You've written something: a book, a blog post, an article, a listicle, some work of written art. And now you're about ready for the world to read it, but one thing is missing: the perfect book title, article title, or novel title.
Your title will either grab your readers attention or be another phrase they glance over. It is the deciding factor of whether or not they read your work of art.
After running and working on various blogs and books over the last few years, I've learned a few things that grab readers' attention. Here are my best tips to writing the perfect nonfiction book title, blog post title, or novel title.
How to Come Up With the Best Titles for Books and Blogs
Book titles and blog post titles are often very different. Depending on what genre you are titling, you'll use different tactics. Here are strong strategies for each one:
Nonfiction Book Titles
When titling a nonfiction book, it's best to be very clear about what your book is going to do for the reader. In nonfiction, we aim for simplicity and clarity.
All of those bestselling books have titles that make it very clear what is inside their covers. They are upfront with what they plan to teach and offer you.
With fiction, we're allowed to have a little more fun.
Some of the best fiction titles are the ones that you don't understand until the middle or end of the book, like Catcher in the Rye and Lord of the Flies.
Here's a fun exercise for fiction writers: Go to your local bookstore and walk through the fiction aisles. Pick out the books that seem interesting to you and write down those titles.
Then, compare them. What do they have in common? Why did you pick them? What stuck out?
Blog Post / Article Titles
I'm going to share one of my best-kept secrets for titling blog posts. It's a hilarious website called Portent Title Maker that generates funny and sometimes inspiring titles (check it out here).
They're not always the best titles, but they can get you thinking and give you a good laugh.
There are a few ways you can catch people's attention and gain more clicks for your blog post. Try including:
- Numbers (e.g. 12 Tips to Make Better Sandwiches)
- Buzzwords (e.g. words like confessions, open letter, and Taylor Swift)
- “How To” (e.g. How to Make the Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich)
Blog post titles follow similar rules to nonfiction titles, but have the same creative freedom as fiction titles. When people are skimming the internet, they have the world at their fingertips, any piece of information is just a click away.
Blog post titles need to have clarity, but also enough creativity to set them apart from the hundreds of other blog posts on the internet.
The Most Important Question When Considering a Book Title
As I write this, I'm sitting at a bookstore, staring at a hundred books and their titles. Some of them I want to read more than others, but each book title connects with me in a different way.
Some titles connect to our sense of adventure, some to our past, and others to our dreams.
The most important question to ask is: How does my title connect to the reader?
As you are titling your most recent novel, blog post, or short story, ask yourself that question.
What have you titled recently? Let us know your thoughts on titles in the comments below.
Choose three of your favorite fiction and nonfiction books. Pick one of each and try re-naming them! Let us know the before and after titles in the comments below. Remember to use some of the concepts from this post!