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The Career Author Podcast: Episode 91 – How to Choose a Title For Your Novel

Choosing a title for your novel can be incredibly difficult. Although we want our book titles to be unique and clever, this isn’t necessarily the best way to sell books. The title of your book shouldn’t be an afterthought. It’s one of the most important aspects of your book if you want to sell copies to the right readers. Today, we’ll talk about what makes a good title, what you should avoid, and offer some tips on how to get there.

The Career Author Podcast is a podcast where co-authors J. Thorn and Zach Bohannon share their struggles and successes as full-time authors, advice for improving your writing craft, and honest discussions of what it takes to build a successful career as an author.

In this episode, you’ll discover:

  • That your title should say what your story is about, but also needs to sell your book.
  • That your title shouldn’t be vague and/or artistic.
  • That your title should indicate genre.
  • How to make your title recognizable and unique using Google word cloud searches and Publisher Rocket.
  • How less can be more when it comes to titles.
  • Why word choice matters and how those words can convey genre and tone.
  • The way you can create double-meaning on theme.
  • Why your cover, title, and synopsis are so critical to selling books.

Also, discover why Zach and J. think Ryan Holiday’s book is a must-read.

Send us your ways and hacks – https://thecareerauthor.com/waysandhacks/ 

How do you come up with your titles? Comment at thecareerauthor.com.

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Podcast sponsored by Kobo Writing Life – https://writinglife.kobobooks.com 

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8 thoughts on “The Career Author Podcast: Episode 91 – How to Choose a Title For Your Novel

  • Morning guys. Good to see you together.
    Interesting topic today. I have some great news. I did some research. Warning maths ahead!
    Apparently somewhere near 250 million different books have been published at around 2 million a year recently, of which approximately 10% are fiction (this 10% may only be a recent %). The OED has around 60 million words. Assuming an average of 3 words per title, that gives potentially 216 thousand billion billion independent titles (60 million to the power of 3).
    The great news is: that given that around 25 million (possibly more, so 100 million) different fiction books have been published, we are never ever going to run out of potential fiction titles. Feel free to correct my maths if you think I’ve made errors.
    Nerdy bit aside. Good advice to search for titles first and for using word clouds. Agree the titles need to be meaningful.
    What would your advice be to an author who titled their 3 recent military scifi books based on the colour of the book covers? 🙂 Is there no hope for me?
    Great show again.

  • I was a culprit of using the hidden meaning title for my first few books and I’ve regretted it. I thought about changing them, but the effort to take them down and republish them with new titles sounds like a lot of work.

    I’ve moved away from that approach with my more recent books and now I have a more direct approach. Usually my main criteria is that it’s short and snappy. I want it to feel natural to say, while also conveying the genre.

    And taking your advice from this episode, without a synopsis, what would you guess a book titled Serial Cortex is about?

  • You didn’t talk about patterns when naming a series. For my crime series each title has a color in it, and is only two words. This kind of thing has worked well for Patterson, Walter Mosley, and of course Sue Grafton with her Abc mysteries.

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