What’s in a Name? More Book Title Tips

Book CoverAuthorHouse welcomes you back to Author’s Digest! Last week, we boosted your marketing efforts with the first in a two-part series on crafting an effective book title. You can read that post here. Today, we’ll wrap things up with six more tips to help your book stand out from the crowd.


We start out with…


1. Have a title with a double meaning. If possible, your title should have at least two layers of meaning: one that gets the reader’s attention before she reads the book, and one that isn’t clear until after she’s completed it. At the same time…


2. Don’t ruin your book’s surprise in your title. This one seems obvious, but it’s happened before, believe it or not. If your book contains a surprise element, make sure your title doesn’t give it away (or hint enough that a reader might figure it out).


3. Identify your audience in your title. This applies mainly to nonfiction books in the instruction or self-help genres. If you book is aimed at teens, say so in the title. “For Seniors” is also a popular title addition that clearly tells a potential buyer if the book is for them or not.


4. Maintain a consistent voice. When you write, you probably use a consistent voice throughout your work. If possible, maintain that voice in your title. For example, if your book is going to be told in the third person, don’t give it a first-person title (e.g. My Year in Japan).


5. Use your subtitle wisely. Maybe you love your title, but feel that it doesn’t describe your subject or audience clearly enough. This is where an effective subtitle comes in. For example, you’ve written a history book called Naha Reborn, about Okinawa after World War II. It’s not a bad title, but the subject might not be apparent to all potential readers.  Naha Reborn: Okinawa in the Post-War Years makes it clear, and adds some important search keywords (Okinawa, Post-War).


6. Make it jump out! There are numerous ways you can make your book’s title grab a reader’s attention. Humorous titles work, as do outrageous ones. Creating your own catchy words or phrases is also an effective technique, when your subject warrants it. Browse some books in your genre; which ones “stick out?” Why?


And that’s all for today. Author’s Digest hopes you’ve found this useful in your writing journey, and we look forward to seeing the titles you come up with.


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