One way to test a title is to list three possible choices and ask a friend or writing group to choose a title they find most appealing. You could also post a title in an online group and ask for feedback.
Remember, a title cannot be copyrighted, so in a public arena it will be fair game for copying. Big publishers avoid using a title that is already in the marketplace. Another good way to test a book title is to study the titles of bestsellers.
Why are they appealing?
How do they hook you?
Notice that all four of these New York Times bestselling titles seem to ask a question that compels you to want to read the book to learn the answer.
What happens when justice sleeps?
What was the last thing he told her?
That summer, what happened?
Who are the people we meet on vacation?
John Grisham’s SOOLEY is currently number 3 on the Times list. But when you are Grisham, you can get away with more obscure titles. Yet, we do wonder who Sooley is.
by Stacey Abrams
3. THE LAST THING HE TOLD ME
by Laura Dave
4. THAT SUMMER
by Jennifer Weiner
5. PEOPLE WE MEET ON VACATION
by Emily Henry