How to Write Good Book Titles Checklist | Write Brilliant
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How to Write Good Book Titles Checklist

by Margaret Feinberg

Your title will make or break you as a writer.

If you’ve crafted killer content, but a ho-hum title, few people will read your brilliant words. That’s why at the Write Brilliant Academy, we’re committed to help you create titles that make people want to click, buy, and read what your words.

Here’s a Tantalizing Title Checklist to help your words change the world:

1. Hit your audience’s felt need.

You have a milli-second to convince someone to click your post or reach for you book. Make sure your title creates a sense of drop-everything-now-and-read-this. Create a concrete promise that will make your readers’ lives better.

2. Make sure it’s all about the audience.

Since you’re drawing on your ideas, your research, your discoveries, it’s far too easy to make your title about you. “Five Lessons I Learned” or “My Discovery of…” Before you finalize your title, consider removing every “me,” “my,” and “I.” Serve your audience. Lean toward words like “you” and “your.” Do you want to read My Best Life Now or discover how to live Your Best Life Now? Do you want to read My Story of Illness or How You Can Heal Your Body and Mind Forever?

3. Make every word count.

When you’re publishing online, search engine optimization tends to favor shorter titles with the first words weighted. If you have a 15-word title, you’ll lose your audience’s attention fast. On a book cover, a wordy title can cause people to resist buying the project altogether. (Of course, exceptions exist).

4. Skip the gerunds.

A gerund is derived from a verb that functions as a noun and often ends in –ing. These tend to leave to passive calls to action. I penned the book, Fight Back With Joy. I could have titled the book Fighting Back With Joy, but that’s more of a suggestion rather than a sharp call to action. Review your title and subtitle for any gerunds and rework to more specific calls to action.

5. Google your title.

Is your book title already taken? Does your blog title touch on a popular topic? By reviewing others’ titles which are similar (or the same) as yours, you can sharpen your language and approach.

6. Hold your title as a placeholder.

Titles shift and change, grow and morph. I wrote a book called The Sacred Echo which was originally titled The Scandalous Question and Fight Back With Joy was once titled The Joy Experiment. When crafting a book title, hold your words with an open hand. The title may need shift as your content or marketing plan develops. For your online content, revisit underperforming blogs and update with punchier titles to drive more traffic.

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