How To Craft The Perfect Book Subtitle [With Examples]
If you don’t have a great title for your book yet, start with my post on nonfiction book titles, which will show you how to write one.
The audience is built into the subtitle without having to say it in the book’s blubbering opening line: For ambitious, people-focused business leaders, a good subtitle provides context for the book, telling readers who should read it and how it will help them.
The right subtitle will entice the right reader to pick up the book, such as this one: Start Where You Are: My Journey from Childhood Poverty to Passionate Entrepreneur. The title alone evokes feelings of hope and optimism, and the book cover design accentuates those feelings.
It should include keywords that your target audience might use in search engines like Google or directly on Amazon, which is the third largest search engine in the United States and home to some of the world’s most popular books.
4. Easy to Read and Say
Use simple language. Great subtitles aren’t clever; they’re direct and to-the-point. You don’t want to turn off readers by using words they don’t understand or that don’t fit your book. A graduate-level textbook on finance, for example, might get away with a subtitle that’s a mouthful.
5. Short and Specific
The subtitle is a message to the reader about what they’ll get out of reading your book, and it should focus on two ideas: who your ideal readers are and what benefit they’ll get out of it.
Step 2. Factor in the Tone of the Book
What is your book’s tone? Your title and subtitle should reflect the overall feel of the book.
Step 3. Brainstorm Subtitle Ideas
What do you want the ideal reader to take away from your book? Make a list of the things that matter to you. Start with what you want to do for someone, being as specific as possible, and don’t worry about getting to the end result right away.
Start with the right title
Your subtitle is what gives the book context and direction after you’ve chosen a title.
Ask yourself questions about your title and short description
In a nutshell, what do I want people to take away from this? Dig deep into your title and description to get to the heart of your message. For example, what does it mean to “Find Your Yellow Tux”?
Hone the description down to the essentials
If your description says you want to help parents learn how to get their kids to talk to them, you don’t need the word “parents” in the subtitle.
Try to be more specific
Start with these questions if you’re reading a book about how to get your child to talk to you in different ways; don’t stop with whatever you came up with in the first round. None of these are perfect, but you can see how being more specific can get you closer.
Consider slang or alternative, catchier phrases
If your book is both entertaining and educational, you want the subtitles to reflect that. Read How to Get Your Kids to Tell You the Truth or How to Spill the Beans to learn more about subtitles for children’s books and e-books.
Step 4. Check Copyright, Trademark, Competition & Popular Meaning
You can’t copyright a title, but if your subtitle uses a trademarked phrase, you might run into trademark issues. Check Google to make sure your subtitle doesn’t have any unintended consequences. Thanks to social media, popular culture’s language is evolving faster than ever.
Step 5. Choose Your Favorites and Test Them (optional)
Only real market data can be used to test a subtitle, so use Google AdWords or Survey Monkey to gather real-world feedback on titles and subtitles.
1. Breaking into College: The Underground Playbook for College Admissions
It’s not a boring step-by-step guide; it’s a PLAYBOOK. The book also has a similar theme to BREAKING INTO college, and both the title and subtitle pack a punch.
2. The Pop-Up Paradigm: How Brands Build Human Connections in a Digital Age
The subtitle contains the majority of the information about the book, as well as keywords such as BRANDS and BUILD, all while establishing a critical contrast between human and digital.
3. The Five-Hour Workday: Live Differently, Unlock Productivity, and Find Happiness
The book received a lot of press because of its subtitle, UNLOCK PRODUCTIVITY, which sends a very different message than the idea of unlocking productivity through a five-hour workday.
Why do books have subtitles?
The author’s byline is the book’s surname, which it shares with every other book by that author; the subtitle, on the other hand, is the book’s middle name, which can be useful at the start, especially for memoirs, where the subtitle alerts readers to the fact that they’re reading a true story.
Do all books need a subtitle?
In most cases, yes. If you’re writing non-fiction, you’ll need a subtitle because it will allow readers to connect their needs to the content of your book. If titles entice readers to pick up your book, subtitles entice them to buy it.
How do you make a subtitle for a book?
Here are eight suggestions for writing a great subtitle:
- Get the rhythm right.
- Speak to your audience.
- Flip it upside down if it helps.
- Don’t use a subtitle you don’t want to talk about.
- Observe other people.
- Exhibit progression.
- Be willing to go without.
What is difference between title and subtitle?
Subtitle is a heading below or after a title, whereas title is a prefix (honorific) or suffix (post-nominal) added to a person’s name to signify veneration, official position, or a professional or academic qualification see also.
What is a book subtitle example?
A subtitle is an explanatory or alternate title in books and other works; for example, Mary Shelley titled her most famous novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus; by using the subtitle “the Modern Prometheus,” she alludes to the Greek Titan as a hint of the novel’s themes.
Can a book have two titles?
In the United States, titles are not copyrighted, so two or more books can have the same title. However, using a title that is the same or very similar to another book makes it difficult for your title to stand out.
What makes a good subtitle?
A good subtitle gives context to the title and informs readers about who should read the book and how it will benefit them. It should also tell readers who the book is for, but you don’t have to name the audience.
What are headings in a book?
A heading is a word, phrase, or sentence that appears at the start of a written passage and explains what it’s about; it’s similar to a title. For example, you might write a heading for each chapter of your novel or each page of your French club newsletter.
What is the second line of a book title called?
2 Answers. Subtitle: a literary work’s secondary or subordinate title, usually of explanatory nature.
How do you write a catchy subtitle?
First, I’ll go over seven broad principles:
- Keep It Short, Simple, and to the Point.
- Be Clear About Your Main Benefit.
- Announce Exciting News (News Your Audience Cares About)
- Questions in the Headline.
- Appeal to Your Reader’s Hunger for Knowledge.
Do Picture books have subtitles?
Notes on Fiction Do picture books require subtitles? No, not strictly; a subtitle, like any other book, is an opportunity to inform a potential reader about the book’s subject.
How titles and subtitles are used?
Titles and subtitles are used to organize the fields under headings and inform the user about the form’s purpose.
What are movie subtitles?
Subtitles are translated captions of audio files, usually foreign language films, motion pictures, or television programs, that transcribe a film’s native language to the audience’s language in public settings.
Where do I download subtitles?
Which websites are the best for downloading subtitles for a movie or television show?