Your book title should be a promise you keep

Jun 28, 2023 | Writing A Book

If you’re writing a business book, your title is important. The mysterious “they” say that a good title can make your book a success and the wrong title can dampen sales dramatically. Amazon allows up to 200 characters for a title and subtitle. The success of your book depends, in part, on those characters.

There are folks who claim they can divine the best title for your book. I’m not one of those people. I’m just a humble preacher’s boy. I start with three simple beliefs.

The title should give people a reason to buy your book.

The title should be simple. No one should have to furrow their brow and think hard to figure out what it means.

Nobody knows anything. That’s the verdict of William Goldman in his book, Adventures in the Screen Trade. Goldman was talking about movies but what he said is true for titles as well. Nobody knows in advance what’s going to work. The best we can do is make an educated guess.

Here’s my best advice about how to make your title work for the reader and for you.

Who is this book for?

Tell prospective readers your book is for them. Mention their industry or profession or situation in the title. If your book will help people with a particular problem, like burnout, say that in your title.

What’s in it for the reader?

People want magic. Tell them the kind of magic your book will do. Tell them how their life will be different after they read the book. Tell them in the title.

Check the title as you write.

A good title isn’t just for people who may buy the book. It’s also for you, the author. Keep your title firmly in mind as you write. Check what you write against the promise of the title. If you find that you’re writing a book that doesn’t keep the promise, change what you’re writing or change the title.


The title should give people a reason to buy your book.

The title should be simple.

Nobody knows in advance which titles will work. An educated guess is the best you can hope for.

Your title should tell prospective readers that your book is for them.

Your title should promise how a reader’s life will be different after they read your book.

Your title should guide your writing and help you stay on track.

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