How to Create a Title That Gets People to Pick Up Your Book

There are a lot of things to worry about when working on a book – your title shouldn’t get in the way. Are you in the early stages of writing and finding yourself getting distracted by how you’re going to title your work or are you in the later stages where you can’t decide on a title and are worried that it won’t be interesting enough for people to want to read? If so, try naming your work off of:

What your Story is About
This is a simple solution that can help you move on from your title dilemma.
Examples: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Where your Story Takes Place
Another simple solution for works in which location is integral.
Examples: The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, On the Road by Jack Kerouac

Was your work inspired by any previous works? If so, this may help other fans of the work recognize yours!
Examples: Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner, Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald (yes, he made this list twice)

If there is a specific image from your work that stands out to you or you feel that best encapsulates it, then why not?
Examples: Hills Like White Elephants by Ernest Hemingway, The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot

For similar reasoning as the above option, a metaphor that symbolizes the main character’s goals or arch can work as well.
Examples: The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

We’re really brushin’ off the ol’ literary terminology today, aren’t we? These kinds of titles are fun to say and seem to roll off the tongue!
Examples: Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Name it After your Main Character
These ones tend to be for characters with interesting names (let’s not delve into naming characters quite yet) but could also work for characters with average names. The story is about them, isn’t it?
Examples: Hamlet by William Shakespeare, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Include your Character’s Name
Want to provide more context than just a name? How about including the name with some more of a description?
Examples: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

A Quirky Title
These ones speak for themselves.
Examples: One Day We’ll All Be Dead And None Of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul, You Get So Alone at Times That it Just Makes Sense by Charles Bukowski

A One-Word Title
50,000 words down to 1? Seems like a difficult feat to me, but it worked for the books below. It appears that a nickname or theme could work!
Examples: Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, Atonement by Ian McEwan

Hopefully these suggestions helped conjure up a few different titles. Which one of these is your favorite?



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s