Authors: Learn How to Write Awesome Book Titles and Subtitles

There are three top elements of a book that really capture a consumer’s eye.  They are listed here in order:

  • Book Cover Designs
  • Book Titles and Subtitles
  • Back Cover Copy of Book Jackets


In this article, you’ll discover the importance of titling and get some education on writing book titles & subtitles that will capture the consumer’s eye and generate book sales.


A few rules of thumb when creating book titles and subtitles:

  • Shorter book titles are better (7 words or less).  “Less is more” really works here.  Most of the best-selling titles of all times have had short titles.  They are easy to remember, quick to say, and usually pack in a punch.
  • If a title is long, a shorter subtitle is best.  Just the same, if the title is short, a longer subtitle is best.
  • Book titles and subtitles should clearly define for the reader the purpose of the book so the consumer will know what they will get from reading it.
  • When writing fiction, shorter titles are more important than when writing for non-fiction.  Non-fiction sometimes does need a little more description.
  • Most fiction books do not have subtitles.


With that said, let’s look at some book titles and subtitles to analyze why they really zing:

Ann McIndoo wrote a book titled So, You Want to Write!  This is a good, short title, but it doesn’t clearly define the purpose of the book. Nor does it define the specific benefit of the book to the consumer who is trying to decide upon purchasing it or not.


A subtitle’s purpose is to pick up where the title left off. Once we add the subtitle “How to Get Your Book Out of Your Head and Onto Paper in 7 Days or Less,” the message becomes more focused, more clearer, and the audience just became targeted significantly.  The consumer now knows what is being offered to him in this book – and he wants it.


Let’s look at another book title, Secrets of Selling From Real Estate Masters, by Terry Weaver. This title clearly communicates what the book is about and focuses on its intended targeted audience (real estate agents, brokers, or anyone interested in real estate).  But then when we add the subtitle, “What Top Producers Know That Others Don’t,” it becomes even more targeted.  Now the consumer is thinking that he really does want to know what others don’t.


A third example is Learned Leadership by Greg Kozera.  It has a short, snappy title that packs in a punch.  The double L’s roll off of the tongue.  However leadership is a broad subject.  What type of leadership?  From whom?  Here is where the subtitle comes in to do its job.  “Discover 10 Keys to Awakening the Leader Within You,” clearly communicates that it’s about bringing internal leadership skills out of oneself.


Take a gander at the title and subtitle of this article you are reading right now.  If I would have left it at “Authors, Learn How to Write Awesome Book Titles & Subtitles,” you would have known it was about book titles and subtitles, but what about them?  By adding, “Capture Consumer Attention & Generate Book Sales,” I communicated to you that this is about focusing on your target audience through titles and generating book sales.  It got your attention.  That is why you started reading (and are still reading) this article.


At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what title you like.  It only matters what title your consumers like.  Don’t choose a title you like just because you like it.  That’s not smart.  Book titles and subtitles are part of marketing.  I have witnessed too many authors mess up this realm of marketing because they made decisions based on personal preference instead of their targeted audience.


Try coming up with two or three awesome titles and then test them out.  Send out mass emails to colleagues asking for them to advise which title they would be mostly like to buy. You can also test through Google Adwords.  Your target audience will quickly respond and advise you on which title they would mostly likely purchase.

Get advice on how to write a book with a great title and more!

Get Your Personalized Authority Scorecard

Receive a complimentary critique of your business’ marketing and digital performance without having to talk to a human.

Authority Scorecard