What is the title of my book

Become a writer Part 8: 5 tips on how to find the perfect book title

In addition to the book cover, the title of your book gives your reader the first impression. If word of mouth spreads your book (which is a godsend for you!), Potential new readers will hear the title before they even have a look at your cover. And that's when it decides whether whoever has just heard about your book wants to know more about it.

The book title is important, but not everything

Of course, the most important thing about your book is the content. A good title doesn't make a good book. But a badly chosen or inappropriately chosen title can make a very good book dusty in the farthest corners of bookstores - if it ever gets there. What you have to do about it is clear: You have to find a really good book title for your novel or non-fiction book.

When should you start looking for your book title?

Some authors have their book title in mind before they even write a word. I admit that once a title that occurred to me was what inspired me to write a story in the first place. The title was Peach blossoms, and the story later turned into something completely different - so that the name no longer fitted.

It's not bad to have a title on your mind right from the start. That makes your book project more real, you have a specific name to talk about your novel by. But it is not for nothing that one speaks of a working title. Because the book title, like the blurb and book cover, is one of the things that you should only finalize once your story has been written. After all, they should represent your book, and it has to be clear what it includes in terms of content.

So how can you find the perfect book title? What's a perfect book title anyway? A good title is memorable, arouses curiosity, explains what expectations can be placed on the book, reveals nothing about the content and is unique. In addition, it should of course still sound good. It's all very simple, isn't it?

Since it is actually not that easy to put so much information (and then so little) in a few words, I have put together my 5 best tips for you on how to find the perfect book title.

Use these 5 tips to find the perfect book title

1. Follow genre conventions

Your latest science fiction novel has just come out. It's about a journey back in time, with which your hero triggers a new timeline. He tries to return to the original timeline and has to travel back several times on the same day. In the end - that's the surprising twist of your novel - your hero finds out that he didn't come from the “original” timeline. You have your novel Again and again yesterday called.

Your first enthusiastic reader tells about his new reading discovery at a party and names the title. What do you mean Will the die-hard science fiction fan listen enthusiastically to what the novel is about? Or maybe wondering why his buddy has started reading romance novels?

Each genre of novels has its own set of rules for titles. Hopefully, if you write in a genre, you will know a few other books in the genre. Check out their titles. How are they structured? Are they shorter, longer, factual, flowery? Orientate yourself to role models of the genre and do not break too much with conventions. (At least not as long as nobody knows your name.)

2. Make you curious about your book, but don't give too much away

Now that Amazon has listed your book among the romance novels, you want to find a new book title. Your research has shown that science fiction novels often have 2 to 3 word titles and that they are relatively clear and not very metaphorical. You want "time" to appear so that it is clear that it is about time travel. After a few nights of being awake, the flash of inspiration finally comes. You call your novel: “The wrong timeline”. All right, your hero is on it too.

Your first reader is now looking forward to your novel with great anticipation. He reads 20 or 30 pages and thinks for the first time: “The wrong timeline? Could it be that the main character was on the wrong timeline from the start? " Smart as you are, you've made small predictions throughout your novel, sown a little, in order to reap the big highlights in the end. But after two thirds of the novel, your reader is almost pissed off and threatens to never read your novel again if you have actually given away the end in the title. And you can be sure that he will carry out his threat.

It's important to find a book title where what you reveal is enough to arouse potential readers, but does not reveal anything that is supposed to be a surprise later in the book. If you've been loyal to a novel for 300 pages, only to find at the end that the title has already given away everything, you're at best disappointed.

3. Look in your book

After a few angry emails from your readers, you consider going back to the title for the next edition. You have now learned that you shouldn't give too much away. Unfortunately, you have no idea where to find inspiration for another book title. It's getting to be more work than the entire novel.

You can find inspiration very easily: just look in your book. Take a look at which terms you use, what your characters are called, which locations you describe, what plays a major role. And then: Don't just write down one possible title, write at least five. You will definitely need them again.

Your favorites after reviewing your book are:

  1. Again and again yesterday (it was actually quite nice, you think),
  2. The wrong timeline (maybe your readers get upset unnecessarily),
  3. The lost time (somehow fits)
  4. Time out of joint (you are particularly proud of that) and
  5. Time back.

You would start right away and choose alternative 4, but want to do everything right this time. You remember a blog post you read and start a circular email to your friends asking how they think about your book titles.

It's easy to find inspiration for your book title: Just take a look at your book.

4. Test your book title

If you want to know how your book title is received by your readers, do what you should do a lot more often anyway: ask them. Or possible readers. So your friends and acquaintances. The best thing to do is to ask people who are not sure what you are writing about. Otherwise, your test may not work as well.

The best way to do this is to: Send five to ten people an email containing your possible book titles and ask the recipients of the email to briefly write down in a few bullet points what they associate with these titles. If you can write to a large number of friends, you don't have to send all of the titles to everyone. This will then make it easier for them to answer you.

The answers to this question will show you whether your title meets genre expectations and whether it reveals too much. However, you can take advantage of this test even further by texting your friends again about a week after you received an answer. This time, without looking at your old email again, ask her to list as many of the titles as possible. This will help you find out if your titles are memorable.

5. Check if your book title already exists

Your book title test showed that Again and again yesterday perceived as the title of a romantic comedy. You think it's a shame, but now he's finally out. The wrong timeline reveals too much. The lost time nobody could remember it, it came several times The missed time and once The lost weekend. So you still have two options. You are happy because your favorite is there, open your photo editing program and start typing: “Time off your feet…”.

No stop After all the preparatory work, just type your favorite into Google again. And see if it or similar titles already exist. (Time out of joint is a novel by Philip K. Dick. Not a time travel novel, but Dick wasn't really into book titles either.) After doing your research, you decide on Time back. Or for another run, because you don't quite like the title yet.