How to Title Your Book

Titles are a huge part of what attracts potential readers to your book. Authors often struggle with coming up with a title, but not always for the right reasons.

For a book title to grab readers’ attention, it needs to fit within the genre of your book. Readers often gravitate towards titles that sound similar to books they’ve already read and loved, so take inspiration from the greats of your genre. For example, young adult novels often use the protagonist’s name in the title, and self-help books tend to have a subtitle that lays out the topic of the book.

What to avoid

Unless you’re writing a nonfiction book exclusively for scholars or other highly educated professionals, stick to simple language in your title. There are few things that can scare a reader off faster than a title that they don’t understand.

There are also technical aspects to think about. When books are listed on Amazon, they aren’t allowed to have references to trademarked material or author names, and they can’t say that the book is bestselling or free. Also, keep in mind that you want the book title to be unique enough that it can’t be confused with another book that’s listed on Amazon.

Coming up with title ideas

So you know what makes a good title, but that doesn’t mean you’re any closer to finding the one that’s perfect for your book. Start with free writing. Jot down themes, places, characters, ideas, adjectives, anything you can think of that relates to your book. Many titles come directly from a character or setting in the book, such as the Harry Potter books, or The Wizard of Oz. You can also look into common book title formats, such as “The ___ of ____” or “____ and the _____” and fill in the blanks with characters or objects from your book.