Which One Won? Book titles and subtitles

Every weight-loss book out in the world today sells a slightly different method to get the same result: shedding unwanted weight. If you’ve written a weight-loss manual, you’d better hope its book titles and subtitles are distinct enough to stand out.

When author Grace Smith wrote a book about the unusual weight-loss tactic of hypnosis, she used PickFu to decide what title to run with. She created a poll targeted at people between the ages of 25 and 54. Then, she asked this audience to tell her which title caught their interest.

Option A reads, Close Your Eyes, Lose Weight: Get the Body You Love, Find Freedom from Addictive Foods, and Learn to Eat Intuitively with Self-Hypnosis.

Option B reads, Close Your Eyes, Get the Body You Want: Rewire Your Brain to Lose Weight and Keep It Off With the Groundbreaking Power of Hypnosis.

Going a different route with its title, Option C reads, Hypno-Body: Close Your Eyes and Lose Weight with the Power of Self-Hypnosis.

Can you guess which one won?

And the winner is…Option B! With a score of 64, it beat out Option C’s 36 and Option A’s 24.

Choose book titles and subtitles that put people in control of their weight loss

Several respondents liked how Option B’s title puts the power into the hands of the reader. The first sentence in the subtitle is “Rewire Your Brain,” a concrete action that you can take by reading this book.

On the other hand, Option A makes it seem like all you have to do to lose weight is close your eyes. Does that mean you should sleep more, or what? It’s foggy.

Option C doesn’t put it in the reader’s hands either, and many found the word hypno-body too confusing.

As one respondent put it, “[Option B] at least puts you in power of yourself, so you are the one in charge. [Option A] does as well, but it also is a bit confusing. I don’t even know what the last one means.”

A clear, powerful call-to-action is a great way to lead a book on becoming a healthier you.

Weight loss is a sensitive issue, so make sure your book titles and subtitles treat it as such

Many respondents found Option A too forceful; losing weight, they argued, isn’t easy and shouldn’t always be the only desired end-result of a body-management strategy.

Said one respondent, “Weight is such a sensitive issue and I don’t like the big and bold ‘Lose weight’ messages on the other two. The focus should be getting people into bodies that are healthy and make them happy.”

Other respondents agreed, saying, “I prefer this option because it is more inclusive in terms of body image and transcends simply weight loss.”

Another said, “I chose Option B, because the focus is on ‘Get the body you want,’ which could be more inclusive of a variety of body goals such as toning, building muscle definition, or losing weight.”

You need to take all sorts of body types into consideration when you write a book about getting a desired body.

Key takeaways

When people encounter a book about weight loss at a store or online, they want to know that they are in charge of transforming their own bodies — with the help of your book, of course.

And they also want a book that doesn’t explicitly focus on weight loss. Instead, readers are looking for books that help them get the body they want — whatever body that may be.

If you’ve written about health or weight loss and want to find out which book titles and subtitles serve your audience best, create a PickFu poll to find out!

Laura Ojeda Melchor

Laura Ojeda Melchor (she/her) is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Parents.com, Mom.com, Gardener’s Path, and of course, PickFu. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her debut middle-grade novel, Missing Okalee, was published in the fall of 2021 by Shadow Mountain Publishing.