Posted by: nancycurteman | November 9, 2013

9 Steps to Create a Book Title That Sells

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Your title, along with the image on your book cover, is the first thing a perspective reader sees. The sale of your book can depend on the title you choose. Your title should evoke a potential readers interest and motivate further exploration of the book—reading the back cover, browsing the first page, checking out the author. Here are nine steps to creating a title that will sell your novel.

shiny1. Check out books in your genre on Amazon or in brick and mortar bookstores. On Amazon, go further and check the number of sales of a given book. Consider what it was about the titles that attracted your attention.  What was your immediate response?  You want your title to have an immediate impact on people as well.

2. Look at the outline of your story and write an overall, one-sentence description of what your book is about without giving away too much plot detail. This will evolve into a title that tells a reader what he can expect to read if he buys your novel.

3. Incorporate a keyword from your story. I used “down under” in one of my novels to describe setting. In mysteries the word, “murder” is a big draw to fans of this genre. A word that describes character or action will catch a reader’s eye.

4. Humorous word play is another way to attract reader attention—catchy phrases, unusual word use such as “killer cake” or “murder in a teacup.” Pull these kinds of words from your story.

5. Keep your title short, not more than three words. You can always add a short subtitle.

6. Keep your title simple but concise and easy to remember. You want your readers to recommend your book to their friends. Complicated titles are easily forgotten.

7. Stick to nouns and active verbs. It’s usually better to leave out adjectives and adverbs.

8. Make a list of several possible titles. Then do two things: 1. Do a search on Amazon for the same title. Titles are not copyrighted, but you don’t want someone buying another author’s book thinking it’s yours. 2. Send your list of titles out to as many people as possible and ask this question: If you were casually browsing books, which one of these titles would grab your attention?

9. Make your title choice from the most preferred ones on this list. The people who responded to your questions are readers and they know what readers want.

A great title is critical in marketing your novel. It’s well worth the time to create one.

More Tips:

How to Market Your Mystery Novel
How to Increase Readership of Your Writing?


  1. Every title you’ve chosen for your novels is perfect, NC. They definitely encourage people who like mysteries to pick them up and explore further.


  2. Thanks Nancy. I use the process described in this post to choose my titles.


  3. Thanks Nancy for these wonderful points and I will recall them when I need to write my TITLE.


  4. I’m glad they were helpful. Good luck on your writing piece.


  5. Reblogged this on Confessions of an aspiring author and commented:
    Really useful


    • Thank you for reblogging my piece. I’m glad you find the ideas useful. It’s the process I use.


  6. Reblogged this on Musings by Melanie Dawnn.


  7. Now, if I could only get myself to actually apply these things.


    • How about starting slowly. Pick one you like and apply it.


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