How To Write A Great Book Title

Choosing a clever title can be as hard as writing the book itself. Some writers say their title comes to them first, and the story develops from there, while other writers have folders of documents like, “Untitled, fantasy time travel book, name TBD.”

Your title should do three things: Attract readers you want, distinguish your book from others in its genre, and leave a lasting impression on the reader. Here are Lulu’s tips for giving your masterpiece a great name.

  1. Avoid clichéd nouns like “chronicles,” “tale” and “adventure.” Sure, some of the great classics use them – The Chronicles of Narnia, The Handmaid’s Tale and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn come immediately to mind – but usually these descriptors are unnecessary and over-used. Distinguish your book with an original title, even if it is a chronicle, a tale, or an adventure. John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War could easily be described as a chronicle, but doesn’t rely on that descriptor to be memorable and powerful.
  2. How to choose a clever title? Consider an important object, character or idea from the book and start brainstorming. Perhaps a line from the book during a critical scene would make a good title. Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, for example, takes its title from a character’s description of time travel to a child – creating a “wrinkle” in the fabric of time to get to and fro easily. The relevancy of the title may not be immediately apparent, but when the reader finally figures it out within the text, the realization can be just as satisfying as finishing the book.
  3. If your book is non-fiction, consider a subtitle to clarify your clever main title. Readers of non-fiction want to know up-front what they’re going to get from your book. Before it becomes a nationally-known best-seller, a vague title like What Color is Your Parachute? needs a descriptive subtitle (A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers) to appeal to the job-hunters who might need the help this book can provide. The combination of title and subtitle of Deborah Frye and Tracy Mercier’s Our Father Who Aren’t In Heaven: A True Story of a Career Criminal does a great job of telling the reader the subject and tone of the book. (Don’t worry; if you’re using Lulu’s cover design services, we can handle a subtitle, a sub-subtitle and all the authors, illustrators, editors and contributors you want to include on the cover!)
  4. Make your title original. Book titles cannot be copyrighted or trademarked, so it’s possible for there to be a hundred different books with the same title. If there’s already an established book with your title, especially in your genre, your readers could buy the wrong book on accident. Do a quick search on your favorite book-buying website to make sure there’s not a book with your title, or a very similar title with your subject matter.
  5. Use literary devices like puns, alliteration and plays on established titles to make your book memorable. You’ve probably heard of The Art of War; a play on this is The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. The slight transposition completely changes the meaning. Robin Amber Kilgore’s In Her Bathrobe She Blogged has a great rhythm and alliteration, and Tom Fishburne’s book of marketing cartoons, This One Time at Brand Camp, turns a known pop-culture phrase into a clever pun.
  6. Don’t be afraid of long titles. Some of my favorite book titles make an impression because they’re long: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran-Foer; Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? by Raymond Carver; and The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance by Elna Baker.
  7. Call it exactly what it is, even if it’s tongue-in-cheek. Examples: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers and Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart.
  8. When in doubt, borrow! Did you know some great books have titles borrowed from other works? Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials and Thomas Wolfe’s Look Homeward, Angel both borrow their titles from John Milton’s works – Paradise Lost and Lycidas, respectively. Tamra Davis’ Make me Something Good To Eat is a family-friendly cookbook, its title taken from the children’s trick-or-treating rhyme.
  9. Finally, once you’ve come up with the perfect title, think of two or three more. Run them all by your writers’ group or your most honest bookworm friends to see what they think.

If you’re still having trouble naming your book, or if you just can’t decide which of several ideas would be best, consider a Marketing Consultation from Lulu’s publicity team. In addition to helping you decide on a great title, we’ll give you expert advice about your cover design, website and social media, possible marketing angles and your marketing goals.

Now tell us, what titles did you consider before deciding on the title of your book?

Recommended Reading:

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Thanks for the compliment Arrie!

  2. Thanks for the shout-out Arrie! It was always a pleasure working with you on our book.

  3. Good article! I always wanna write a great book :D

  4. Those are some great tips. Here’s one more:

    Once you’ve got 2-3 potential titles, run an instant market poll on Authors have gotten awesome feedback for titles and covers from the service.

  5. I wrote my first novel for the novel course. The instructors advised me my instructor hated men and doctors in general. She has been widely published countless times. She gave me an A+, told me the book was a human drama and literary. I was amazed.

    My original title was Antelope Hills. My friends who read Kindle told me you need an eyecatcher. Sex,Drugs, and Murder In the Antelope Hills was their fav. The father is trying to save his pregnant daughter from cocaine addiction. She also has a condition of high blood pressure with pregnancy. Cocaine will kill her. I see their point, but come on. I thought about Antelope Hills, with the subtitle: Jack Thorton fights to save his pregnant,Snowblind daughter. My book cover looks like an oil painting from Now all I need is a great title, with some class.

  6. Syed Abdul Quddus

    I have finally retired after 45 years of work and wanted to write a book. This blog gave me a useful direction.

    Thank you!

  7. I think a woman at my aerobics center gave me a good title: Living to Die in the Antelope Hills: Jack Thorton Fights to Save His Hopeless Daughter

    Anyone have any comments on this one?

  8. Nothing is like a good idea you have done much thank more. Am looking forward to being one of the word best authors; a goal to achieve.

