How to Choose an Effective Title for Your Non-Fiction Book

Authors fret about the words they pen between the covers of their book, wanting to make sure they are attract and hold the reader’s attention from beginning to end. That’s important, but many authors don’t know that most important words an author can pen are in the book title. Without a compelling, informative title, you won’t attract readers and nobody will know what a great book you’ve written.
How do you choose a book title that draws people to it and makes them want to buy it? There are several things you need to consider:
• First, it should be short and to the point. There isn’t much room on the cover for long, winding titles, and you want to keep your title short enough that people will remember it easily.
• Second, the title should aptly describe the subject of your non-fiction book and what your message to the reader is. If the title is deceiving, you’ll attract the wrong audience, but if the reader can identify with it immediately, you’ll know that your book is reaching its intended audience.
• Non-fiction books should always have a title and a subtitle. As I stated, a book’s title should be short and memorable, simplifying the process of searching for it or remembering the name when requesting it. The subtitle should elaborate on the title, stating what this book teaches the reader. Consider the book title to be the noun, and the subtitle to be the verb.
For example: Let’s look at the New York Times bestselling book, 3 Cups of Tea. That title can be about a tea detox diet, a travel tour to tea houses in the United Kingdom, or a book about three women who have met weekly for tea over the years. By the title alone, you simply do not know. But it’s the subtitle that really shows the reader what the book is about: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School at a Time. It’s only because of a descriptive subtitle that the reader knows what they will gain from reading the book.
This was our main emphasis when I worked with Dr. Shane Perrault as we brainstormed the name of his wildly popular eBook, Focus, Unlocking the Secret Entrepreneurial Powers of ADHD. The title, “Focus,” is short and easy to remember. It also fits perfectly with the subject matter of the book. The subtitle, however, lets the reader know what the book is really about and that by reading it, what they will learn—in this case, how to unlock the secret entrepreneurial powers of ADHD.
Here’s an easy way to isolate and define a title for your non-fiction book. Ask yourself the following three questions:
1) What question are you answering for your target demographic audience?
2) What pain are you solving? Do you have ADHD, but want to know the power of it? In essence, what solution are you providing your readers?
3) What is your elevator pitch? Your elevator pitch is basically the marriage of your title and subtitle, joined together by the word “teaches” or phrase “teaches how to.” This is imperative for non-fiction books. For instance, let’s take a look at the two books we previously mentioned to show you how the marriage of a title and subtitle works.
Three Cups of Tea teaches One Man’s One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School at a Time
Focus teaches how to Unlocking the Secret Entrepreneurial Powers of ADHD.
It might take a few tries before you find the perfect title for your book, but when you do, not only will it attract the readers who will benefit from your message, but it will also attract more of them. You’ve got a great book—now get to work and give it a great title!

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