I can’t remember exactly when I asked my Mom about Baby names. You probably want to know how this relates to book titles, chill!

I asked once about naming babies after 8 days. I have always seen in movies how couples would pick potential names for their boy or girl. There’s so much excitement when the baby is still incubating in mummy’s tummy. Then we finally have the baby and we must wait 8 days to give the child a name.

The explanation I got was pretty simple. No one knows if a baby will survive. It’s assumed that after 8 days, the child is going to live so they can now be named. Especially for the mother’s sake. Losing a child is difficult but what’s more difficult is when you’ve named that child and then you lose it.

Names are special.

Giving your book a title is just like a naming ceremony. It’s like imprinting your soul on the baby. At that point when you give your book a title, you have personalized the relationship. There’s no going back.

You can dump an untitled manuscript. A titled book however, has come to stay. That book is forever going to be associated with your name, for as long as it exists. If you end up writing a bestseller, imagine how many years of your life, you would have to live with that book title hanging over your head. Don’t choose a title you don’t love!

Now that we have established how important your book title is, do you think it’s easy to come up with a title?

I struggled with my book titles. Sometimes I am still tempted to change the titles. For example:

  1. I wrote “Write Heart” and it was inspired by the words; write, heart, art. It has been my best seller. Close to 100, 000 naira worth of sales now. 
  2. Grey Wine is my first Novella title. The title affected a lot of the chapters in ways I couldn’t envisage.
  3. Discover Stories eventually became Discover Storytelling. 
  4. Zarfi was my toughest title and I sometimes think it could have performed better with a different title.

There are metrics to consider in titling your book and I will share a few of those I have encountered while brainstorming for my titles.

“Make sure your title is likeable”

  • Content: The first is your content. The story idea must be reflected in your title. It should give your potential reader an idea of what your story offers. A feeling, an idea, a place.
  • Likeability: Now people’s perception play a big role in how well your book will perform. Make sure your title is likeable. Use social polls to test this.
  • Search: How likely will your target ready search for such a title on say google? I didn’t consider this at first. However in my most recent title “Bloody Ideologies,” this was a major factor.
  • Relevance: Some titles might go out of relevance by the next decade because they were too stuck to the trend of the time when the author was picking the title.

In all, make sure your title is marketable. If you struggle with giving your work titles then try using title generators. I stumbled on an Amazon Kindle article “Book Title Generators: Free Tools to Help You Pick a Winning Title.” You should find enough free generators for your title ideas in that article. Make a list of potential titles, attach a synopsis and test the title through your friends, family, social networks. Measure the engagements and perception of the various options you have and don’t forget to test the title using the Lulu Titlescorer.

That’s it for this week. I will be making blog posts on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays. You can join me on this blog by subscribing to my mailing list.