How to Come Up With That Bestselling Book Title

I’m sure this has been an issue for every writer at some point. 
You have poured your creative juices into a work you are proud of and depending on what stage of writing you are at, it is always at the back of your mind: WHAT DO I CALL THIS BOOK?

It seems like such a simple task to do, but how do you exactly pick the one title that will complement your book perfectly?

As someone writing their first novel, I have no bloody idea! 

I get mixed opinions on the importance of the book title. For those ‘don’t judge book by its cover’ believers, they say that there have been plenty of ‘crappy’ book titles that were bestsellers, whereas there are the ‘definitely judge a book by its cover’ crowd that think the title can make or break.

From scouring on the internet here are some tips I have picked up (thanks to Karen Woodward for her very helpful article!) 
1. Indicates the Genre

This should be a no brainer, but it can be difficult to do this. My novel is about two sisters, more of a chick lit style book but am I just going to call it ‘Sister to Sister’? No, the title should indicate what genre without being too obvious.

2. Memorable

Probably the hardest criteria to meet, how exactly do you think of a title that is memorable? As difficult as this may be, this is something you need to think about, having a title that will stick in their head as they peruse through the bookshop or online and go ”oooooh’ that looks interesting!”

Help readers out, make the title of your work memorable. Yes, I know, that’s easier said than done but there are a few simple tips.


I’m not an expert on what makes a good title, but I personally like short titles as it does make it easier to memorise, 5 words or less is a good starting point. 


Try giving a poetic edge, sometimes a figurative phrase can sum up your book purpose perfectly. 

Maryann Yin gives these titles as examples: When Crickets Cry and Wildflowers from Winter.

3. Use the Characters

Is your book more focused on character development? Perhaps the title can describe a facet of them that drives the plot of the story. In a way, many of the same things that can be said about what makes a character interesting can also be said about titles. Or you could just simply name the book after them, if the story is really about them and their development.

Contradictory qualities

Indiana Jones was a fearless adventurer, but he has an irrational fear of snakes. He’ll face a wave of enemy soldiers without blinking but get near a snake?

4. Descriptive

If you could make the descriptive title imply an action so much the better. Of course, again, that’s much easier said than done. For example:

– Gone with the wind

– The Silence of the Lambs

– Fahrenheit 451
-The DaVinci Code

What do these book titles have in common? They all are used in the book, whether directly or indirectly but they all represent a key plot device. This can be a very interesting way to allude the reader back to the title and gives the title a sense of legitimacy and realism.

5 Tips For Brainstorming The Perfect Title

I love K.M. Welland’s blog, she gives practical advice I frequently find myself using when I write. For example, in how to brainstorm titles. She writes:

i. Research titles in your genre.

Zoom by Amazon and take a look at your genre’s bestseller list. What do the top twenty titles have in common? Write down the ones that particularly pop out at you and note the elements that make them attractive. How can you replicate their effect?

ii. Consider your book’s text.

Your title makes a promise to readers about what they will find inside the book. So why not look inside the book itself to find the title? Are there any lines that pop off the page? Any particularly memorable or unique phrases? What one line in the book best sums up the theme, premise, or protagonist?

iii. Look up words in the dictionary.

Grab your dictionary and flip it open to a random page. Do any words pop out? Make a list.

iv. Analyze songs/poems/books.

One of my favorite techniques is to pull vivid imagery from songs, poems, and old books (the King James translation of the Bible is particularly full of strong and unique words). Make a list of the best phrases and start playing with them. A little clever wordplay can go a long way toward making your title stand out.

v. Free write.

Scribble down every title, word, or combination of words you can think of. I often cover pages in my notebook with various title ideas. Most are dumb, but there’s always one that finally pops out as the perfect representation of the book.

5 Online Tools

If all these tips do not help, the internet is your friend. You can use various online book title generators to get some inspiration but it really helps to have a draft list of titles at hand for you to get an idea of what title you want.

