Book title ideas have a slippery way of escaping us. Amazon is filled with books that make you think “what the hell was the person thinking?” Many authors have no idea of the power that hides within the first words people see on the cover of their books.
Other book titles have left my head reeling after trying to read them. I’ve lost interest and somehow forgot what I was reading halfway through the title. I’ve come across the regular tongue twisters too and those that make us squint sideways.
Think about your book as a creature who feeds on sales, attention, and reviews. It lurks in the shadows and waits to pounce passers-by, whether they’re window shopping or caught completely off-guard.
It’s not a creature from nightmares. On the contrary, it’s one that people might not even have known they were looking for before they found it. It stirred something inside of them the moment their eyes met.
Some people look for this creature and its name has allowed it to blend into the shadows, sometimes getting lost. Other people are suddenly overwhelmed with curiosity and feel a deep desire to look inside the soul of this beautiful beast.
This is what you want your title to be like. You want it to be a beast that magnetically draws people in like someone needing to know what’s inside Pandora’s box.
People should find an answer just by looking at the magnificent words on the face of a new and unique species.
Finding Book Title Ideas That Set You Apart From the Rest
Authors are often unaware of the power behind the title of their books. Readers want those words to answer many questions from the get-go. They also get a glimpse into the person who wrote it.
What Is the Purpose of Book Titles?
The purpose of a name reaches far deeper than just giving recognition to a face. People could use numbers when they name their children. However, this is so impersonal and unethical. There are many advantages to naming a book correctly:
- The readers who are looking for it can find it.
- It spurs emotions and intrigue in the reader. People are strongly driven by their feelings.
- It’s informative and gives a hint at the answers found in the pages, while leaving a drop of mystery.
- It leaves an imprint in someone’s memory and they spread the news by word of mouth.
- It shows a certain level of authority for the writer.
- It will be the reason a reader decides to buy it or not.
- There is no stronger marketing tool out there.
The Secret of Using Words to Attract People
The first step in taking charge of book titles is to understand that readers can’t read our minds. It’s tempting to use “Ending the Ceaseless Howl” rather than using “Dealing with Persistent Arthritis Pain” in your title, but it stirs the wrong ideas.
I love using figurative examples to get my message across but it can be the bitter end for a book’s name. Someone who lives with arthritis is well-aware that the pain refuses to go away on its own, but I assure you that they don’t relate it to dogs (or wolves).
Some readers might mistake this for a murderous guide to silence the neighbor’s dog once and for all. It certainly sends the wrong message from the moment it’s read.
I think it’s great that the person expresses the consistency of their pain to that of some animals incessantly crying at night, and you can use this in your book to describe what you mean with it. However, it doesn’t belong on the cover.
The secret to choosing a title that captivates potential readers is to start with a keyword. A keyword is simply one or two words that the average person will search for when they need answers on an issue.
Psychology is a popular keyword that shows authority, gives the reader an insight, and immediately tells them they’ve arrived at a destination. They know exactly what’s behind the curtain and aren’t fooled by the word ‘shrink.’
Not everyone knows that the slang word for a psychologist is shrink. Someone might mistake this for a book on shrinking the extra pounds we gathered over the holidays or during lockdown when it’s actually meant for people who want to improve their emotional health.
The name “The Psychology of Successful Entrepreneurs” has two powerful keywords in the title. The second keyword tells the reader that this psychology is aimed directly at teaching them to succeed in the world of self-employment and entrepreneurship.
Window-shopping readers who searched for either answer to a question have found a double whammy. They don’t need to play guessing games either because they know exactly what the second word means.
The Research Behind Book Titles
The word research comes into the spotlight here. We can use it to gather information but we must also have some ideas before we dive in. Make a list of the following:
- What is the core concept of your book?
- Goals that you wish to achieve
- Strategies on how you’ll present your ideas and facts in the book
- The target audience that will buy your book
Now you can turn to the vast world of Google and Amazon to search for keywords that are used by authors in the same genre. Be careful not to take ideas that are too similar to another author. You’re only looking for keywords and not titles yet.
Keywords are the heart and soul of marketing your book. They’re used in search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to bring businesses to the forefront of Google. Blog posters and influencers use them to get to the top of their game too.
Amazon has two methods of looking for best-selling books. Look at the image to see which option you can use. Click on either of them to open a world of books that have potentially good titles.
You can also use the advanced search option, which allows you to search for keywords directly.
As soon as you have your list of top five choices for a keyword, you can create a Facebook poll to help you choose the best one. This isn’t a popularity contest per se, but the public can help you understand what words will speak to them.
Now you can move onto the next step.
Creating a Title and Popular Book Title Generators
The world of online books has made many strides in simplifying the process of self-publishing for us. We want to keep a few points in mind before we compile words that will ignite the interest in our readers.
Make sure your title:
- Is short and sweet enough to carry the right message
- Is unique in its entirety
- Can be easily remembered and relayed to friends and family
- Is pronounceable to prevent people from being afraid to say it
- Doesn’t embarrass the person who wants to repeat it
- Makes a promise
- Is positive as people don’t respond well to dark and dreary
Now you can place your keywords in a sentence that is clear and concise for the reader. Refrain from complicated tongue twisters and titles that are long enough to make someone yawn.
