Fridaywritingtips: A Great Title Can Sell Your Book, Find Out How

Silence of the Lambs, Who Moved My Cheese? What Color Is Your Parachute? Women Are from Venus, Men are from Mars.  As an agent for over 20 years, Arielle saw time and again how a great title alone can sell a book to a major publisher, a bookseller, and of course to a reader.  One of the books on that list of titles above is quite frankly not a very good book. And yet, it sold millions and millions and millions of copies.  A great title has to be poetic and informative, familiar yet unique, attention grabbing but not offputting.  And of course it has to display accurately what your book is, while the same time compelling a reader with a force they can’t control to read your book.  Road test your title.  Test market it.  Run it up the flagpole and see if the money salutes. If you’re having trouble coming up with the right title, we have a great parlor game that always works.  It helps if you add alcohol to the mix, but it’s not necessary.  Hopefully you have some smart, literate, fun, quick witted, and articulate friends.  If you do, invite those people over to your house for a party.  If you don’t, try to get some new friends, but until you do, invite the ones you have.  Get a large chalkboard or dry erase board.  Start writing down every single word you can think of that relates to your book.  Plot, characters, themes, little phrases.  Write down as many different iterations of words as you can.  Brave, bravery, bravest, braving, bravosity, bravitude, bravitude.  Then start mixing and matching, and having people brainstorm.  It’s great fun, and it always works.

Also, in this new electronic era, when one of the best ways to get a book deal is to create a successful blog, it’s important to make sure that your title is BSF (Book-Store-Friendly) especially when you are moving from blog to book.

“If you’d like to go from blog to book, make sure you have a name that’s bookstore-friendly. Matthew Gasteier’s blog enjoyed so much success that it was snapped up by a division of Random House. But he ended up having to change the title of his book to FU Penguin (and F*** You Penguin for the British edition) because some bookstores won’t carry books with curses on the cover. Bummer”

Want to learn more? Find this and other helpful tips in “The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published” by Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry. Buy a copy of the book at your local bookstore or from: & get a FREE 20 minute consultation with The Book Doctors (with proof of purchase)


Happy writing! See you at the bookstore.  The Book Doctors