Your book title is your first marketing decision
Choosing a title for your book is certainly a creative decision, but it is also your first marketing decision because your book title can greatly help or hinder the sale of your book. While most authors usually have a title in mind when they first start writing their manuscript, it is worth considering the following tips before you select a final title for your book.
Short can be sweet . . . and memorable
Think about the book titles you remember. I suspect many have short titles. Try to come up with a title for your book that has no more than four or five words at most. For whatever reason, it seems like a lot of titles have three words in them. The Hunger Games and The Tipping Point are examples. Keep that in mind as you craft your title.
Avoid words that are obscure, hard to pronounce, or spell
Sometimes in an attempt to be provocative authors will choose words that are unusual in an attempt to standout. Don’t be tempted. Obscure words are great for scoring points in Scrabble, but for book titles.
Give readers a hint about what they will find in the book
Again some authors will attempt to be coy thinking they should be obscure or provocative and tease readers with the title. Not a good plan. Make it memorable but don’t confuse readers or make them guess what the book may be about.
Know your genre
While it is important to be unique, it is also important to understand what the latest trends are and what is appropriate for your genre. You can learn that by looking at on-line retailers, the titles of a respected publisher in your genre or visiting your local bookstore or library.
Have a clear subtitle for your nonfiction book
If you are writing a nonfiction book a subtitle can really help readers understand what they will get from reading the book. A great example is a book published by Berrett Koehlertitled, Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em, with the subtitle, Getting Good People to Stay. This is a great example of a catchy short title, with a great subtitle.
Do your research
Once you have a title or titles you like, do some research to see if there are books out there in your genre with the same or a similar title. I have been surprised over the years, how many authors chose a title without doing a simple internet search on an online retailer to see if that title is already being used.
Ask your readers what they think
If you have viable options for a title, you may be able to engage your readers to determine your best title. If you have a blog or mailing list, you can present the title candidates to potential readers and let them vote. Along with learning which title like the most, you also help market the new book before it’s available.
About Keith Ogorek
Keith Ogorek brings the unique perspective of executive and author, having self-published three books during his six-year tenure as senior vice president of marketing with Author Solutions – a Penguin Random House company. A recognized industry thought leader, Ogorek has spoken at leading publishing conferences including Book Expo America, The San Francisco Writers Conference, Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference, The Writer’s Digest Conference, and The Publishing & Creativity Conference for Writers.