The next step is to gain an outside perspective. You can even ask people around you for a second opinion. Ask yourself these questions as though you were browsing to buy a book yourself:
- Does this title excite me?
- Do I have a dire need to know more?
- Is this book relevant to my search needs?
- Does the title show me who’s speaking?
- Is this a sales pitch that I can believe in?
You can use one of our recommended book title generators to help you find one that screams yes. You might even want to generate an intriguing pen name while you’re at it. This depends on whether you want to use your name or a pseudonym.
The next step is to check availability on your top five titles so you can be assured of uniqueness. You don’t want your title to resemble another one in the slightest.
Okay, you have your five options and you’re all set. Well, not quite. We have to compare our title ideas to some pretty awesome ones. More importantly, we must compare them to some big no’s in the field.
The Big Bad Wolf vs. Red Riding Hood
Your research hasn’t come to an end just yet. You can compare your title ideas to horrible and great options now that you have some options.
The Big Bad Wolf of Examples
The first thing you need to know about bad examples is that we can create them unknowingly. It all comes back to keywords because we cannot overpopulate the title by repeating them five times. Placement and frequency are vital to succeed.
The second thing you need to know is that one book cannot solve 20 problems. It needs to focus intently on solving one question. Now you can see how choosing a title can also help you trim the unnecessary chapters from your book.
You can create a new outline that will fulfill the promise you make in the title. Nevertheless, let’s look at some of the worst ideas for titles. I’ve made many of these up so that I don’t offend anyone who didn’t know how to title their book.
- “The Hidden Secrets of Becoming Emotionally Stable, Learning to Succeed at Work, Making Your Spouse Happy, and Being the Master of Your Mind Through Neuroscience.”
This example says way too much and will bore people to death. I cannot see how we can solve every one of these problems in a typical 30,000-word book. Neuroscience, emotional intelligence, and mastering your mind are keywords in their own right.
- “Using Psychologically Proven Techniques to Psychoanalyze and Counsel Your Employees.”
Okay, this is one that makes my brain hurt. The keywords have been tripled and they all kind of mean the same thing. Even the best of businessmen will see the overpopulation of the keywords.
- “Using Medical Advice and Doctor’s Expert Opinions to Overcome Addiction.”
This one is beyond me because I don’t understand the difference between medical advice and doctor’s opinions.
- “How to Stop the Falling Stars.”
I hope this is fiction because it’s highly confusing as the howling title was. Besides, I don’t think it’s humanly possible to stop a burning ball of gas that’s likely larger than the earth.
This person might be using figurative speech to describe depression, for example, but it isn’t clear enough for the reader.
The fifth example I have is one that left me pinching to prevent a mishap from the gut-wrenching laughter I experienced. This is a real book and I couldn’t believe the cover when I saw it.
Please, I beg you to think about your title clearly before publishing it. A play on words is powerful and can be used to engage a reader throughout the book. However, some plays should remain behind the curtain.
Bored Panda is a website that has listed 40 of the worst title fails for you to read before you make a final decision.
Red Riding Hood’s Examples of Best-Selling Ideas
Simplicity is the greatest weapon you have to reach for massive Amazon sales. Let’s take a look at practical and easy-to-find examples.
- “Avid Gardener Tracy Teaches Us How to Plant a Rose Garden.”
This title is so simple and anyone who clicks on this book will know what they’re getting. It also gives us an insight into why we should read Tracy’s guide because she is an avid gardener.
- “The Theory and Practice of Financial Management.”
This is great because it assures the reader there are practical ways of managing their finances and they won’t only be stuck with theories.
- “Daily Neuroscience Practices to Raise Children in Early Development.”
Another great title that tells it as it is. The great thing is that people know that there are exercises their kids can practice daily and the book isn’t just filled with technical jargon.
- “Letting go of Grief With Mindfulness.”
Mindfulness is a powerful and best-selling topic at the moment. This is a simple title again that gives answers without exposing the exact details. This author could use Hinduism as groundwork for her book, or she could use modern-day practices.
- “How to Release the Psychological Warrior Inside of You and Overcome Anxiety in the Workplace.”
This is a good example of using a figurative word to add power to the keywords. Good titles aren’t always absent from wordplay, but we need to be careful. Fiction gives us more room but non-fiction must be concise.
Bonus: Power Words
You might be looking at your five options now and thinking how boring they are. You don’t need them to be bland and can add the secret of power words. Power words are a descriptive persuasion that helps us hook readers by targeting emotions again.
They pack the punch we need!
Non-fiction titles can include a list of words that add power without messing with the structure. Some examples are:
Power words that can be woven into fiction titles include:
The list is endless for fiction writers. Make use of power words in your title and remember to use them in your book as well. Brittany Wang is a fiction writer who can give us great ideas for our fantasy novels.
Naming our books is the first and most powerful sales tool we have at our side. It doesn’t matter if you wrote it for fame, glory, or you needed to tell people how to overcome their demons.
The only thing that matters is getting people to read it. Some people don’t care about the glory and just want struggling people to learn exercises that will end the battle with whatever illness they have.
Fiction writers want to share the stories that grow from a seed in their minds. Use your title to draw people into the wonderful world of some made-up adventure that you created.
Also, don’t forget to use a title to help you remove any irrelevant discussions in your book. A salesperson must believe in the product and you should be confident in delivering on the promise you make in the title.