The Secret Formula for Writing an Irresistible Book Title

Whether you’ve already written a book (or several) or still trying to get your idea out into published format, one thing is for sure: a killer title can mean all the difference between a book that becomes a major success and one that’s a major flop.


In fact, I heard once of a publishing company that had invested mucho bucks in a book that no one bought. On a last-ditch whim, the publisher decided to switch things up a bit by changing the book’s title. Nothing else was changed. Not the cover image, not the back cover, not a single word inside the book. Just the short phrase that made up the title, and the book became an instant bestseller.


Sound too good to be true?


Think about this. If you were a new mom looking for a book to help you lose those last few pounds of baby weight, and you came across the two options below, which would you choose?


Option 1: Drop That Baby Weight: Simple, Effective 5-Minute Exercises You Can Do at Home With Baby (or Sneak in During Naptime)

Option 2: Weight Loss Solutions: How to Lose Weight Naturally


As a mother of two (and just one of millions of other moms having babies every year), I can tell you that option 1 would have instantly caught my eye, and choosing it over option 2 would have been a no-brainer. Now, your market may go ga-ga over natural weight-loss solutions and rush to grab option 2. Or maybe not. Point being that no matter what “they” say, most of us do (very quickly) judge books by their covers, and the title you choose can make or break your shot at catching readers’ attention.


And let’s face it: There’s no use putting all that time and effort into writing a stellar book if no one reads the darn thing.


That’s kinda like spending days/weeks/months planning the perfect party….and having no one show up. Ouch!


Thankfully, there’s a simple solution. (To the book issue, anyway. I can’t help you get more folks to your party, unfortunately. Unless of course you’re writing a book about how great your party’s gonna be to draw them in and get ’em interested…*grin*)


But seriously, back to business.


Getting folks to buy (and read!) your book all boils down to one thing…


A super hot, OMG-how-can-I-pass-this-up title.


(And if you think that’s a lot of pressure to put on one poor little sentence or phrase, you’re right. It is. But not to worry, words are resilient little buggers. They’re up to the challenge. And they’re just waiting to be paired up with a handful of their best buddies to help you form the perfect title for your book.)


Here’s how to write a title that inspires folks to actually download and read the book you spent so much time putting together.


Step 1: Focus on what your book will help them achieve.


The first step in writing a smokin’ hot title is to talk about transformations.


What can readers expect to accomplish after reading your book?


Will they know how to:

  • dance the tango?
    • bake a perfect cake?
    • open a business banking account?
    • create a marketing plan?
    • weed out bad dates?
    • properly brush their teeth?
    • identify their dream job?


You don’t have to offer pie-in-the-sky results, if you’ll notice.


“Become a millionaire overnight, without lifting a finger!”
“Drop 50 pounds without dieting or exercising!”


Bleh. You’ll feel like a sleazeball, and they won’t fall for it any dang way. So skip the theatrics and keep it real.


Step 2: Get specific.


Take a look at these two titles:
1. How to Make More Money
2. How to Earn At Least $1000 in the Next 30 Days


Which one is more appealing? If you chose numero dos, I’m right there with ya.


The first title, How to Make More Money, is too vague to have any real impact on readers.


It could mean anything, really, from earning $.25 to $25,000.


But the bottom line is that it’s too easy to pass over for one reason:


Readers can’t see it happening.


If you ask people what they would do with more money, you might get anything from “buy a new toaster oven” to “buy a mansion,” depending on what that person’s idea of “more money” is.


But if you ask someone, “What would you do with an extra $1000 each month?” Well, NOW we’re on the same wavelength!


Sure, it might still have different meanings for different people, depending on where they live and what their current financial situation is.


After all, an extra $1000 to someone who’s already a millionaire might be hardly noticed, while an extra $1000 to someone who’s just scraping by could mean a mortgage payment, groceries for the month, etc.


But that’s not what’s important. What’s important is that each individual reader can picture in their minds what achieving that particular goal would mean to them. And they start to get excited about the prospect, which gets them excited to read your book so they can REACH that goal.


That’s the power of specificity.


And also why you see so many successful marketers using specifics in their marketing.


3 Ways to Earn 6 Figures in Your Business
7 Tips for Planting Watermelons in Your Home Garden

Etc. etc.


There’s no guesswork here. Readers immediately know what to expect, and if you’ve hit on a topic they’re dying to learn about, they’ll be all over that book.


Step 3: Help them get rid of pains and frustrations.


With any goal comes certain frustrations, pains, and obstacles that people need to overcome in order to reach the finish line.


When most people think of losing weight, they think of dieting, exercising, and a strong sense of willpower.


When most people think of getting rich, they think of hard work, long hours, and time away from their family.


And so on.


If you can offer them a way to reach their goals without the sacrifices they think they need to make, you’ll be their hero.


There’s actually a way you can write a title that takes advantage of all 3 steps, all wrapped up in one nifty formula.


The Secret Formula for Writing a Simple Yet Powerful Book Title




Here goes:


How to [Desired Outcome] in [Desired Timeframe] without [Pain/Frustration]


Want some examples? Yeah, I thought you might. 🙂


Here’s how this might look for your book:


How to Lose 10 Pounds in 90 Days Without Starving Yourself OR
How to Lose 10 Pounds in 90 Days Without Spending Hours at the Gym Each Day

How to Earn an Extra $2,000 Next Month Without Burning the Midnight Oil

How to Take Perfect Pictures in 3 Simple Steps Without Buying an Expensive Camera

How to Spot Your Perfect Match in One 30-Minute Conversation and Never Waste Another Evening on Awkward Dates


So, there you have it. Three steps to writing a title that gets readers excited to buy your book so you can start connecting with 100s or even 1000s of potential clients.


Plus a simple yet powerful formula for crafting your own smokin’ hot book title, and a couple examples to help you get the wheels turning.


Want 10 MORE fill-in-the blanks title formulas, a swipe file of 35 see-them-in-action examples for professionals in 23 different industries, and a fill-in-the-blanks template for writing a book that works to build a connection with readers, establish your expertise, and move the right folks into the next step of working with you?

Click here to access the Write Your Bestselling Book in 30 Days workshop and get instant access to all of the training, resources, and support you need to whip up an amazing book that wins you clients.

Did you find this article helpful? If so, please use the buttons below to share this with your friends and colleagues. And then come on back and leave me a comment. What book title did you write?


Tammi Metzler, founder of The Write Associate, is a self-professed “word geek.” Her greatest joy is in playing with words all day to find just the right combination to get folks all fired up. In the daytime hours, this means writing online marketing copy that grabs the attention and interest of readers so that they “get” the awesomeness of the product/service in question and think “I gotta get me some of that!” After hours this often means finding just the right words to get the response she’s looking for from her husband, 9-year-old daughter, and/or toddler son (grin). She offers tons of resources about creating compelling marketing copy that excites & engages your ideal clients on her blog at



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