A catchy book title is one of the first and most important draws for a reader. For most book readers, the process of book selection is usually: attracted by the book cover, interested by the title and intrigued by the book description, before they decide to purchase the book. A good book title should make a lasting impression on the readers and also hook them into taking the time to read the book description, which should hopefully seal the deal. This article shows you exactly how to write a book title.
Non-fiction book titles
For a non-fiction book, the title should clearly indicate what the book offers to the reader, or indicate which readers it is targeted towards. Readers of non-fiction need to know right away what the book is about and whether it will provide the information what they are looking for. Some clear and straightforward examples which are also engaging and unique are: “What to Expect When You Are Expecting” for new parents and “Make Me Something Good to Eat” for family friendly recipes.
Non-fiction books also usually have a sub-title which can be a great advantage for authors to present a catchy and complementary title-subtitle duo. For example, the title can be whimsical to catch the reader’s attention, while the subtitle explains in more straightforward terms what the content is about. A nice example is the popular self-help book, which has this great combination of title- subtitle: “What Color is Your Parachute? A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers”.
Fiction book titles
With fiction books, there are no rules except to make your title as unique and interesting as possible. Some of the most famous books have titles ranging from a character’s name (“Rebecca”) to a deep, involved name whose meaning is only understood well into the novel (“Silence of The Lambs”). For some authors, the title is the first thing they come up with, and then build their book around it. For others, it takes several weeks after completion of the book to write a title that conveys the idea of the book as they intended it.
Having said that, there are several things you can try to produce a good title for your novel.
Do try to avoid clichés and commonly used words like: “The Mystery of….”, or “The Wild Adventures of…” Some famous books have used such titles and won over readers. But these titles have been out there for too long, and readers need to see something different and creative. Even if your book is a mystery, you can surely use other ways to convey that to the reader. A great example is “The Da Vinci Code”. The word ‘Code’ immediately implies something hidden and secret and spy-like, while Da Vinci was a famous painter. The unexpected connection here is worth exploring and pulls the reader in right away.
The title must always be aimed to make the reader curious about the contents, which can be done by stating the central premise openly (“Mutation” or “Memoirs of a Geisha”) or in a representative manner which is revealed satisfactorily in the middle of the book (“The Other Boleyn Girl” or “Pride And Prejudice”).
Try to challenge the reader with something like “The Perfect Murder”, which immediately makes a murder fan want to read it to see if it is indeed that clever or ‘perfect’ or it can be solved by them before the detective figures it out.
Using exaggeration or long descriptive titles are okay too, as long as they intrigue. An interesting example is: “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius”, which makes the reader simultaneously curious and determined to test the boastful claims.
Image credit: srgpicker on flickr and reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/CS_Rajan.jpg [/author_image] [author_info]CS Rajan is a freelance writer who loves to write on various topics, and is currently working on her first novel. [/author_info] [/author]