Your book’s title is the first thing people will notice about your book. It’s how people will recommend your book and refer to your book. It’s an important marketing choice. A great title doesn’t guarantee success, but a poor one will inhibit it.
Here are some guidelines for non-fiction book titles.
Include a solution to the reader’s problem
A good non-fiction book title will make the promise of a benefit or offer a solution to a problem. It’s often said that a successful non-fiction book will reference a specific pain point; even better if it includes the solution. For instance, Better Time Management for Better Productivity. Dry as a bone, but clear. How to Win Friends and Influence People—was there ever a more prosaic title?
Use a subtitle for precision
While shorter is generally better, a sub-title provides additional information for the reader to select your book over another in the same category. Suze Orman is a book writing machine! Her specialty? money management—her books? each with a specific pain point: 9 Steps to Financial Freedom; Ask Suze, Financial Library; The Money Book for the Young and Fabulously Broke; You’ve Earned it, Don’t Lose it; The Road to Wealth; Women & Money – Owning the Power to Control Your Destiny.
As most of us find books online rather than in a bookstore, a searchable title is also practical. Keywords (in your category) are important, but you don’t want your title to sound like a search string query.
Your title needs to be unique, but keep in mind that in a nonfiction niche, there are going to be words that recur. For example, most books that focus on time management will have the word “time” in the title.
Metaphors make powerful titles. Just think of the success of Chicken Soup for the Soul. Alliteration can make a title memorable also, but avoid tongue-twisters. They make it harder for people to talk about your book and you want them to share the title. Also, avoid words that may be considered inappropriate, unless that’s who your market is.
You’ll want to use words your target market knows and that can include subject jargon. New or popular words may seem a good choice, but if the word falls out of fashion, your book can look old—and fast.
Sure, you can ask your friends and family, but keep in mind, if they are not your ideal reader, their opinions may not be helpful.
Join the MakeBook newsletter for tips & advice on writing, marketing, and publishing your book.