Crafting A Killer {Book} Title

Your title is the single most important part of your book. Period.

Whew! I said it. Finally.

I work with authors every day. And I wish that more of them would spend more time working on their book’s title. Or at least listen to my years of hard-won knowledge about what makes a title work and what makes a title a flop.

Public Service Announcement: This whole article is about titles for non-fiction books!

Sure, your cover is critical, 020315-KillerTitlebut it’s not as important as your title.

See, too many authors think that cutesy is the same as effective.
Or that eye-grabbing is the same as effective.
Or that sensational is the same as effective.
Or that a play-on-words is the same as effective.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

A trap authors fall into is that they stop thinking like a business owner whose goal is to sell books, thinking like a true marketer, and start thinking they’re a jingle writer.

Titles like:

  • But That’s How I Do It!
  • Dream Big Dreams
  • What If?
  • Good Girls Do

Before you start throwing out hugely successful books with really “bad” titles, remember that I work with authors who are only well-known in their own circles and are looking to expand those circles. I’m NOT talking about Oprah, Tony Robbins, or Larry Winget – people with national media coverage and name recognition.

Titles sell books.

Titles sell #books. Is your title effective? Share on X

What many authors forget is the power of the title AND the subtitle to work together. Sure, you’re title might grab people and be sensational but your subtitle needs to hook them in and deliver the BENEFIT.

After all, people read non-fiction to experience some sort of transformation!

  • To learn about something
  • To learn how to do something
  • To fix a pain
  • To get more of something
  • To have less of something
  • To improve their life, health, relationship

When you’re crafting a killer title – don’t forget to clearly spell out the benefit your reader will receive when she reads the book! There’s no guarantee she’ll read the description, the reviews, or study the cover. But she WILL read the title. So make sure it’s all right there – clear and easy to understand!

So tell me, as a person who buys books, what in a title makes you want to whip out the credit card?

And taking it one step further, what in a title makes you actually want to READ the book after you’ve bought it?

Kim Galloway
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