The Perfect Book Title: How to Make It?


Why are some books constantly spoken about while others stay unknown? It is often the book title, which, like the book cover, is an important marketing element.

A good book title can make you a famous writer, while a bad one will make your novel invisible to everyone. Today we will tell you how to create an eye-catching book title.

What does a perfect book title look like?

It is not so easy to come up with a book title. After all, one word or phrase should reflect the meaning of hundreds of pages. And this is a very responsible job. However, there are some general features of a good name. Let’s find them out:

  • A good title is easy to remember. It can consist of simple and rhythmic words that fit each other. By creating such a title, you can be sure that no one will confuse your book with another when giving a recommendation.
  • It hints at the story plot. The title should give a general idea of your story.
  • A perfect title communicates the genre. The reader immediately understands that a romantic story or science fiction is in front of them. You shouldn’t name your thriller like an epic fantasy, as it may confuse the audience.

Some books may have subtitles. Usually, these are longer phrases that supplement the main title and explain in more detail what the book is about. It could also be a series title.

What are the most popular book titles?

After looking at hundreds of bestselling titles, we can sort them into groups based on certain similarities.

  • Character names. Many books contain the main character’s name in the first part of the title. The second part includes an obstacle or an adventure that awaits the hero. This type of character title is typical of fantasy books, notably series.

Examples: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie

  • Settings. Sometimes the title of a book reflects a place, direction, or historical event that is key to the book. This type allows the reader to partially visualize the story without immersing himself in the plot.

Examples: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

  • Literary quotes. Some titles are catchphrases or quotes from other literary works.

Examples: All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville-West (taken from Samson Agonistes by John Milton), An Instant in the Wind by André Brink (taken from The Broken Tower by Hart Crane), As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner (taken from The Odyssey by Homer)

  • Symbol. The title of the book can have a symbolic meaning that, at first glance, has nothing to do with the plot. The deep meaning is revealed already after reading. However, such titles attract readers with their mystery or melodiousness.

Examples: The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham, The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather, Lord of the Flies by William Golding

  • One word. Sometimes, the title is just one word that can reflect the whole essence of the book. Often such names are symbolic at the same time.

Examples: It by Stephen King, Caraval by Stephanie Garber, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.

Fiction vs. Non-fiction book titles

It should be noted separately about non-fiction books. These books should clearly explain what they are about in their titles. Indeed, you can use a symbolic title, but add a subtitle that tells more. Let’s see some examples of non-fiction titles:

  • We Are What We Eat: A Slow Food Manifesto by Alice Waters
  • Brainscapes: The Warped, Wondrous Maps Written in Your Brain–And How They Guide You by Rebecca Schwarzlose
  • The Hero’s Way: Walking with Garibaldi from Rome to Ravenna by Tim Parks  

Unlike the audience of fiction, non-fiction readers are not looking for something for the soul. They are looking for a book to solve a particular question and to gain specific knowledge. Don’t make them hesitate to buy your book when they’re standing at the bookstore shelf.

How to come up with a perfect book title?

1. Analyze competitors 

Go to Amazon and find best sellers in your genre. Check out their titles and see what they have in common. Sometimes you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Instead, use what already works.

2. Make a summary of your book 

In particular, write what your book is about and its central idea and purpose. Remember the main characters and key events of the story. Your book may involve some objects without which the plot falls apart. Such things matters for creating a perfect title.

3. Brainstorm 

Write down all the possible titles of your book on a separate sheet or Google document. Experiment with different types of names.

4. Try book title generators

If you run out of ideas, use online generators. They are free; some of them allow you to include desired words in the result and generate titles according to the genre. Here is the list:

5. Test your title

Choose the five best from all generated ideas and present them to your friends or beta readers. Let them express their opinion regarding what name is the most catchy and suitable.

How to make sure your book title fits?

Here’s a little cheat sheet to help make sure you make the right choice. Answer the following questions:

  1. Is my book title easy to remember?
  2. Is it melodic and harmonious?
  3. Is it clear what genre it is?
  4. Does my title reflect the main idea of the book?
  5. Is it unique?

However, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Even if your book does not become a bestseller and you are sure the reason is in the title, you can change it and republish it.


Choosing a good book title is difficult but possible. It all starts with research, which then turns into brainstorming ideas. Coming up with a name is often an exciting and fun activity. You can involve friends and online generators.

Remember that the final title should be easy to remember, reflect the genre and hint at the events in the plot.

How do you come up with titles for your stories? Share your experience in the comments.

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