How Book Titles Speak to Readers

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September 7, 2016

Have you ever wondered why your book doesn’t sell well? Is your book title good enough?

Your book title says it all. It is one of the many factors that make readers pull out your book from the shelves, or why they’ll purchase it online. It’s the first thing they see, and if it tickles or boggles them, they’ll check what the book is about.


book titles
One of the many books displayed in LitFire’s booth at LBF 2016.


Creating Book Titles that Seduce Readers

The title carries the success or failure of your book. While writing a novel is a painstaking endeavor, creating the title is more challenging. It’s a choice that affects the result of your book’s marketing path. Once published alongside thousands of other books, the title’s composition will matter. The play of words and its uniqueness, whether it’s a long or short title, can move the reader. As part of your marketing technique, you must consider the book title as vital.




Maybe you’re unsure where to start or what characteristics you need to have for a compelling book title. Here are the basic elements you need to consider.


Curiosity and Creativity

Good book titles are a combination of art and fascination. Remember, readers want to read a book that piques their mundane lives, and you begin that with your book title. An effective title (a) gives a summary of what your book contains, (b) arouses reader’s curiosity, (c) offers a memorable impact, (d) plays the imagination, (e) and is eye-catching, even with only one or few words in it.

If your book title matches and reflects the content, tone, and theme of your book, then you’re one step closer to a good title. Here are some examples of best book titles that have achieved great popularity and book sales throughout history.

  • To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee
  • How to Teach Physics to Your Dog by Chad Orzel
  • The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith
  • I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley


Though some book titles indirectly tell about the book, they are creatively made to grab reader’s attention. Make your title stand out. And make your readers understand what the book is telling without giving the whole story away.

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Play with your reader’s imagination. You can (a) play with the words, (b) insert hidden meanings, (c) use a unique person’s name, (d) use event, activity, expression, (e) or take inspiration from an existing work title but adding it a twist. In creating a book title, one word can be enough to engage reader’s imagination, but be careful because this may lead to a confusion of your book’s genre.



A strong title is a winning book title. It has to be sharp, crisp, and clever—that the words can reflect your whole book’s content alone. These can also be keywords or memorable lines that jump out of your book’s story. Find a suitable word, then refine and refine until you come up with the book title that captures the gist and the story of your book.



The length of your book’s title doesn’t really matter. As long as its quality stands out and matches your book content, then it can be effective. An example of a long title is Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami. It’s lengthy yet catchy. And here’s an example of a one-word book title, Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. It’s grammatically wrong, but the unique one word is enough to snatch the reader’s attention.


Read this to solve your online book promotion problems.


Now, check the book title you have decided. If you feel that your book title does not capture your book’s whole content, you may have to revise and improve it. Don’t hesitate to change your book title if it doesn’t describe the essence of your book. Then try saying it out loud, and decide if it’s catchy when spoken.

Don’t forget your target audience, and if the title is fitting to your book’s genre. To avoid duplicate titles, check by searching on the web. Create a best title before you present your book to agents, editors, and publisher, so as to make a good first impression.

P.S Make sure your book description matches your book title. Take these tips with you.


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