First impressions matter – in life as well as in publishing.
Whether you like it or not, your book title is crucial in drawing the eyeballs and persuading them about the appeal of your book.
As a publishing agency, we are reminded on a daily basis how Titles can make or break a book. So, we wanted to give the authors an introduction to choosing a powerful book title and help them avoid the most common mistakes.
What is the Purpose of a Book Title?
A powerful book title fulfills 3 crucial functions –
- A good title communicates the essence of your book to the reader. It points the readers towards the specific outcomes or benefits they can achieve through your book.
- A powerful title creates an emotional connect with the reader – usually by creating an intense an instant desire for more information.
- An impactful title is unique and original so that your book stands out in the minds of the reader.
What are the features of a powerful Book Title?
It is true – a great title can’t save a shitty book but, a shitty title can destroy prospects of a great book. We often see the writers losing out on the potential audience on account of a title that fails to create a connection and recall.
So, we have come up with 5 important characteristics that will add power to your book title –
- Book Titles are for the readers – This is fundamental to the impact of a book. Especially for non-fiction and how-to books, the title must answer the crucial question of the target reader – What’s in it for me? I.e. It must immediately tell the readers what results the book will give them.
- Short – Your book title should be concise and precise – ideally within 5 or 6 words. If you need more explanation save it for the subtitle. Having a short title has a digital advantage – it will fit into the URLs and tweets which have word limits. Additionally, a shorter title would be easier to type and say – boosting the word of mouth potential.
- Easy to pronounce and spell – If the words in your title need the readers to refer to the dictionary or are difficult to pronounce, it will negatively affect the prospect of the book. Also, you will be spending a lot of time correcting your readers and media, which is not a pleasant experience. Try saying your title aloud. Does it flow on your tongue? Does it convey the meaning right on the surface?
- Easy to Remember – Your title should be original and unique creating long-term recall and visibility in the minds of the consumer. Punchy or witty wordplay that creates an emotional impact would be ideal.
- Descriptive – Your title should describe the central theme of the book. You should include keywords that reflect the most important person, idea or emotion in the title. Also, try to make it highlight the book genre.
What are the Common Pitfalls to Avoid?
Here are 4 common mistakes authors should avoid while picking their Book’s title –
- One word titles – One-word titles will put your book at a disadvantage on the digital media. One word titles usually get buried in the search results or end up in topics unrelated to your book. They also increase the chance of duplication of titles and variations robbing the uniqueness of the book.
- Duplication – Make a thorough check-up of book titles to ensure that you are not using a title/variation of an existing book.
- Punctuation – This is important because not all punctuation especially special characters are not accepted on the URL of website names.
- Non-representative titles – Titles that do not adequately represent the content and utility of your book will make the readers feel disillusioned.
How to Zero in on a High Impact Book Title?
Choosing a book title is a process – You will go through many working titles before picking the title that represents your book, promotes your book and is relatable to the audience
Here is a basic roadmap that will give you a rudimentary idea about how you can go about choosing your book title –
- Market research – Market research involves finding the comparable/peer titles in your niche market. Make a note of words and phrases used in the book titles, subtitle, description, and reviews. This will give you a list of keywords and phrases that will convey the theme and industry of your book. Additionally, you will know the trends and will be able to update your title accordingly.
- List of options – Brainstorm to get as many ideas/ options for book titles as you can. Then weed out the ones that do not meet the basic characteristic criteria and narrow down the list to 5 or 6 options.
- Test the Titles – Test the book title with your colleagues and family members or your mentors. You could also enlist the assistance of your publisher here. If you want further assurances, you can request your publisher to conduct reader testing with their resources
- Pick the Title – Now, armed with all the information, pick out the perfect and powerful title for your book.
Should you involve a professional in finalizing the Book Title?
A qualified professional with experience and insight into the industry-specific publishing market will definitely add value for title selection. But such exclusive and standalone hiring may not be the best option in terms of cost and cohesiveness.
You will be better served by specifying your need for professional assistance in picking your Book title while negotiating your contract with your publishing agency. In fact, at The Books Factory, we consider picking book title an essential service and include it in all our packages.
Call to Action
A Book title has to create an instant impression and emotional connect along with the long-term recall. As the title is a crucial component of publishing a bestseller, its importance can not be stressed more.
To know more about how you can pick a powerful book title and instantly draw the attention of your prospective audience, schedule a free 30-minute strategy call with The Books Factory – Click Here.