  9. Wow, incredible weblog structure! Нow long have you bee running a blog for?
    you made blogging look easy. Thee full glance of your sitе iis excellent, as neatly as the copntent mɑterial!

  10. I hагdly create comments, however after looking at through a few of the comments оn thnis page Lulu Blog

  11. Your website must provide a clear message using a goal-oriented direction, setting you apart
    from your competitors. You can run your online business perfectly in case you become cordial on the customers.
    Donnie Jonston may be the author of this informative article about how you can make
    funds on Ebay Donnie has many years of work experience as being a writer as well as working with
    drop shippers in the variety of entrepreneurial ventures.

  12. It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d
    most certainly donate to this fantastic blog! I suppose for now
    i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account.
    I look forward to new updates and will share this site with
    my Facebook group. Chat soon!

  13. The project has been delayed by more than 50% over the
    next year is being examined next week. His prime
    minister, would be the Palais Mehdi. They check there
    are riad marrakech red reviews no labels, so it is very important that you be aware of this before you order something.
    His latest book, co-edited with Stuart Schaar, is The
    Birth of the Arab Spring. It is a challenge to get a bit wild,
    the Serengeti comes calling. It’s one riad marrakech red reviews of only two mosques in Morocco open to non-Muslims.

  14. Thanks for your personal marvelous posting! I certainly enjoyed reading it, you happen to be
    a great author.I will make certain to bookmark your blog and definitely will come back sometime soon. I
    want to encourage you to continue your great posts, have a nice day!

  15. Hungry Shark Evolution has been the most effective Video games associated with 2013 as well as received your Editor’s Alternative Award as
    well as Tiga Award 2013. This really is the greatest check associated with success, have the lifetime as a Shark.

    With begin you happen to be a new puppy yet following a prolonged story associated with play you’ll turn into a 10 ton Fantastic White Shark, function as colossal that
    will consume his predators.

    Hungry Shark Evolution hack In this specific video game
    you’ll want to full tasks and locate cherish for you to
    generate Loose change as well as Gem stones, yet with the
    Keen Shark Advancement Cheat, we formulated 3 thirty day period
    back, this will grew to become quite simple, you
    can find this specific assets by simply straightforward depressing of just one button. Using this rewards you’ll be able to update your own sharks skills or perhaps buy
    exclusive life-saving things, and also you can certainly open by far the most ferocious critters inside seashore: Mako Shark, Hammerhead, Gambling Shark and also the almighty Fantastic White.

    That you can notice inside suitable photograph your
    Hungry Shark Evolution doesn’t search really challenging.
    We all formulated this specific Hungry Shark Evolution Cheat 3 a
    few months back as well as many of us examined
    this specific nearly every day. We could absolutely state this crack can be 100% safe.
    We all built-in inside qualifications procces 3 methods that’s lets you create limitless Loose change as well as Gem
    stones as well as every time when you available this course you’ll get
    yourself a new IP.

  16. What’s up to every single one, it’s in fact a pleasant for me to go to see this web
    site, it consists of precious Information.

  17. I am a designer and I have just come up with a brand-new
    social network website. I am just in the market for beta evaluators
    to search and try it out. Are you looking to subscribe?
    We intend to pay you.

  18. Make a wish list of cars that you are interested in. You have seen many cars in advertisements and on the road.
    It should be easy for you to build a solid list of vehicles that would suit your style.
    You can add a couple of dream cars that seem out of your range;
    however, be realistic about what you can afford.
    Never take a car at face value. Though you may not be a
    mechanic, it is a good idea to do a thorough inspection of
    the vehicle. An important part of the inspection is a test drive.
    This allows you to feel the car on the road, listen for any wayward noises and possible
    spot issues with performance.

  19. Opt for a variety of vegetables every day to nourish your body with nearly
    a myriad of nutrition. We all know that fiber helps keeps us feeling full and satisfied.
    By shifting to a raw foods diet plan you will allow this to

  20. Your style is so unique compared to other people I have
    read stuff from. I appreciate you for posting when you have the opportunity,
    Guess I will just bookmark this web site.

  21. This excellent website truly has all the information and
    facts I wanted concerning this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

  22. So on Sunday for their pre-season at England’s HQ in St Paul MN.
    Here are some hints street style is designed to pprovide
    so many orders, and you’ll be known, the material.
    Social responsibility also makes ffor a floor sweeper either.
    Glenn J Chamandy, CEO of Gap in Chiha through 2013. There
    are two essential components hen it morning dress comes to dressing
    teenagers, people can buuy high quality.

  23. Have you ever considered about including a little bit more than just
    your articles? I mean, what you say is important
    and everything. Nevertheless imagine if you added some great
    photos or video clips to give your posts more,
    “pop”! Your content is excellent but with images and videos,
    this website could undeniably be one of the most beneficial in its niche.

    Terrific blog!

  24. Finally i quit my regular job, now i earn a lot of money on-line
    you should try too, just search in google – blackhand roulette system

  25. By authorizing our response, we’ll give $0.01 to a special cause.

One Trackback

  1. By Coming Up With a Name | Sweat, Tears and Digital Ink on November 16, 2013 at 10:55 am

    […] Rachelle Gardner Wiki How Publishing About […]

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *