How to Title Your Novel

So you’re writing a novel. Or maybe you’re simply planning your novel. But you can’t figure out the right name for it.

There could be so many titles! Should you use a short title or a long one? Should it incorporate the made up names you’ve created or would that be too confusing? How do you title the book so that people know what type of genre the book is?

Well, I may not have all of the perfect answers for you, and these answers will vary depending on your novel, but here are three tips that I’ve picked up on how to title your story. Let’s jump right in!

Tip #1: Use Key Objects

Is there an object of importance in your book? Perhaps of crystal of healing? Or an enchanted sword? Maybe a long lost spaceship?

Jot those objects down, and see if you can incorporate one or two of them into your title. Important objects will give readers the idea of the story without giving too much away.

Oh, and I just want to add: this key thing doesn’t always have to be a physical object. It can also be a location, or perhaps a quote that someone says over and over again.

Tip #2: Implement Important Names

Is there a main character or a main villain in your book with a super epic name? Write that down. It could come in handy in your title. Or perhaps you’ll simply be able to use your main character’s name as the title! That’s quite useful!

If the story revolves mainly around your main character, it might be practical just to title it as such. But this can’t always work. Perhaps your story revolves around more things than simply your character’s adventures. Than you may want to steer away from this idea. But, you can still use a name, even if it isn’t the complete title of your book! Take a look at the Harry Potter books for example. Every title has Harry’s name, and then a location or an object of importance!

So there are many ways to implement a name into your title.

Tip #3: Implement the Genre

For most new readers, the title of your book is going to be the first thing that introduces them to the story. So keep in mind that you’ll want to at least give them a taste of what kind of story your book is going to be. Is it a fantasy? An action adventure? A romance? A thriller? Try to use your title to at least hint at the genre of your book.

Here’s some examples.*

If the books title is something like: “Sword of the Fallen King”, it’s probably a fantasy, right? Because guess what. There are two keywords in here that hint at that: Sword, and King.

If the books title is: “The Red Truck on Burnsberry Street”, it might be a detective story, because its a mysterious title and also has at least one object (the truck) that is in a modern setting.

I could keep making up book names and showing you these examples forever, but I also want to add one more thing before we wrap up.

Not only should you state the genre of your book, you should also make known whether this is a Middle Grade book, a YA book, or an adult book. Now, I know you can’t always make this super clear, but here are a couple examples.

A book titled: “The Merry Misadventures of Nathan the Dragonslayer” is probably going to be a middle grade book. I don’t think I’d be expecting a YA book from a title like that. XD

But, if the book is titled: “Finger on the Trigger”, I’m probably going to guess its not particularly for kids.

So that’s it. To quickly wrap up:

  • Try to find and incorporate key objects or locations into your title.
  • Implement important names into your title if it fits.
  • Make sure you’re at least hinting at the genre and age-range of your story with the title.

*Just a quick note–if any of the titles I used for examples are actually real books, I am completely unaware of that and do not recommend them or anything. If they are actual stories, it was completely coincidental.

Well, I hope these tips are helpful for you, and that you can now go forth and title your novel!!

Have you found any tips for titling your stories? Let me know in the comments!

Until later,

10 thoughts on “How to Title Your Novel

  1. These are great tips, Caleb! I am definitely going to utilize them. At the moment, I am plotting a mystery novel, and am still stuck on trying to figure out a title. XD I think I have some ideas now, though after reading your post!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I titled the three books of my epic fantasy series (the Phoenix Trilogy) based off the “phoenix” metaphor. “Kindling”, “Phoenix”, and “Rebirth”. The second one is kind of weak; I’m still thinking of using “Embers” instead. But this post was very informative! Thank you, Caleb.

    Liked by 1 person

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