Need Some Memorable Memoir Titles? Use These Tips

POSTED ON Apr 9, 2024

Sarah Rexford

Written by Sarah Rexford

Home > Blog > Non-Fiction > Need Some Memorable Memoir Titles? Use These Tips

If you’re writing your memoir or plan to in the future, chances are you are considering various memoir titles. Questions arise such as: what memoir topics will you choose to be inspired by? How can your title reflect the right tone and theme? How can you craft a memoir title and description that stands out among others? What are the different types of memoir?

You know how to define a memoir, but how do you define your own memoir in a single line or word?? I thought I'd share some tips on how to do just that. Plus I wanted to introduce you to our great memoir book title generator (scroll down for that!) – so you don't have to come up with titles all on your own. This way, you can choose from standout options, use them as working titles, and iterate on them before settling on the best one for your sub-genre.


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No matter where you are in your process, early ideation or completing your final draft, it’s never too early (or too late!) to consider the name of your book. Beyond that, memoir titles will become an important part of your future book marketing strategies. Well-crafted titles can even help your book show up in search engines and on Amazon when future readers go searching! 

Top tips for writing memoir titles

There are various ways to generate your memoir title. No one way is better than another, but it can be helpful to try different ways and see which ones help you the most. Keep these things in mind to inspire the process:

Start with an outline or book description

Coming up with different memoir titles is an exciting part of the writing process. Sometimes it's exactly what you need to get the inspiration to finally sit down and write your story.

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While it’s never too early to think about titles, our book coaches always recommend starting with a creative mind map to get your main ideas and topics on paper. Then, you'll want to complete your memoir's outline and even more detailed outlines of each chapter. Some authors complete their entire rough draft before even thinking about titles! So, if it's not coming to you now, don't let an absent title get in the way of your writing.

Use brevity

Many memoir titles are simply one word. Some entire memoirs are only six words! But be warned. If you choose to do this, it needs to be compelling and draw interest when paired with your cover art.

Consider Tara Westover’s memoir, Educated

Memorable Memoir Titles: Educated By Tara Westover

Westover effectively knows how to write about perseverance; her story is one of overcoming. She didn’t set foot in a classroom until seventeen. Despite this setback, still made it to Harvard and Cambridge. This title is absolutely perfect in summing up her memoir. 

You'll also notice this one-word memoir title trend in the best celebrity memoirs.

Helpful note: if you choose to use one word, you may want to include a longer book subtitle that expands on your memoir topic and provides the reader with more context.

Settle on a compelling phrase

Some writers prefer to come up with different phrases as possible memoir titles – this is where our memoir titles generator really shines!

If you choose this option, you may not need to use a subtitle.

Think of the example memoir by Stephanie Foo, What My Bones Know. That's powerful – and better without any additional hints via subtitle.

Think about captivating quotes

Expanding on the idea of a phrase, are there quotes or sayings from your life or your draft that are powerful on their own?

There's no denying that Maya Angelou’s famous memoir title, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, is intriguing and sparks a lot of interest on its own.

Memorable Memoir Titles: I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings By Maya Angelou

Find your central memoir topic

Remember how I mentioned starting with an outline above? We're back to that idea.

Your book outline does not need to be in-depth or detailed to create a great title. In fact, outlining your book can be as simple as the following: Come up with your necessary chapters, break the chapters down into subcategories, and write some keywords for each category. 

Once you have your book outlined, examine the recurring themes in its various chapters. For instance, if your memoir covers your life from six to forty years old and each chapter focuses on your creative bent toward business, pay attention. You're clearly writing a business memoir, but is there a way to find a title that eludes to or defines your specific journey? Maybe one that doesn't use the traditional words associated with business?

Was it Earning a Master's Degree in Failure? or perhaps more like The Way of the (Not) Starving Artist?

Have fun generating different memoir titles! Riff off common sayings – as I did above with the starving artist idea. Come up with something that feels out of place in your sub-genre – like naming a business book something failure-related.

Use a memoir title generator

Want THE fastest way to come up with 100s of memoir title ideas in just seconds? Use an AI generator.

Don't like it?

There are a few easy steps you can follow when using a memoir book titles generator

  • Have your book outline in front of you
  • Write your book description – or a quick summary
  • Remember the audience you are targeting 
  • Start with a few specific words or phrases
  • Input everything into the book title generator tool
  • Generate, generate, generate
  • Choose between your top three ideas

Once you choose your top ideas, you can mix and match them until you create the perfect title!

Remember that your final memoir title is going to be your book's introduction to future readers. You'll say the name of your book hundreds of times while promoting it before, during, and after your launch. And it can even help you show up on Google. Using a book title generator can help make sure you didn't overlook any details or important memoir topics that you should highlight.

5 Of the most iconic and famous memoir titles 

You're now armed with everything you need to generate a compelling memoir title for your upcoming book. For a little extra inspiration, let's just look at different memoir titles that worked well for their authors. As you look through the following list, notice the various memoir topics and how the titles highlight the theme of each book. 

1. The Glass Castle

Memorable Memoir Titles: The Glass Castle By Jeannette Walls

Jeannette Walls’s memoir centers on her dysfunctional upbringing and her ability to make her own life. The title references the promise her father never came through on: building a glass castle for his family. 

2. Know My Name

Memorable Memoir Titles: Know My Name By Chanel Miller

Chanel Miller went by the name of Emily Doe throughout the entire case against her rapist. This memoir is her chance to tell her story as herself – Chanel Miller’s story. 

3. Night

Memorable Memoir Titles: Night By Elie Wiesel

This single word is evocative among memoir titles. ​​Elie Wiesel entered Auschwitz concentration camp as a teenager. The darkness of Auschwitz hits deep with this one-word title and sends a chill through readers. 

4. Reading Lolita In Tehran 

Memorable Memoir Titles: Reading Lolita In Tehran By Azar Nafisi

Azar Nafisi fought against the Islamic Revolution by taking seven female students under their wing to read the classics. Together, they pursued education with their veils off. This title catapults you into a desire to open to page one. 

5. The Year of Magical Thinking

Memorable Memoir Titles: The Year Of Magical Thinking By Joan Didion

Tragedy is followed by grief and grief does not feel magical. However, Joan Didion’s unabashed look at grief in the face of tragedy is a refreshing take on a part of life we often want to ignore—the impact of pain.

Related:

Let us know what you think of our memoir titles generator!

Using a memoir title generator can greatly shorten the time it takes to come up with a title. Rather than spending hours trying to think up words and synonyms, you can simply plug in your words or phrases and let the generator work its magic.

With just a few clicks the selfpublishing.com memoir titles generator can present you with a plethora of options. We then leave it up to you: use one of the free titles generated, or continue brainstorming with the ideas in front of you.

There's already AI writing software to enhance your work and omit typos. Why not use an AI book titles generator to be both effective and efficient at titling your book?  

The only thing we ask is this: if you love it, let us know! We coach thousands of authors each year to bestseller status and are continuously working to create the best tools and resources to help you do the same!

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