You’ve put in the work and written a brilliant book – congratulations! You’re ready to start the process of getting published, but there’s just one snag. What do you call your book? Coming up with a good title can be really tricky. Here are my top tips.

Keep it short and memorable

A good title needs to be memorable. That way, someone who’s seen your book on social media or heard you talk about it will remember what they’re looking for when they go onto Amazon or head for their local bookshop. Short titles work best, both because they’re memorable and because they help with cover design. Avoid anything too wordy as an overcrowded cover won’t make an impact on a bookshelf or online.

Don’t be afraid to use words that don’t exist yet. Neologisms are being coined all the time and you might just come up with one! Amazing writers like Roald Dahl, Lewis Carroll and even Shakespeare made up lots of words and we still use some of them. My book Unflip is coming out soon and the title itself is a made-up word.

Give people a feel for the book

Your title doesn’t need to tell readers exactly what the book’s about, but it should give them a feel for it. The blurb on the back of the book will give them more detail and you can add a tagline to the cover too, for example my book’s tagline is ‘Changing your life after a life-changing diagnosis’. The title just encourages people to read more. Your title needs to grab people’s attention and make them take a second look. This might be because it belongs to a genre that they enjoy or because it reminds them of something they’ve read and enjoyed before.

The cover design will help here too. It doesn’t tell the story but there are design tricks that can show the genre and attract new readers.

Get inspiration from bookshops

If you need an excuse to visit a bookshop (I never do) you can say it’s for research. Lots of bookshops have sections dedicated to a particular genre. Browsing the shelves of books that are like yours can show you what the market expectation for your genre is. Are there lots of one-word titles or are they a bit longer? What kind of language do you see? While you want your title to be original, it’s worth remembering that people can have quite narrow tastes and will often choose something that looks and sounds familiar. It can be useful to compare genres too, so you can decide which words to choose and which to avoid.

Search on Amazon

You could browse on Amazon instead of going to a bookshop. The only problem is that it can get overwhelming quite quickly as there are so many books available. I prefer to use Amazon for research when I’ve got a list of title ideas and want to test them out. If you’re lucky you might find you have a unique title (especially if you make up a word like I did). There are lots of books that have the same title or a very similar one to an existing book. If someone has already used your title, it’s not necessarily a problem. You can still make your book stand out with good marketing. If there are loads of books with the same name, it’ll be harder for yours to stand out and you’ll find yourself fighting for position. It’s always better to have a unique title.

Do you want to find out more about self-publishing?

Get in touch or come and find me on social media.

Want to be first to know about my forthcoming book Unflip? Sign up for the mailing list: What the Fuzz: Newsletter Sign Up