Titles (and Subtitles) Sell Books!
by: Joni Hamilton
Does a title really sell a book? The short answer is, yes. If a book does not attract a reader initially, it will be overlooked and not purchased. The book title is the element that creates the initial attraction to the book.
Watch people who are browsing in a bookstore. A catchy title grabs their interest and makes them reach for the book out of curiosity. A great title makes browsers think, “Really?” or “What does THAT mean?” or “That’s what I need”. Think long and hard when choosing your book’s title. The title must give some clues about the book’s contents in a snappy “one-liner”.
Many authors struggle fiercely with the title choice, not realizing that the title is there somewhere in the book’s contents. They just haven’t recognized it because they are too close to the project. Sometimes it helps to talk to impartial, unbiased persons. Tell them what your book is about, and then listen to their feedback.
Alternately, on the tongue-in-cheek advice of one publishing professional, open a bottle of wine and start writing. Make a list of everything that comes to mind about what you have written in your book. Nothing is too silly, but do try to strike on the central theme or message.
When your list is complete (and the wine is all gone), group your notes into categories. Choose the snappiest, most intriguing words that say something about your book without sounding like a boring explanation.
Perhaps these titles will help you:
Fit to Cook
Climb Your Stairway to Heaven
Light the Fire
Spell Success in Your Life
If you are planning on a series, your title should be your “brand”. Then as you make your brand into a household word, you ensure future sales. As each title in the series is published, you know that people will buy the latest book to complete the series. Think Harry Potter or Nancy Drew.
The subtitle of your book is a great way to increase sales. The subtitle gets to the heart of the book and convinces the reader of the book’s benefits. It lets people know that the book is unique and that they really can’t live without it. It makes the reader believe that he or she just can’t live without it – and that is your objective.
Check the following subtitles:
Woman-Sense Rules! – The Spiritual Woman’s Guide to Finding Yourself When You Didn’t Know You Were Missing
Fit to Cook – Why “Waist” Time in the Kitchen?
Climb Your Stairway to Heaven – the 9 habits of maximum happiness
Light the Fire – Fiery Food with a Light New Attitude!
Spell Success in Your Life – A road map for achieving your goals and surviving success
In the title and in the subtitle, you can use humor or emotions to sell your book, but avoid clichés and “corny” expressions, or overly common sayings. They soon become stale and annoying. Keep your title unique, catchy and relevant.
Before making the final decision on your title, conduct a title search (see our home study course, Idea to Book…to Success – the fast, easy, simple way! for instructions on title searches). Although you cannot copyright a title, duplicating titles only leads to confusion, and you want people to buy your book, not a competitor’s book. Make your title one that increases the likelihood of increasing your book sales.
About The Author
© Copyright 2004 Ink Tree Ltd.
Ink Tree Ltd. helps authors publish, market and sell books. From “101 Things You Need to Know About Publishing” to our Ultimate Book Marketing Kit, we will help you make your book a success. http://www.inktreemarketing.com
This article was posted on July 14, 2004