The Best Title and Cover for Your Book (Part 1)

The title of a book should appeal to the heart; the subtitle to the head. – Kathi Dunn, Dunn & Associates


The Best Title

If you are going to independently publish your book, you have total control from cover to cover, starting with the cover design and title, to whom writes the blurbs on the back cover (see testimonials and blurbs).

The title has to make the book jump off the shelf at the bookstore, grab attention on a book review site, and tell a story, all in a few words. You might even have a working title you use throughout the writing process, but change to a final title when the book is done.

Today most non-fiction books have a short (3-5 words) main title that describes what your book is about. Then a more explanatory subtitle can be much longer and should focus on your intended market. What will they learn or gain from reading the book? The title needs to contain keywords that people might use to search for information and books on a certain subject. If they can’t find it, in their mind it doesn’t exist (and thus they can’t buy it from you). Before deciding on the title, do a keyword search to give your title an “advantage” with often-searched words and phrases.

Of course, fiction titles are usually less functional than non-fiction, especially trade/business books. Fiction titles grab your attention, intrigue you, and tell you this is going to be fun, or scary, or whatever the focus is.

However, if someone else is publishing your book—putting their money into the project—they control both the title and cover design. Don’t be surprised if the title you have picked is already taken as titles cannot be copyrighted.

Sometimes you’ll see a title that could be, for example, a non-fiction book about plants, but instead is a novel, so the title might be “Daffodils in Spring: A Novel.” Or it might say after title: “A Garden Club Mystery.” Now you know at a glance if it is a novel or mystery, not about planting daffodils. Always make it easy for the buying public to find your book.