What’s in a Name? When It Comes to Book Titles, More than You Think

41+-uU7IeCL._SL500_AA300_Jen was sitting in a theater last week, watching Raiders of the Lost Ark and marveling at how perfect it was, soup to nuts (and no, she didn’t travel in a Delorean back to 1981). Then she started thinking about the title and realized it was pretty spot-on as well. Not only did it evoke adventure and a certain disregard for the rules, it really does a great job at describing WHAT the movie’s about.

When we go about titling our book projects, we might focus on either something that’s going to be sexy or intriguing, OR descriptive and literal.

Guess what? It’s important to consider both.

Most nonfiction books also have a subtitle, and possibly an additional “reading line”—an extra line on the cover that specifically conveys a promise to the reader. When beginning to ponder your title/subtitle, there are several things to keep in mind: It should be intriguing, of course, but—particularly if it’s nonfiction—it also needs to clearly convey the book’s concept and be easily searchable for those shopping online.

Keep these considerations in mind as you work on your title:

Still think titles aren’t that big of a deal? Well, imagine if these bestsellers had been titled differently:

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother
Using Traditional Chinese Parenting Techniques to Raise a Successful Child

Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Men Who Hate Women (original Swedish title)

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
The Theory of Memetics in Everyday Life

Learn how to craft a great title, subtitle, and reading line, as well as the 8 other key proposal elements, in our Feb. 9 All-Day Workshop, 30 Days to a Winning Book Proposal.


1 Comment

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One response to “What’s in a Name? When It Comes to Book Titles, More than You Think

  1. Pingback: Our new webinar will help you score a book deal |

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