How to come up with a title for your self-help book

How To Come Up With A Title For Your Self-Help Book

Your name is important to you because it carries your identity and you are recognized with it. Your book’s title is like its name. It is the name of the asset you are creating in the form of a book. It is thus, important to choose the name wisely for it will float in the world with your name for a long time. But how can you come up with a name that serves your ideas and your personal brand well?

Perhaps not in the first shot. You might find the right title after completing your book but we recommend you start writing your book after you have a title in your mind. This might not be your final go-live title but only tentative that can be changed later, but it is a must that you have some title to start with your book. But why?


A tentative title gives the author a direction, an anchor to rely on, and something to create the vision of success for oneself. When you have a book title in your mind, whether final or tentative, you can envision a published book with a beautiful cover having your picture, the book title, and your name as the author. This vision will give your mind a picture to hold on to as your destination and that would make your journey worthwhile. When you play a sport like a football, you have a goal post and you can imagine your ball hitting it. In cricket, you can imagine your ball hitting the wickets. This imagination in your head makes it easier to fight for victory. Similarly, when you will have a book title to imagine on the Crossword stands, you will be able to work with the fire inside you and will finish writing your book.

We use a special method to help aspiring authors come up with a great idea and tentative title for a book. We do not start with a final title though most times, the tentative titles serve as the final. Let us share this method with you. I will give you five sentences. These sentences will help you discover not just the title for your book but also come up with the topics to include in your book.


These sentences are:

  • I love you for that
  • Thank God, you are here
  • I need your help
  • You are amazing
  • You changed my life

Now read them one by one and when you read them, answer this question – Who said it to me and why?

Now read them one by one and when you read them, answer this question – Who said it to me and why?

Write your answers to the question for each sentence. An example for you is given below:

I love you for that – A friend who I gave a surprise that she liked.

Thank God, you are here – A friend who believed that I have the capability to deal with big challenges and succeed in difficult situations.

I need your help – A friend who I helped get a job and a customer who believed that I could align teams with product needs.

You are amazing – My boss who I helped crack a difficult deal with a high-risk public sector client.

You have changed my life – A family that I helped change my profession and set up a new organization with my direction and support.

From each of these answers, you can pull out a strength inside you. And these strengths won’t be the ones declared by you but the ones that not just you believe you have but also others who know you believe too. It is like a validation of what you stand for from people who trust you. If you noticed, we have also underlined a few words in the answers. These are the words that the author felt represented his strength as a person.

Let us summarize the findings – This author is resourceful and can deal with difficult situations. He is helping and supportive. He knows well how to give the right direction to people and align teams towards success.

What kind of book should such a person write?

When I asked him to think about these strengths and tell me how did he get these strengths, he said, “Because I never say no” and we the discussion thereafter brought us to a tentative title for this book.

Most authors can come up with a tentative title at this stage but for those who cannot, we ask them to go back to the people who used the 5 sentences for them and then, ask them one more question, either directly or in imagination, – What should I write about in my book?

Write 5 answers to this question, as suggested by the people who admired you. An example is given below:

I love you for that – Talk about yourself or the area I love

Thank God, you are here – Talk about the challenges faced and how you overcame them in situations to inspire

I need your help – Talk aboutchallenges Self-belief, the right recipe – bring together all you have; what is really required

You are amazing – Talk about Success stories of achievement, how it can help in their lives

You have changed my life – Talk about Self-belief

From these two exercises, a common element emerged that was both strengths and the topic of interest of people who believed in the author – The ability to deal with challenges. The word self-belief was repeated in the 2nd set of answers.

  • Self-belief system for sales professionals
  • How to crack large deals with self-belief
  • Guidebook to deal with challenges

If you are still unable to pick up a title, let me give you 2 more questions. These questions will be most relevant to you if you are writing a book to also support your profession.

1. Considering your strengths (picked from our first set of answers), what can you do best as a ______________________(mention your profession) professional?

2. Can you connect the topics identified in the second set of answers with ____________________________ (your profession)?

An example from another author is given below:

Strengths: Empathy & resourcefulness

1. Considering empathy and resourcefulness as your strength, what can you do best as a learning and development professional?

Her answer was – I can provide the best learning material to help employees and support companies in getting more clients as a result.

Topics: Developing resourcefulness, and compassion, finding liberation and letting go of fear.

2. Is there a way to connect resourcefulness/compassion/fearlessness with learning and development?

Her answer was – I can cover resources that can help meet Learning & Development professionals design programs to better meet the learning needs of employees.

Your strengths + their expectations + your profession – When you find a way to put them all on one plate, you will have your title.

Another way to come up with a book title is to simply talk to your potential readers for real or in your imagination. Catch hold of just one person who would be your ideal reader and then, answer these 5 questions about the person –

    • What are the key challenges faced by this person in life?
    • What are the things that create pain in the personal or professional life of the person
    • What are the goals, ambitions, or dreams of this pers What is the biggest pain point that I can help this person with
    • What solution can I give to solve it and what will be its outcome for the person?

An example of another author is given here:

Ideal reader: A 35-year-old woman living in Mumbai who had to leave her job for family

  • Getting back to job is difficult; Career is lost; stay at home is boring;
  • Cannot follow dreams; unable to restart the career
  • Want to use the expertise to earn
  • Restart career
  • A method to turn knowledge into content that can be sold to create earning

After understanding your reader’s needs and your offer that meets that needs, your next step would be to write a summary paragraph. An example is given below:

Many women take breaks from their careers after marriage or kids and after a few years of investing time with their families, it becomes nearly impossible for them to come back to business or job to advance their career. My book will help them restart their career by teaching them a method to create content using their already acquired knowledge and expertise and then, earn through it.

Next, read the paragraph you have written and summarize it again but this time, just in a single sentence. An example is given below:

A guide for women to convert their knowledge into content that sells so they can restart their careers.

Last, read the sentence again and shrink it to a 4-5 words phrase to create your title. An example is given below:

Woman’s guide to restarting a career

You can use either of the two methods to come up with a title for your book. If you want to write on a spiritual or motivational topic, the first set of questions would help you the most. For a book that should deal with your profession, going through the second and third steps would be useful. To write a book that is very specific to the needs of the readers, try the last method. However, if you are undecided about the area of writing or not aware of the readers you want, the first 3 question sets will help you identify your book idea and match it with readers.

Our discovery sessions help aspiring authors apply the methods correctly and come up with their book titles. If you have any questions, you can either drop them in the comments or attend our next demo session which will cover one discovery session for you. To register for the demo of the discovery session, please click here

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