Choosing a Book Title for a Self-Published Book

You’ve written your book, and it’s ready to self-publish. You probably had a working title as you wrote it, but a book’s published title is always best chosen after it’s written.

It’s not until you’ve finished your book that you can distill its essence into a few keywords.

Your title is important–it’s one of the three key pieces of information that will a) lead your readers to your book and b) determine if they buy it. The other two are your cover and your book blurb.

Read on for some key tips to help you choose a title that packs a punch.

Do Your Book Title Research

Writing an indie book can seem like a never-ending cycle of research, and that doesn’t stop when it’s written. Keywords, titles; they all require a little research to get right, but it’s time well spent.

Take a look at what titles are popular in your genre. What kind of structure do they have? Are they long, short, vague, specific? Can you follow a similar pattern with your own book?

It’s worth separating out any books published from big publishing houses and comparing them to self-published books on the bestseller lists. If there are a lot of differences in structure between the two groups, then follow the trends apparent in the best-selling self-published book titles.

Fiction vs Non-Fiction Self-Published Book Titles

The ‘rules’ for creating a great book title vary a little between fiction and non-fiction books. Fiction titles can be more creative, and they can even foreshadow the key themes of your story.

Non-fiction often does better with a straightforward title. Without a large marketing and PR budget, or a large following, being specific is better than cute or clever. The reader must understand on sight what your non-fiction book is about, or they’re likely to scroll past it.

Even with fiction, however, if you can show the reader ‘what’s in it for them’ all the better. Title, cover and blurb are the triumvirates of bookselling, and all three of these should clearly signal what the reader can expect from your book.

Aim for a concise, informative self-published book title that immediately tells the reader ‘this is what you’re looking for.’

Keywords in Self-Published Book Titles

If you can fit in a keyword or two naturally, then you should definitely do that. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that keyword stuffing your titles is a good idea. The title should be easy and natural to read, but also easy to find in a search.

Let’s say that you’re self-publishing a book on changing your money mindset. You want people to find your book when they search ‘mindset’. If your title is Free Your Inner Earning Power it’s not going to show up as high in search results.

So, even though it’s clearly showing the reader what they will get from your book, it could be better. A title like: Mindset: Free Your Inner Earning Power would be easier for the reader to find.

Translate your book for free. It is easy.

Keep Your Book Title Snappy & Enticing

Short and simple has advantages above and beyond just fitting well on a cover. Shorter book titles can be seen easily in search URLs, won’t look weird on Twitter, and are much easier for readers to remember.

Consider our example of a money mindset book. It’s easy to find, but not very snappy. Considering this, you might change it to: Mindset: Unleash Your Earning Power.

Make Your Self-Published Book Title Easy to Remember

Have you ever been reading a book with a ridiculous title and someone asked ‘what are you reading?’ If your reader finds your title difficult to pronounce, hard to remember, or somehow embarrassing to say then you’re missing out on essential word-of-mouth marketing.

Make your self-published book title as easy to remember as possible. If it’s snappy and enticing, it will often automatically be easy to remember.

If in Doubt, Ask Your Readers

If you have a reader group, or a mailing list (if you don’t then you should start building one ASAP!) then mail them and ask what their preferred title is. Sometimes what you like isn’t the same as what captures the imagination of your readers.

If you don’t have access to ask your readers, or it’s your first self-published book, you could always ask in a reader group on Facebook (check with the admins first). You can, of course, simply ask friends and family too, but the best market research for this will come from readers of the genre.

Translated Self-Published Book Titles

If you’re having your self-published books translated via a service like Babelcube, then it pays to take the time to check if your book title fits with your target countries. There are cultural and contextual references that don’t always translate well–so make sure your translator takes your title into consideration.

Your Babelcube translator should be able to offer you suggestions if your title doesn’t carry across to a different language well.

Self-Published Book Title Checklist

Does your title meet all the following? If it does, you’re ready to self-publish your book!

  • Snappy & Enticing
  • Easy to Remember
  • Concise & Informative
  • Not Embarrassing to Say
  • Aligned with Your Genre

Publish your book in another language for free

Babelcube offers authors and publishers the opportunity to sell their books in additional languages with a simple process and no upfront cost or financial risk.

Most books are only in one language due to the upfront cost of translation, struggles to find a translator, and complexities of working with retailers in different countries. Babelcube removes these barriers. Translators are paid via a share of royalties—creating a true partnership.

Babelcube is the easiest way to translate and sell a book in multiple languages. Book publishers and self-published authors team up with translators. The translated books are sold through 100s of retailers.

Check it out at Babelcube.



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