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How to come up with the perfect title for your next novel

28 August 2018

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For some authors, this is the hardest part of the writing process.

What to call the book?

Sometimes, a title will arrive in a flash of inspiration, during a chat with a friend or in the dead of night. Often, a working title is elevated to the status of ‘proper’ title.

However, more often than not, a title just won’t emerge for what seems like weeks.

Thankfully, there are a few ways you can speed up the process of picking the best title for your next book, and we think the following tips will remove any instance of writer’s block you might be experiencing during this crucial stage.

Write down five titles

Whatever you do, try and avoid working on just one title. In doing so, you’ll soon fail to see the wood for the trees, and it’ll be worked, re-worked and battered into something that is a million miles from what you’d originally intended.

To avoid this, come up with five rough titles to start with. Think about what the book is about and how the title can pre-empt the narrative, theme or huge plot twist. Titles that ask a question are often a great option, too.

Keep these five titles close by for a few days. After a while, one will start to emerge as the clear winner.

Remember the attributes of a great title

Every great book title has the following in common:

  • Memorable in just two or three words
  • Attention-grabbing to the point of making people want to pick it up
  • No tongue-twists
  • Informative, and delivering on the promise of the novel
  • Shareable (i.e. not embarrassing or problematic for people to pass onto their friends)

Write the above down on a white board or Post-It note, and you can’t go wrong.

Look at the competition

There’s no such thing as a unique book title; most titles have already been used, even if they’re simply constructed in a slightly different way.

With that in mind, take a look at some of your direct competition and get a feel for the titles that appear to have garnered the best sales or highest chart positions.

Take inspiration from your competition, but also look for opportunities to capitalise on a title they simply haven’t quite got right.

Ask people for feedback

Once you’ve settled on one of those five blog titles, it’s time to get some feedback, because another set of eyes is vital in making sure you’re not choosing a title that is ultimately flawed.

You’re always too close to your own work, so invite a couple of friends, family members and colleagues to give their feedback on your chosen title. Just make sure you pick people who you know will be honest!

That’s it!

Picking the title for your next novel should be much easier with the tips above in hand, but remember the most important one of the lot - don’t rush it! A title should arrive organically and without any form of encouragement.

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