How do you choose a book title?
That’s the question my dear friend Janet asked me a few weeks back. And it’s actually a really good question, so I wanted to share my 6 step process here. But first, let’s go over what makes a good book title.
A good book title is:
Relevant – Good book titles let the reader know what the book is about all on its own.
Emotional – A good title will either play on the reader’s emotions or their desire for more information.
Unique – The best titles are original.
Here’s my 6 step process to choosing a book title that sells:
Step #1: Know what you’re working with.
You have to start with some basic knowledge about your book and your niche so you can choose a relevant title. I recommend asking yourself what the message of your book is. A good title should reflect that.
Step #2: Do some research.
Check for relevant keywords. You can use keyword tools to see which keywords are generating the most interest online, and even how much competition there is for them.
You can also check out what other authors in your niche are using for titles – which ones are selling the best. I’m not suggesting you copy any of them, but they can give an idea of what works. You need to be creative, but informed creativity isn’t just creative, but clever.
If you want to get more information on how to choose a book title that sells, here are a few other articles that I recommend:
- Writing Good Book Titles
- How to Title Your Book
- 4 Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing a Title for Your Book
- How to Write Magnetic Headlines (for blogging or non-fiction)
Step #3: Brainstorm.
I recommend having a brainstorming session (with your research close at hand) where you come up with at least 20 titles. Not all of them have to be good, but sometimes the best titles come from combining two or three.
You can also enlist beta readers or your Facebook following to help. One of the authors I follow online shared the synopsis for one of her new books and shared a title she liked, then asked for suggestions. She got an outstanding response and some great ideas.
Step #4: Narrow it down.
Once you have several you can choose from,narrow it down to just 3-5 of your favorites.
Step #5: Do more research.
Once I have narrowed my list down to just a few book titles that I really like, I always check on Amazon to see if there are already books by that title. Titles aren’t protected by copyright laws, but remember how I mentioned the best titles are unique? I also like to run my title ideas through a trademark checker. Even though titles can’t be copyrighted, if an author has an entire series, they can trademark it. I use: http://www.trademarkia.com/
This is also a great time to interact with your following. You might poll them to see which one they like the best, or post one and ask them what they think the book will be about (this only works if you haven’t already shared about your latest WIP online).
Step #6: Make your choice!
After you have the results from all of your research, you should be able to make a choice and choose a title that will represent your book well and help it sell. On occasion, I get to step #5 and realize the route I’ve been going doesn’t work for my following and decide to start over. If this happens to you, know it’s not time wasted, but a wise decision that will continue to pay off for years to come.
We also answered this question live during our first quarterly Q&A session. You can watch us answer this question in the video below:
How did you choose the title for your book?
Share your title and your process or helpful tips in the comments below!