Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Name Game

No matter how wonderful the content of your book may be, if it isn’t packaged with pizzazz, your book may never sell. What makes anyone pick up a book when browsing the bookshelf? Color and design play a big part, but the title is usually what catches anyone’s attention. When the title is intriguing, the reader is tempted to pick it up and turn to the back cover for more. 

How many words are too many when it comes to your book’s title? Is one word too short to get the message across or to pique the interest of readers? Although there is no tried and true formula for naming your book, you can learn a lot from studying other book titles. How do these popular book titles grab you?

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, by Isabel Wilkerson
One Drop: My Father’s Hidden Life – A Story of Race and Family Secrets, by Bliss Broyard
The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
It, by Stephen King
Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill
The Power of Intention: Learning to Co-create Your World Your Way, by Wayne Dyer

As a self-publisher, you have more control over your book’s title than if you were using a traditional publishing house. You also have 100 percent of the responsibility for knowing your ideal readers, what they want, and for developing a title that will attract them immediately.  

Keep these tips in mind as you mull over the Name Game:

Captivating  – Use your creativity to make the title stand out. Use double entendre, puns, or other grammatical tricks/gimmicks to make readers curious enough to pick up your book. Using rhyme or alliteration will also add interest.

Imaginative – Choose descriptive words for your book to evoke mental imagery and give readers a taste of what’s inside.

Informative – Use a subtitle to give a clear description of your book's content if the title doesn’t give an obvious meaning. You don’t want purchasers to think they are buying a cookbook, when the content is really about rocket science.

Target – Keep your target audience in mind. If your book is serious in tone, don’t use a title that is cute or funny. 

Test – Develop several possible book titles and invite friends, colleagues, or a sample group of your target audience to choose their favorite title. This informal survey could prove helpful in selecting a great title.  

A lot of brainstorming, creativity, and experimenting is involved in crafting a title that says the most in the fewest number of words. Apply these tips and stay committed to creating a title that let’s your book shout “Read me!”

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