Titling a book is challenging. It is hard enough to describe a book in just a few sentences. How can you be sure you have a title for your nonfiction book that works? Here is a handy checklist to help choose the best title for your book. If the title does not meet one of these criteria, then make sure the subtitle does the job for you.
It is aspirational.
By “aspirational” I mean something more than “benefits.” You want your potential reader to see the title and immediately visualize themselves in some role that they aspire to become. For example:
Getting Things Done by David Allen (“I want to get things done.”)
7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey (“I want to be an effective person!”)
It is easy to remember.
Can someone hear the name of the book on the radio or TV and then search for it on Amazon? Is it short enough to remember? Can they pronounce it without difficulty? Can someone bring it up in conversation easily. One-word titles help meet this criteria. For example:
Tribes by Seth Godin
Platform by Michael Hyatt
It says who it is for.
Would the audience immediately identify with the book? Can they be sure the book is for them at one, brief glance at the title? By reading the book and telling other people about it, will they appear smarter or more impressive to their peers? For example:
Real Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins
Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters by Meg Meeker
It says what it does.
There is a difference between who the reader becomes and how she gets there. Some titles focus more on the “how” rather than the “why.” (Note that the “how” is still aspirational in most good titles.) For example:
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday