How to Decide Your Book Title

“Ah-Ha, that’s it! I have my idea for a book! What should the title be?”

From the initial thought of writing a book, a new author focuses on a title for far too long. In fact, many authors wait until they dream up the perfect title, before they will even begin adding words to the pages to create their chapter. In all actuality, this is backwards thinking that only prolongs the creation of your masterpiece—your book.

So, how do you decide your perfect title? When should you decide your perfect title? First, settle down, and stop focusing on the title. You have an idea for a book, right? Well then, start writing it. Yes, without a title. All you need to write a book is a topic and knowledge on the topic. More importantly for you to understand, the best things in life are worth waiting for. This includes your title.

I remember several years ago when I wrote my autobiography: Tangled and Tormented. I had no idea that would be the title, until a couple of chapters into writing the book. How did this title pop into my head, feeling oh so right? I was writing the way that I felt during a time in my life, and the words that flowed from my brain to my fingertips, and through the keyboard into the word document popped out at me. However, these words did not flow from me just one time; rather they came out of me twice. The sentences I typed were: I was tangled in emotions that were torturing my soul. and, That blanket reiterated my emotions as I became tangled in and tormented by its grasp.

You see, oftentimes you will write words that jump off the pages at you, screaming “I am your title!” So, if you already have your title chosen before you begin writing, you will miss your perfect title within the pages. Furthermore, there is strategy to creating a book title. Answer this: Does sex sell? More than likely you have heard, and been taught that, sex sells. In all reality, sex does not sell. The mere phrase, sex sells, is one of those lies that many hear, it sounds right and feels right, so it must be true. So then, what does sell? Your answer: Emotion. Emotions sells. You see, sex stirs up an emotion inside of you—whether good or bad. If a bad emotion is stirred, then you avoid sex in all situations. If a good emotion is stirred up, then you more than likely move towards sexual stimulation of some sort.

Knowing that emotion sells, hopefully now you see the reason I titled my book: Tangled and Tormented. Those two words are extremely powerful emotional words—emotions that others can relate to. Which brings me to key number two of titling your book. Think about books you read. Do you relate to the author? Do you relate to the content? Look at your choice of friends, and those who you network with. Somehow, you relate to them; therefore, you are sold on the relationship. Those who pick up your book are looking for two commonalities, and therefore, are asking themselves two questions. These questions are: Can I relate to this topic? and, Will it solve my problem?

When one views themselves in a new light—a light with no more problems—they have a change in their emotional state. They go from feeling defeated to empowered. This is exactly why How-To books sell as easy as they do. In the end, people want their problems solved, by someone who they can relate to, and they want to feel better. Therefore, if your title can grab their attention in these arenas, your potential reader will choose your book to pick up off the shelf, to look deeper into if it is a book they desire to purchase. What this means for you is, you have made it to first base by having them pick up your book to look more closely at it. What you have on your back cover will either send them to second base, or tag them out. If you are good enough to get them to second base, your review page is what will get them to third base, or tag them out. If your reviews are good enough to get them to third base, your homerun lies within your introduction. So, when writing your book, wait for the perfect title to jump of the pages at you, then be sure your back cover, reviews, and introduction will give you the homerun you need for your potential reader to transform into your reader.

Key Take-Aways:

  • Wait on the perfect title within your pages.
  • Be sure you are selling emotion.
  • Be sure you are being relatable.
  • Hit a homerun with your title, back cover, reviews, and introduction.
3 replies
  1. Rhonda
    Rhonda says:

    This article is very helpful. So often a potential author gets stuck before he/she even gets going. Although it’s exciting to create a book title and cover, it’s more important to produce great content for the reader. I think this concepts of emotions sell, not sex itself, and how to “find” your title within the actual pages are brilliant!

  2. P.K. Eastman
    P.K. Eastman says:

    All good points and nicely written, Elena. Whenever someone mentions they are writing a book the first question is never, “What is the title?” They first ask, “Really! What is it about?”

  3. Michele
    Michele says:

    What a Great article! It definitely helped reading this article, I always thought you had to have a title before you started your book, knowing that you can get creative and write a book and then have the perfect title pop out as you write! give you permission to create and not procrastinate! I am excited to get started on my next book!
    Thanks Elena!


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