For any non-fiction writers I came across this fantastic tool which analyses the likely chance your book title is a bestseller, I can’t speak for its effectiveness but it certainly has been helpful for me when it came to naming my non-fiction books. The tool is called Lulu Titlescorer and you can use it free, anytime of day 🙂

Do you have any tips for how to generate a book title? I would love to see what you came up with 🙂

As A Up and Coming Author, Who Can You Trust?

This is something that has been at the forefront of my mind, as I am trying to learn the ropes of what it takes to be a self-published author. Unfortunately there are so many charlatans and scam artists just waiting to ambush the unsuspecting author. How can a novice writer protect themselves?

Anyone can call themselves a publisher. Always remember money flows towards the author from the publisher, not the other way round. Vanity publishers are the worst in my opinion, and from personal experience I know people who were very close to, but luckily got out of, being deceived by their so called promises to help them break the big time.

After doing my own personal research, these were some basic tried and true methods.

What to look out for:

Directs authors toward specific editing services or gives authors’ names to these services, with the caveat that if the author hires the editing service, their book will be published. Every book needs editing. It is part of the publisher’s job to provide that editing at no cost.

Offers a contract where the author has to pay for part of the publishing costs. The acquisition editor will sometimes say that the publisher’s list is full for that season, but the author’s book has so much going for it, they would still like to publish it. However the publisher’s resources are fully committed and the author will have to share in the costs.

Some publishers offer contracts that are unfair, such as they obtain rights that should remain with the author of the work.

Some publishers’ contracts contain a clause that if the author says anything negative about the publisher, there is a monetary fine.

There are also publishers who hold the rights for a lengthy time period, regardless of whether the book is still in print or selling.

The publisher doesn’t disclose they are a Publish on Demand (POD), or vanity/subsidy publisher. There is nothing wrong with an author using a subsidy/vanity publishing company as long as the author is well aware of the disadvantages. Publish on Demand books are not, as a rule, stocked by bookstores.

Some POD publishers will insist that their books are available in book stores, as a way to get around this issue. Available is not the same thing as stocked. Available only means the book can be ordered through the bookstore. Since the majority of books sold, are stocked and sold by bookstores, this situation puts a damper on sales.

What else can a writer do to check if a publisher is legitimate?

Go to the local bookstore and see if any of the publisher’s titles are stocked. Ask the manager if necessary.

Search the Internet using the publisher’s name plus the word ‘scam’ or ‘complaint.’

A publisher’s website is targeted to its customers. If the website promotes the books they’ve published that’s a good sign.

If the website is focused on recruiting writers, that’s a bad sign.

Go to forums or bulletin boards that are for writers and see what the authors who have published with the publisher you’re considering have to say about their experience.

Charges the author a fee up front, to have their book accepted, considered or read. These fees are sometimes called a reading fee, intake fee or administrative fee.

Content from this article has been Copied with permission

Do you agree with this article? Or do you have a personal experience you can relate?

Update: Natural Remedy Book Almost Done!

I am pleased to announce that I am in the final stages of completing my self-help book about natural remedies, with the current working title Beautiful Inside and Out: 7 Natural Remedies You Should Try Everyday.
The title Inside and Out refers to the fact that I have done tips for your inner well being (Inside) and tips for your outer well being, so anything to make you look better (Outside)!
As I have mentioned on my Books page this has been something I have been working on for the last 2 years, it is something that is really close to my heart, and as corny as this may sound I genuinely want these tips to help you out.
A big reason why I wanted to write this book was the lack of decent evidence backing up the usefulness of the remedies themselves: all the articles I had read would just claim that the ingredient in person was fantastic and had multiple uses, but I would often try and be disappointed with the results. Of course experimentation was half the fun, but I wanted to research for myself what was proven to work, so if I was to recommend anything, I would have something to back up what I said.
And I think that is what makes my book stand out: it is the fruit of my labour and I have carefully picked what I think will prove of some benefit to you in one way or another.
I will post more details about the book when it close to ready with giveaway offers of course J
But I would like to know what you would like to see in the book, please post your comments below!

