The title of your book is the billboard for the words and ideas you are giving to people. Those four to seven words or so are most critical of all the words you write.

A dear friend of mine, John Harricharan, author of best-selling, “When You can Walk on Water, Take the Boat,” explained to me that the real title comes from within you, like the book. I finally started to understand that I didn’t “try” and write the book, it wrote itself. So too, will the title come from within you. What John meant, is that you must love the title you choose. Be confident with it. With that confidence, the energy of the book can come through, almost like a light shining through the window.

In other words, it doesn’t matter so much what the actual title is. What matters is the feeling you have when you read, see or say the title. That’s the key.

When I decided upon the title of my first book “Be The Hero of Your Own Game,” it was a simple, clear acceptance. No bells or whistles, just clarity. The other words were gone. As I looked through the book, I noticed I had referred to the hero several times. It had always been there, awaiting my discovery. That is the magic of letting the title be “delivered” to you.

I like the word “hero” because I think hero contains the both words “he” and “her.” It blends the male and female. “Hero” offers something that we all have the potential to attain. I have always loved heroes and I believe every one of us has a hero within.

To me the title “Be the Hero of Your Own Game’ lets the reader know:

• I think they can be a hero
• I respect them
• Life is a game. Are they curious about the Game?
• It’s Your game
• How can they own the game?

Today I have a large list of titles for books and articles I haven’t written yet. 118 of them so far. Titles chosen in advance of the book. Who knows? Might be easier that way.

But for you and the precious book you’re writing, or will write, let me pass along what I have learned on the title battlefield.

6 Keys to Choosing Your Best Title

1. Write down all possible titles. Anything and everything you can think of. You never know which phrase may catch and stick.

2. Pay attention to how YOU feel when you tell others your title. Do you feel proud, tentative, scared, stupid? The feeling you want is like a proud mother or father of your new little baby. Give it the best name you can. It will be called that name the rest of its life.

3. I also researched other titles on amazon. You don’t want a title that everyone has. It will get lost. You also don’t want a title so obscure or undescript that nothing will come up on a search.

4. It needs to have intrigue and yet be clear.
“Things Your Priest Doesn’t Want You To Know,” would be intriguing. So would “Things Your (fill in the blank) Doesn’t Want You To Know.” We humans like to know what others are doing, thinking feeling etc.

5. Does your title help the reader to become a better person? We want to strive higher, yet it has to be an achievable goal without huge effort. If your title is “How to increase your IQ by 10 points, studying an extra 5 hours a day,” I’m not interested.

6. Sum up your book in one sentence. Write as many as you can of these one liners. If you get just one chance to give a message from your book to others, what would you say? That’s often all you get. Use it wisely.

When it all comes down to it, go with your gut.

Give your precious new baby a beautiful life in the arms and hands of readers who will love it too. Give it the best name you can, but realize that if people held a real child of yours, they would love that infant just as much if it were called “Mary” as if it were called “Elizabeth” or “Harry” or “Joshua.” The essence of the book is your baby. Name it and love it. Love your book with such a heartfelt feeling that the title springs up from within you. Love the spirit of your book. That essence will speak to you. In my case it took a little struggle, but what John said is so true. The book has it’s own energy and identity. Just as the words you wrote came to you, so will the title. It’s all part of the magic you are here to create.

Many happy titles to you!

Author's Bio: 

Award winning producer and author, Terri Marie wrote a monthly column for The Orange County Register called Heroes Among Us. Visit for stories about heroes. Sign up for a FREE Year of Cheer at