With the right title, your book can fly off the bookstore shelves, clog the internet wires and stuff your bank account full. But with the wrong title, it can languish untouched, unpurchased and unfulfilled. To create a best-selling title you must follow these guidelines.
Book buyers are a fickle lot. And while we all agree we can’t tell a book by its cover, we’re equally convinced that we can find out all we need to know by the title.
The title for your book my be precise, exact, even dynamic, but if it doesn’t ignite an emotional flame within the reader, no one will want to open the cover (or press the download button).
While we’re briefly discussing the two species of books, traditional paper and ink and electronically delivered ebook, you should be aware that the importance of the title is imperative to both. So, no matter what the final form will take, your selection of a winning title is essential.
I’ve seen truly outstanding books, that were poorly titled, fail miserably. While mediocre offerings with tremendous titles, gain notoriety, fame and financial success that they really didn’t deserve–based on their content.
Now, that’s not fair. But that’s the way things are. You can argue the fact all you want–and frankly I’d agree that you were right–but that’s doesn’t change the reality of the situation: two identical books, with different titles, will have different sales numbers.
Your job is to ensure that the title you develop is the title that will do you the most good!
So, let’s get started. The first thing you’ve got to do is stop being so emotional about the title of your book. Ever since you began writing it, you had the title in mind. If not the precise wording, then a very close estimate. Week after week you told friends and family about your book, the progress you were making and when they asked you what it was about, the first words out of your mouth were, “Well, it’s called, ‘(whatever title you had decided on)’ and it’s about…”
Over time, the title began to sound more and more real to you. It began to take on a life of it’s own, until finally, you reached the point where you couldn’t see it being called anything else. I mean, that title was so obvious, so explanatory, so near and dear to your heart. If I know you, you were the person who came up with it, right?
That’s what I mean by becoming emotional about the title. If someone, anyone, suggested a different title, you’d become defensive, even argumentative.
You want your book to be read by the largest number of people, don’t you. You want your book to be a work that many people are talking about (positively) don’t you? You want that book to be, at least a marginal, profit center for you, don’t you?
Well it ain’t going to happen if you use a title that is less effective than another title.
Let me put you in the proper frame of mind right now. The title you’ve created probably isn’t the best title for that book of yours. Sorry, but it’s true. In fact, I’ll bet money that it isn’t and I’ll be winning just about every time.
So, how do we get the right title for your book? It shouldn’t take long and it should cost you a lot of money, either.
On a piece of paper, write down the title you’ve chosen for your book. Now, let your mind wander and write down at least 10 other titles for your book. I don’t care how wacky or crazy they are, just write them down. After about the fifth one, you’ll have run out of wackiness and the titles will actually start to sound good.
Ten or 11, got it? Good!
Now, take the list around to as many friends as you can find. If you don’t have many friends, you can literally approach strangers. Say exactly the same thing to them as you show them the sheet with the title candidates.
“I’ve written a book and now I have to decide on a title. Based solely on the words which of these books would you most want to buy and read?
After you’ve asked about 100 people, a clear winner will start to emerge. Certainly you’ll know the top three.
Sorry, your pet title will probably not be among them.
And, no, it doesn’t matter that your book is a technical manual, or a gothic romance, or a guide for redecorating your kitchen. You’re asking these folks to select the title they prefer.
If you give lectures, it becomes really easy. Take the title candidates, show them to the audience on an overhead or a power point frame, and ask the audience the same question. Then count the hands for each title.
Now, if you want to get really good take the top three and create seven new titles. Actually design the new titles with the idea of beating the old champions. Run them all through the old opinion mill again.
A clear winner will emerge. That’s the title you should go with.
Is there a faster way of doing it? Sure but it will cost a few dollars. Go to Google.com, set up an AdWords account and place the 10 titles into 10 ads that you will rotate equally. Don’t worry, Google Ad Words will show you how to do this. You’ll have your answer in just a few days, a week tops.