What’s in a Name?: Picking Your Book’s Title

Now that you have poured your heart and soul onto every page of your Lulu book, here comes the real dilemma…what about the title? Yes, the title. It’s hard to imagine that those couple of words will be the first to introduce a potential reader to your book and will help them decide whether to pick it up or pass it by. In an effort to provide some aid to this rather daunting task, here are some tips to keep in mind.

Take the Short Road

Take a look at The New York Times Best Seller List and you will notice that, most often than not, today’s most popular titles are 3 words or less. If that isn’t enough to convince you, think of some of the books that you have read in the past. Here are a few of mine – The Help, The Scarlet Letter, What Remains, Pride and Prejudice, etc. Do you see a pattern? If you’re afraid that a couple of words or a short phrase won’t sum up your book, consider using a subtitle to provide further explanation.

Be Original

Since titles aren’t copyrighted, there could be a chance that the title you choose may already be spoken for. In the case that your title (or one very similar) is in use, it may be best to reevaluate what you have chosen to avoid confusion. Not sure if your book title has a twin? Try checking out an online book database or catalog like Project Gutenberg.

Share Your Ideas

Once you have had the chance to brainstorm a few title possibilities, bounce them off of your friends, family, and coworkers. Make sure to provide several ideas and poll them for which ones they better. Like your potential readers, they won’t know much about your book and can only judge it based on the title.

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11 Comments

  1. Pat

    I have written a western novel. The main character is a man driven by vengence.
    I have come up with five possible names:

    The Shadow Rider
    Showdown at Indian Peak
    The Outrider
    Vengence!
    An Eye for an Eye

    which do you think would attact readers of this genre

  2. ege

    that’s what I need because I do have a difficulty in writing a title. your idea is great and I enjoy reading it.

    fire magic
    outdoor kitchen

  3. Great article! I called my book “Sex, Brands & Rock’n’Roll” which is a huge cliche, but it has certainly got me more attention than a more conventional title might have done. It’s worth having an original title, but it’s also worth noting that common phrases will also arouse some PR of its own.

    While we’re talking about headlines / book titles it’s worth saying that all the copywriters I’ve ever worked with have spent as much time coming up with the headline, as they have writing the actual content – it’s THAT important.

  4. Venez découvrir ce que j’ai vécu comme victime survivante de l’acool au volant et je vous invite quiconque qui aurait l’audacité de me regarder droit dans le blanc des yeux et me dire que cela ne vous dérange aucunement et que vous allez continuer de conduire en étât d’ébriété. I dare you! Vous pouvez vous procurez mon livre “Survivre a l’alcool au volant” sur Lulu.com dans la section “Biographie”. Merci.

  5. mike brooks

    Would somebody at Lulu please contact me so I may understand how to publish a book of poems. This web site is too confusing! I am a writer who has written over five hundred poems and would like to save them in a book! Thank you.

  6. I have published a novella here at Lulu. The title is named, I Might As Well Because I Have No Choice.

  7. AJ

    Mike,

    Lulu is set up so that an author can publish at his or her own pace. To join Lulu, you can sign up from our home page. It is free to publish and sell on Lulu.com, you just upload your work to your projects list and decide what you want the cover to look like and where you want to distribute your book (Lulu, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple’s iBookstore, etc.). If you feel like you need help along the way, we offer tons of services and you can always sign up for a free consultation at this page: http://www.lulu.com/services

    Once you have finished your consultation, the best way to reach the folks here is through this page: http://www.lulu.com/customerservice

  8. AJ

    Jeremy,

    Your title certainly got my attention. You’re right on the money about using cliche’s to your advantage. I think it is important for authors to not over use them, but if you can tweak it or make a clever play on words, then more power to you.

  9. AJ

    Pat,

    I personally like “The Shadow Rider.”

  10. thats should our name :D

  11. Ash

    hey pat i think the shadow riders cool!

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