FAQs: Titles and Subtitles

If you’re going to have a subtitle, I recommend testing titles and subtitles at the same time. Because most of the time, a title needs a subtitle to really make sense.

Subtitles are more about being really clear/clarifying the title, so they’re a bit easier to come up with and test (and require fewer options). Titles can be more “creative” and varied in your testing.

If you’re using your audience to test titles, I would indeed recommend sharing a brief description of the book so they know where you’re coming from.

Has someone beat you to the punch and already put out a book with the title you had in mind? It’s happened to the best of us! 

You may think it’s okay to use the same title if your book is different — but I would strongly recommend not using a title that someone else is using (or even a slight variation of it).

Even if the concept applies to you and isn’t stealing. It still just isn’t great from a marketing perspective.

Remember: Your title doesn’t need to be exactly what you do or even the most important thing about it. Your title should just catch people’s attention enough so they buy the book (and have a general idea of what it’s about — but not an exact one).

Instead of using that title, I would recommend finding a word/phrase/image that focuses first on what makes your ideas different and stand out.

Even if they aren’t the “meat” of what you teach, focus your title on more of a “hook” than the meat.

Keep coming up with more ideas and remember that it often takes until your book is done to find “the one” title!

When people search for your book, they will find the other book first (since it’s older), and it will have more reviews, (since it’s already been on the market for a while). Nine times out of ten, the person whose search led them to your book will end up buying the more established one over yours. 

The best way to come up with a title is to:

  • come up with at least 50 bad titles throughout the process (often way more)
  • eventually turn that into 5 or so good ones
  • test those!


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