Friday, January 11, 2013

Choosing a Title

Children's Titles

Here are a few great tips about choosing titles from author Bethany Roberts, who can be found at Bethany

  • Keep your titles short and snappy. I have learned this one the hard way! People seem to have great difficulty remembering my longer titles, but no problem remembering the shorter ones. A good general rule is to keep your titles from one to three words, no more than five.
  • Catchy sounds - In creating your titles, try playing with poetic devises like alliteration and rhyme. Of my own book titles, I think my favorite is MONSTER MANNERS because the alliteration makes it fun to say.
  • Use verbs - Another way to make a title lively is to use an active verb in it. I did that with FOLLOW ME!
  • Reflect the theme - a good title, however short and catchy, gives us a hint of what the story is about.
  • Hook your reader - The title is your first chance to grab the attention of a reader- or of an editor.
  • Has your title been used? Check with Books in Print (at your library), or do a search on

Fortunately, I knew my title before I wrote my book, so I was able to avoid the great title dilemma. Next time, I may not be so lucky. How about the rest of you? How did you choose your titles? Do you have any other tips to add to this list?


  1. Alliteration is great, and if the title can have one fairly common word, and one uncommon one, that's great. P.B. Kerr has my favorite titles for a series, because his Children of the Lamp series titles are in alphabetical order! I can't tell you how much work that saves me!

  2. I am the worst at titles. I have never claimed any of mine to be more than a working title.

  3. Great tips. I'm like Matt and struggle with titles. I try to pick one that ties into the major plot. And I like to check to see if anyone else used it on Goodreads. Most titles have bee used before.

  4. Picking a title is so challenging. It has to do so many things, catch your reader's eye, not be in competition with other titles, and help sell your book.

  5. For me, the title is the easiest part of developing the story. Usually, it's my starting point and comes out of nowhere. Great tips!

  6. I find thinking up titles really tough, and since so many are changed by the publisher, I've learned not to get too attached. WILDFIRE RUN was originally titled Escape from Camp David, but the marketing department was worried that kids wouldn't know what Camp David was. It is an extra burden figuring out titles for middle grade.

  7. Like Sheri, I usually don't have title issues. It's the rest of the writing stuff that brings me to my knees.

  8. My titles come to me pretty quickly. They're usually the second thing that pops up in my head.

  9. Great tips! I always find titles the hardest part but once they finally come to be I love them


Thanks for adding to the mayhem!