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Wednesday, December 18, 2019

How To Choose The Most Effective Title and Subtitle For Your Book

Image result for book title images 


How do you come up with a really good title for a book? 

In An Influential Author by Gregory Diehl, this topic is explored in detail. Here are some excerpts from his book:

It seems unfair that an author can spend more time and incur greater stress while crafting the perfect title and subtitle than they do while writing entire chapters.  Because titles are limited to so few words, the influence of every syllable must be carefully considered.  Adding or removing a single word can affect how attractive and saleable the book appears. If you phrase something in a less-than-optimal way, you might ruin the title’s memorability.  If you try to stuff in too many keywords to appeal to search algorithms, you will make your title ugly for human shoppers.

Write A Great Title Does
A great nonfiction title doesn’t just say what’s in the book. It invokes selective curiosity from a certain type of person by informing them about the book’s practical benefits and the ways it will accomplish them. Newbie authors often want their work to carry an important-sounding, hypercreative, often cutesy label. That’s how they want the world to know them and their work. But too much elegance in what should be a simple and straightforward title obscures the meaning of a book. The fancy phrase you think captures your message might be lost on other people who don’t hold the same insider perspective and associations as you.

An effective nonfiction title and subtitle combination should:
·         Contain the most commonly searched keywords related to the book’s message.
·         Sound pleasant and easy to say out loud.
·         Stick in the memory.
·         Paint a clear picture of the book’s tone and subject.
·         Be free of obscure or esoteric jargon (unless the book is targeting obscure or esoteric readers).
·         State or imply what kind of readers the book is written for.
·         Not be easily confused for the name of another creative work.
·         Incite curiosity and intrigue from the book’s target audience.

Title Testing
Like every other area of your book’s presentation, you shouldn’t trust solely your own opinion about the title and subtitle. You are too familiar with the implied meaning of your tentative title to be objective about its reception. You cannot isolate its working from your background knowledge. The most basic title test you can perform is to ask people, without further prompt or context, what they think your book is about when they hear or read its prospective title.  Their responses might be different than you expect. They might have a different interpretation of the tone or intended audience.  Repeat simple title tests like this with your beta readers and other people who fit your target readership. Eventually, you will find unity between intention and interpretation.


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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2019. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

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