So you’ve finally written the novel of your dreams. Full of action-packed adventure, steamy romance, and incredibly complicated plot twists, you’re just about ready to debut your work to a vast audience all around the world.
But before you publish it to Kindle, you have one more huge obstacle: a good title! Not only is your title the first thing readers will see about your story, but it has the potential to be judged, sometimes quite harshly.
So how exactly will you create a title for your Kindle book? By following some tried-and-true tricks of the trade, of course!
Today, we are going to cover some crucial info in these categories:
- What Kindle actually is
- Preparing to write Kindle titles (getting into the right mindset)
- How to actually write your Kindle titles (putting rubber to the road)
- Examples of renamed books
- Avoiding common pitfalls
What Is Kindle?
Kindle is an online publishing platform owned by Amazon. Free to use and publish, it has become the number one ebook publishing option for self-published writers across the country.
The best part about using Kindle is that you can expose an enormous audience to your work without having to do much extra labor. While marketing and social media awareness are important, simply having a novel listed on Kindle is enough to get your friends and family talking.
Of course, your ebook needs more than just a good foundation to really take off. It takes some good storytelling, good structure, and good titling to really come to life.
Creating Titles For Kindle Books — What Comes First?
What’s in a name? Everything! When it comes to writing a book, making a good first impression is huge. Competing with others on Kindle is an even steeper challenge. Not only are there thousands of books available just in your genre, but they were written by passionate, exciting authors just like you.
Before you put pen to paper, rev up your creative juices:
- Be ready to check every and all title ideas for previous copyright liens. Nothing could be worse than settling on the perfect combination of words only to discover that it is non-accessible to you.
- Rest often. Thinking too long or too hard about your book title will likely result in some fried neurons. Just sit back, relax, and wait for the inspiration to come to you.
- Never rush through the title writing process. You’ve already worked so hard on developing a cohesive, interesting novel. Why would you disenfranchise your work by giving it a bad title?
Book Title vs. Subtitle
Sometimes there is a little confusion between writing a Kindle book title and writing a subtitle. There are a couple of key differences to keep in mind:
- Book titles are catchy, fun, and inspiring phrases that are usually no more than 1 to 3 words. Subtitles are often significantly longer (think Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus).
- Most authors compose their subtitle before they write their book title. While the subtitle describes more about the book itself, the title is focused more on the spectacle of the story.
- Subtitles should not be longer than ten words. Not only will anything longer lose your audience, but it will be a little more difficult to remember when searching on Google.
Whether or not you plan on using a subtitle in your work, be sure that you are writing a primary title that turns heads!
5 Steps To Creating A Perfect Kindle Title
Before you can start writing book titles, you need to understand the limitations they have.
Amazon has some rules about creating titles, specifically for its Kindle books. In a nutshell, they are:
- Not claiming to be a bestseller.
- Not offering a free or reduced price.
- Not referencing trademarks, other books, or authors.
- Not advertising anything other than the book content.
You can read more on these rules by visiting the official guidelines at the Kindle Store. But to wrap it up — don’t do anything sketchy.
Now that we’ve addressed these big no-nos, here are five of the most important steps to developing the perfectly sellable Kindle titles for your book.
- Choosing a title based on the genre is an important skill to learn. Readers want to know what to expect from your story, so don’t stray too far from the mainland with your titles. Try to signal the purpose, intent, or genre of your story. If you need to write a subtitle to help, feel free!
- Look for ways to stand out. Just naming your fantasy novel ‘Epic Journey’ is not going to turn any heads. Instead, look for a unique turn of phrase, common saying, or single word that could summarize your tale. Better yet, make up your own word for a title! The popular dragon series ‘Eragon’ comes to mind.
- Think about interesting or unique grammatical structures. Starting your book title with something other than ‘The’ will be a powerful tool that pops your story out from the Kindle crowd. Try starting titles with prepositions, like ‘on,’ ‘about,’ or ‘to.’ If you’re feeling really inspired, you can turn your book title into an opened ended question (‘Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?’).
- Write more than just one title, and if you can help it, write down some title ideas while you are composing your book! You will be able to cull through a massive list that may have picked up a few gems. This way, you can mix and match words, phrases, and nouns to create a perfect title (and subtitle, if you want one).
- Don’t be afraid to get some peer review on your titles. Reach out to family members, friends, or other writing buddies for help. While you may not always agree with their opinions, you must remember that they are acting as your proto-audience. They are the ones showing you what will and will not be accepted by a crowd! Do some proper trial and error before publishing your newly titled book on Kindle.
Instead of relying on a book title generator to build a book for you, consider using some of the ideas listed above. Chances are that you will get much better results, and truly have ownership over what you choose.
Examples Of Bad Book Titles (What Not To Do!)
Terrible titles have made it onto the Kindle platform for years, and serve as a great reminder of just what not to do when writing yours.
- The Flight Of The Intrepid Monkey — Not only is this not very specific, but it can lead readers away from your work.
- How To Deal With Hippo Encounter — Grammatical mistakes turn off potential audience members.
- How To Raise Your IQ By Eating — Making unsubstantiated claims can get you kicked off the Kindle platform.
Even beyond Kindle, there are some historical instances of bad book titles that were (eventually) published differently.
- The Dead-UnDead — Became ‘Dracula.’
- Twilight — Became ‘The Sound And The Fury’
- Forks — Became ‘Twilight.’
The moral of the story is: don’t decide that your first title will be your last. The odds are that you will spend some time updating your title, and want to work more on developing its themes in the future.
Troubleshooting Your Kindle Book Title
The good thing about your Kindle book title is that it will always be a work in progress — until the day you publish it, that is. Thankfully, there is hope. There are some actionable steps you can take to turn downright terrible titles into good ones. Diagnose your title with one of these three symptoms, then treat them accordingly.
- Too long? Cut out everything you don’t need. Use a different sentence structure to help get your point across. For even better help, remove any articles or prepositions you don’t need.
- Dis-interesting? Fire up a thesaurus and look for some great power words! Use online dictionaries and other tools to help you discover what it is you want to say.
- Already Copyrighted? Try going in a different direction. As much as you love the brainchild of your original title, someone else has been there first. Treat this title like a dud that needs to be completely discarded. Out with the old, in with the new!
At the end of the day, your Kindle book is a story of your own design. While there may be some pitfalls and hoops to jump through before you get to the finish line, choosing the right title will mean everything for your readers. Keep calm, carry on, and start writing out potential titles that are sure to wow your audience!