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Tips for Writing a Non-Fiction Book Title that Sells

Nothing can beat the joy of watching years of passion and toil finally manifest as a complete book.

However, what if I told you that most readers judge a book by its cover? And won’t even open it if the title puts them off?

The good news is that you are in complete control. Getting the book title formula right can significantly improve the value of your book.

Here’s our short guide to writing a book title that sells.

1. Know your Audience

Whom have you written your book for? Is it for the ordinary Joe or the Elon Musks of the world? They aren’t the same. Your title appeal depends on your audience type.

What kind of language attracts the people most likely to really love your book? Would a nuanced, literary title work best for your book, or something more straight-forward?

There’s a reason books such as I will teach you to be Rich by Ramit Sethi and The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris catch so much attention. The content matters, but the bold, clear titles draw immediate attention and clearly communicate the value of the book to potential readers.

2. Brainstorm Book Titles

Now that you know your audience, don your detective hat and dive into a brainstorming session.

Take notes on the number of words, the style and tone of the best-selling book titles under your genre. This is similar to revisiting your best work or your favorite writing pieces for inspiration. Hop on Amazon and take a look at the best sellers in the category where your book will be placed. Spot any trends?

3. Evoke Curiosity

Readers are inherently curious. Adding an element of curiosity to your title is a great way to awaken the curious mind of your readers. I mean, when Richard Branson said Screw Business as Usual, and Charles Duhigg said The Power of Habit on their cover page, readers could hardly resist.

The key is to tease the readers. Put what’s inside on the cover, but bury the secret sauce inside the book.

4. Be Specific

Though it may seem counter-intuitive, the more specific your title, the more readers it will attract. Books such as How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, The Five Love Languages, and How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk illustrate this well.

Take a leaf out of these best sellers and let your readers know what to expect in your book.


Shafeeka Hafeez

A writer and aspiring marketer whose passion lies between the words she writes.

LinkedIn • Medium

October 10, 2020

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