If you want to read more about the natural remedies book please visit my sister site 🙂

How to Remain Motivated-When There is Nothing to Motivate You

This is something that has been particularly relevant for me, having just come back from holiday!
How do you maintain and muster the desire to keep going, even when there is no reward or end in sight? I could very well be writing for myself for the rest of myself and not sell one copy, so why am I bothering to keep writing?
That is a million dollar question and honestly I don’t have the answer for you but after having read several bits of advice online all I can say is this:
If you are only doing something for monetary gain, then you don’t really love it at all.
No, I’m not saying you should just drop your job because you don’t love it, but let’s be honest there is a fine line between doing something you could do all day long and not get paid, and doing something you are good at, can do for a long time, and get paid for. Do you know where I am going with this?
It is hard to find a balance, especially with the current economy. We need money to enjoy a decent lifestyle, and I will be upfront and honest and say that I would rather do a job that I don’t LOVE, but can tolerate so I can pay the bills, rather than risk it all for something I’m not sure will work out.
So what I am trying to say is: if you have a job that pays the bills, STICK TO IT. But, if there is something you enjoy doing, keep doing it when you can! Unless you win the lotto tomorrow, unfortunately you have to suck it up and stick to your day job whilst you work on what you enjoy doing on the side.
Honestly, I enjoy writing but I don’t know if it is at a level where it could sell copies. I am just enjoying it as a hobby at the moment and having no time frame has kept me enjoying it. So my advice to myself, and hopefully this helps you too: I have found that having a job that I know I want to leave one day is what is keeping me motivated. Sure it isn’t making me want to write 100 pages a day but it keeps my goals in check. Also, I have learnt to enjoy and appreciate my job as opposed to just hating it and wanting to leave because I have to be honest with myself. I will be working for a long time so I might as well enjoy it. Having a job has allowed me to enjoy weekends and go on holidays etc., and there is still plenty of time after work and on weekends for me to write.
Whilst I have my days (or weeks depending on the workload) where I would much rather stay at home and write to my heart’s content rather than drag my sorry ass to work and do mind-numbing tasks (is it just me but is all I do in my job consist of having to read, reply to and send emails?). But that is life and instead of being negative about it, I have learnt to (or am learning to) get over it and become more efficient with my time.
I like that I have the luxury of having lazy days and still getting paid, instead of having to stress out and work much longer hours to pay the bills. I like being able to have those days where I don’t feel the need to write and can take a break from it when I need to. I have had plenty of times where I suffer writer’s block or lack a creative punch and I can rest assured that I don’t need to write to a time frame.
So all in all, what I’m trying to say is in order for you to stay motivated, you need to remind yourself of what you have already and use that as your inspiration. For me, it’s having a full time job and the dream of not needing to rely on it anymore. For others it could be their children, wanting to provide them a better life, or wanting to provide for their family more. Find a reason, but at the same time stick to whatever means you have of producing a solid and consistent income. There will be days where you will be more than thankful, and you will be glad you have it as a windfall.
My final thoughts are (at least for someone in my situation): don’t think of your job as an impediment to your dreams but more of a catalyst to enable what you want to do more efficiently. Because even though I have faced this ‘dilemma’ several times, I know myself. If I was to quit my job, even though I would be happy to have more free time I wouldn’t be any more productive. Instead I would just sleep in, write a few hours a day and spend the rest of it being a couch potato and eating more. I would be so happy with all the extra free time that it would feel like a permanent vacation.
This image below helps me put everything into perspective lol
So when you go to bed tonight, don’t look at going to work like it’s the worst thing in the world, instead be grateful to have a good income, and use it to motivate you to work harder when you get home! I’m not trying to be obnoxious here and tell you to love your job – because I certainly don’t – but I have learnt to enjoy it as much as I can, and I am so thankful that I have an avenue that allows me to write in my free time 🙂
What motivates you? Do you agree or disagree with my post?
Post your comments below!

How to Start Building Your Author Brand-Starting From The Bottom

This is something that I am learning as I go along but if you are like me, and just love writing, does the thought of actually promoting yourself scare you?

