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Three Steps to Finding the Perfect Title for Your Book

What’s in a name? When it comes to book titles, a lot! Whether we should or not, we judge books not only by their covers, but by their titles. Basically, the title helps us figure out if a book is “for us.”

So how can you come up with an amazing title that’ll make readers intrigued to know more? Follow these easy steps!

1.) Think about tone.

Is your book funny? Serious? Sexy? The tone of the book is one of the first things to think about when you’re dreaming up a title. Take Vicky Skinner’s book, How to Breathe Underwater. The tone of the title—contemplative, romantic, and hopeful—matches the tone of the book. What if we’d titled the book something else swimming-related, like Blowing Bubbles? Readers might think it’s a light, romantic romp instead.

2.) Consider genre.

We think a lot about covers, but titles do a lot of the work when it comes to telling the reader about the genre of a book. Consider the fact that what most readers see of a book is the spine as they pass it in a bookstore. If readers only had your title to go on, would they get a sense what genre your book is? Let’s take How to Breathe Underwater again. What if we’d titled it The Water Goddess? This title would be fairly accurate, since the main character, Kate is a champion swimmer, but it would likely lead readers to believe the book is a fantasy—which it’s not!

3.) Be flexible.

Publishing secret here: book titles change. Often. And sometimes more than once! The title isn’t only up to the editor and the author; our colleagues in sales, marketing, publicity, and more also have a say, and that can happen from as soon as we sign up a book to when we officially introduce it to our company, often months later. So even if you totally adore your title, it’s always good to have some back-ups handy!

How do you decide your book titles? Have any questions about how to come up with them or make yours stand out? Tell us in the comments below!

Author spotlight

Kat Brzozowski

Native New Hampshirite. Broadway musical nerd. Work team softball slugger. Embroidery aficionado. I’m one part Ramona, one part the monkeys ...

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