Often a book will have both a title and a subtitle. While one of the two can be rather “vague”, it is critical that the other be clear in the intent of the book. Consider the following titles and subtitles from the “personal development” category:
Title: The Compound Effect
Subtitle: Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success (by Darren Hardy)
Title: Make Your Bed
Subtitle: Little Things That Can Change Your Life . . . and Maybe the World (by William H. McRaven)
Title: Girl, Wash Your Face
Subtitle: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are so You Can Become Who You Were Meant To Be (by Rachel Hollis)
In each of these examples, the title is catchy and powerful without actually explaining the book’s purposes, so the subtitle is critically important.
On the other hand, the top titles in romance often skip subtitles and instead have a captivating title along with an image that sets the scene and acts as a subtitle.
“Vendetta in Death” (by J.D. Robb)
“Outfox” (by Sandra Brown)
“Under Currents” (by Nora Roberts)
“The Dark Side” (by Danielle Steele)
However, ‘Sweet Romance’ books often have a title with the words “Sweet Romance” in the subtitle, so that a reader knows exactly what they are getting.
Title: The Unlikely Bride
Subtitle: A Sweet Country Romance (by Kimberly Krey)
Title: The (Not So) Perfect Day
Subtitle: A Sweet Best Friends Romance (by Maggie Dallen)
Subtitle: A Sweet Contemporary Romance Novella (by Josie Rivera)
The examples above were all chosen from the bestseller list—in personal development, romance and sweet romance. If these are YOUR chosen genres, it would make sense for you to reflect the “standard” set by the top books, so that your book would look like a bestseller itself. Take a look at the top books in your genre before settling on a title and subtitle.
Too often authors fall in love with their chosen title before researching similar books. It is important to remember that a book’s title is often the deciding factor in whether a prospective reader stops and clicks or keeps on scrolling, so be sure that your title draws them in. Remember, your title is a book marketing tool—you aren’t naming your firstborn child (or puppy!)