends (which may or may not also be your publishing team) so much that you agree with their ideas too quickly and blindly. Try to look at all of the options from an unbiased perspective.
  8. Be aware of any similarities that your publishing team might have with you. Force them (and yourself) to separate their mindsets to “think” like the majority within the target audience.
  9. Although a title that creates intrigue is great, consider all of the definitions or interpretations of the word or phrase. You don’t want to be blindsided by a less than pleasant definition or interpretation a couple months after your book launch.
  10. Particularly when writing nonfiction, always keep the “what’s in it for me” factor in the forefront of your considerations.
  11. Along with #10, heavily consider titles that seem to propose a solution. Why? Most readers of non-fiction or non-biographies are reading to engage and find answers.

Consider these things as you work on naming your next book. While the message of the book itself is what makes it your book, it’s the title that gets readers to pick it up in the first place. And we all need readers!

Do you have any suggestions for coming up with a book title? Leave your comments below!


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