There’s an art and science to book titling. Just because you write or publish books doesn’t mean you’ll be any good at titling them—any more than someone who designs and builds cars would have any skill at naming them.
I’ve lost track of how many people have come up to me at book conferences, so proud of their new book “baby” and wanting me to share that enthusiasm. And the title just doesn’t do the book justice. “Great!” I exclaim. “What a shame…” I think to myself.
Take The Well-Fed Writer, for example. I think it works, for starters, because, as mentioned earlier, it sets up the positive contrast to the “starving writer”—making it benefits-driven: it tells readers what the book will deliver.
That’s one way to do a book title—focus on benefits. Other titles you see in the gallery below showcase different approaches—but the end goal is always the same: to create something powerful, evocative and memorable.
Many authors don’t even realize they should have a subtitle. But, if you want people to buy your book, you’ve got to quickly give them a sense of what it’s about and what’s in it for them.
While titles can—and should—be punchy and attention-getting, a subtitle is generally the workhorse of the two. It elaborates on the premise established by the title, provides more nuts-‘n-bolts detail, and, ideally, is hard-hitting in its own right.