It certainly scares me-yes I am using present tense because it is something that does make me nervous.
I used to make so many excuses for myself:
-I will eventually sell lots of books, just need to worry about writing a good story first
-The sales will follow, and I won’t need to promote myself: if the story is good, people will jump on it and word of mouth is all I need
-I’m too busy to learn about how to promote and market myself-I have a book to write!
I had to go back to reality and tell myself that if I want to go down the self-publishing route, I have to start promoting myself RIGHT NOW.
But where do I start? As someone completely new to internet marketing and what not, how do you go about promoting yourself? I always hear that with the advent of social media, people are becoming narcissistic and that all they do is take photos of themselves etc., and that’s why they would never use social media etc.
But guess what, for us wanna-be self-published authors we have to get over that mentality, in fact we need to embrace the need for self-promotion.
No you don’t have to take a photo of what you eat every day, no you don’t need to take a photo of yourself in a bikini (as if I would!)
I’m sure that at one point or another, you may have Googled for help on how to promote your books, how to sell more books and Google being Google, there are thousands, if not millions of articles out there.
That’s what I thought when I wanted to first start researching, and I was more than overwhelmed when I started reading them.
‘You need to start a blog, and create a mailing list’
‘You need to actively promote yourself on social media-Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc’
‘You need to customise your website and update with content consistently’
I got so confused that I almost wanted to STOP writing altogether, I’m serious!
I didn’t know where to start, which was the best way to go in terms of getting my name out there, it seemed like I had to do about 10 things at a time to promote myself. And obviously different things work for different people so I read a lot of contrasting advice:
-You need to start blogging and promote yourself to promote the launch of your debut novel.
As opposed to
-You need to have written several books BEFORE you start promoting your novel.
And what about someone with various book projects, in different genres and facets like myself? In one of my previous posts I shared the most insightful advice from Kim @ Your Writer Platform, about how to structure your website/blog and how to plan how to publish your content. If you are in that category of not knowing needing some guidance on that first step please check that link out.
But this post is for those that are starting out, that have felt a bit overwhelmed with all the ‘things and stuff’ you need to do to be a credible author.
I have copied in the most simple and profound advice from a best-selling author Tom Carson-Knowles who simplified it for me, giving me the clarity I needed:
This was my question:

Hi Tom,
Firstly I just want to say thanks for putting out great content, I am really glad I came across your course!

I am currently in the midst of writing several books in different genres: one novel, one self help book about networking, and one on natural remedies.
I am quite lost on how to get started as these books are all quite different, I thought the best way to promote them whilst creating a following was to create a website/blog dedicated to my journey as a self-published author, and feature all the books there.
Do you think that is a good idea or do I need to do something more specific?

His response, although it was short, was to the point and exactly the guidance I needed.

His response:

I’m all about simplicity, so I’d rather have one website and one blog and one Facebook page, etc. to promote all my work on. It takes A LOT less time to manage one website vs. 3 or more for each market you write for. And as they say, time is money 🙂 When you’re just starting out, the key is just to get started. Whatever mistakes you make, you can correct along the way. That’s just my personal preference – there’s no right or wrong way to do it. Hope that helps!
His advice really gave me clarity and direction, and I have kept his response in a little journal for me to refer to whenever I am lost. There is no right time to start doing anything, you just have to start now and work with it, because the sooner you start the sooner you will start learning how to improve.
As a result I have decided to join Twitter: I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, and I’m still getting acquainted with it as I write this post-I mean what is the point of hashtags?
But you know what, only 2 weeks in and I have a 100 followers, all within my target market: aspiring authors, publishers, support groups and such. I even got a few bestselling authors to start following me! My point is, if I had started being active at the beginning of the year who knows how many more followers I could have gotten by now, and I would have a much better leverage to start promoting my book? (FYI I am no expert on Twitter and I am a complete noob, but if I get better at it I will share any insights I learn!)
Now that I have thrown myself into using Twitter, I feel more confident about updating this blog, because I am getting more traffic as a result from using Twitter, I don’t feel as nervous or as scared anymore. I try and take little ‘wins’ as something to be excited and proud of!
What are your thoughts, do you agree?

Lastly, follow me on Twitter @ MaggieintheWay lol :p (thought I would throw that one in there haha)

Happy writing everyone!