With its increase in popularity, self-publishing a book is quickly becoming the new black. And rightly so, everyone’s doing it and doing it well.

You can outsource writing your book, illustrating your book, and publishing your book. However, in order to retain a sense of ownership, there is one part of your book that you may want to keep all for yourself – its title. In this post, I outline a popular strategy for self-publishers to use in order to come up with a book title that sells.

What’s In A Name?

You know yourself, when you go into a bookstore and browse through the bestseller titles, you scan the front and back covers and then put it down, before picking up the next book. The whole process takes approximately three seconds, plus or minus one second. It’s that quick. And that’s the time it takes for you to make the best impression you can on your potential market.

As a self-publisher you really should have a strong connection to your book title. When determining what to call your new project, consider appealing to your senses – literally to sight, speech and hearing; and figuratively to touch and smell.

Here’s how.

Self-publishing Tip #1 – Sight

It’s obvious, I know, but nonetheless important to note that the first time a new reader is going to notice your book’s title is by seeing it on the front cover. How do you want your title to look?

Colour, word-length, placement and font are all important aspects to ensuring your title is aesthetically appealing. Also consider language that targets your audience. For romantic fiction novels, your title will be alluring and inviting. For research-based non-fiction ebooks, your title will be straight to the point, conclusive and academically-rich.

Self-publishing Tip #2 – Speech

Continuing with the readability of your title, consider that when your reader says your title out loud, you don’t particularly want them to stumble over the words.

As a self-publisher you are responsible for marketing your book and having a title that is difficult to say probably won’t win you any admirers.

Self-publishing Tip #3 – Sound

One of the goals of self-publishing your own book is probably to end up with a bestseller novel that you can be proud of. Well done to you if you do find yourself on the bestseller list, how amazing will that be?! And consider that when this does happen, your title will be heard often. You will want it to be said well and to sound fantastic!

Self-publishing Tip #4 – Touch

Readers won’t literally be touching your title, but consider that “to touch” also means “to relate to” or “to have influence over”. So, figuratively, a best-selling title will use emotive language in order to touch and have influence over your audience.

Self-publishing Tip #5 – Smell

Again, considering the title of your book in terms of its literal smell isn’t the point of this tip. Instead your book title should project a distinctive quality or atmosphere. If the title of the book suggests very little thought, research or intent was considered, then it is likely that your audience may assume the rest of the book is the same.

Otherwise Known As

In conclusion, how you come up with your book title will be a journey unique to yourself as an author. Bearing in mind though, as the saying goes, we usually judge a book by its cover and of course that also means by its title.

What do you think about these famous books and their original titles?:

  • Catch-22 was Catch-18
  • 1984 was The Last Man In Europe
  • Dracula was The Un-Dead
  • Pride & Prejudice was First Impressions
  • Lady Chatterley’s Lover was John Thomas And Lady Jane
  • War And Peace was All’s Well That Ends Well – not, funnily enough what Jerry suggested to Elaine – War, What Is It Good For? Don’t believe everything you hear! (Sorry, couldn’t help myself!)

Some more interesting original titles can be found on BuzzFeed’s list or at The HuffingtonPost.