Style Guide For Writing Fun Book Titles

Titles are important for all forms of content. They’re used in headlines, subheadings, introductions, blog posts, and articles. Titles can make or break a book because readers use titles to gain an idea of the focus of a book. This style guide for typing the title of a book outlines all the guidelines you need to follow.

A pile of assorted books.
Photo by Ed Robertson on Unsplash

What is a Book Title?

A book title is a short text that describes the topic of a book. The custom dictates that it should be witty or clever and readable by anyone who plans to read the book.

Book titles help prospective readers gauge and understand the contents of a book. A book title captures the novelty and value of the book in order to persuade your target audience to buy and read the book. 

What’s So Important About Book Titles?

There are many reasons why every book needs a good title. From a marketing perspective, book titles are similar to email subject lines. They offer prospective readers the unique value proposition of a book.

There are things books can offer readers. Some books aim to entertain an audience and provide them with recreational stories. Other books aim to educate a reader and provide them with educational information. 

Then, there are other books that aim to instruct a reader and direct them toward an actionable goal. Self-help books and how-to guides are prime examples of this.

Book titles help readers determine the contents of the book, so they can make an informed buying decision. 

A good book title should be interesting and accurate. The following section outlines the rules for typing book titles. This is different from publishing the actual book title.

These typing pointers are necessary for when you describe your book or write a review on another book. 

Rules for Typing the Title of a Book

There was a time when there were limited options for formatting. Today’s writers can italicize and underline their text. You can use these formatting options to emphasize certain words in your text and reference list.

Different styles have different pointers for italics and quotation marks, but the general rule is as follows:

Short Works vs. Complete Works

If you want to emphasize a work, it boils down to whether it’s a short or long work. 

You can mention shorter works such as poems, articles, and short stories by enclosing the title within quotation marks. 

For example:

  • I wrote a review for the poem called “Athena’s Birth.”

On the other hand, text must be italicized when typing the title of a book or other complete works. Complete books include novels, books, and newspapers.

If the work doesn’t have an author, you can cite the first few words of the reference entry.

For example:

  • Best-selling author John James discusses the surprise release of his first novel, Breaking Brawn.

If the book is part of a larger series, enclose its title in quotation marks if you’ve italicized its main title. Be sure to add the author’s name.

For example:

  • The Dark Tower is one of the series that defined my youth. I loved “The Gunslinger” the moment I read its first sentence. But the magic diminished by “Wolves of the Calla.”
  • “The Wizard and Glass.” is my favorite book in the entire series.


Title punctuations usually complicate titles. However, writers can follow this simple pointer: If the punctuation is part of the title, include it in italics or quotation marks.

If it isn’t part of the title, exclude it from the format.

For example: Novels with punctuation.

  • Does Brian love the book Who Has Seen the Wind?  The question mark is part of the title, therefore, italicize it.
  • Have you read Romeo and Juliet? → The question mark isn’t part of the book title. Therefore, exclude it from formatting. 

For example: Short works with punctuation.

  • Did William read “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”? → The title excludes the question mark from quotation marks because it isn’t part of the title.

In Summary

The English language is constantly changing to match the technology at our disposal. Before computers, formatting and style options were limited and therefore had no bearing on writing.

These days, there are many ways to write text. While writing format is usually up to a writer’s style preference, adhering to standards, in general, is important. We hope this article answers your questions on book title formats. Feel free to check out our other guides.

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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