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Writing a Book Title That Sells - Part 1
One of the most important parts to making sure your book stays in people’s minds is by writing an excellent title. Think about the book titled Seabiscuit; a book that shot up the NY Times best-seller listings like the racehorse it was written about. Two other options for the title were Dark Horse and Four Good Legs – do you think either of those titles would have made it sell any more? The point is this – predicting how well a book will do is almost impossible but it is a proven fact that the title is one of the best marketing tools at your disposal. Another example for you – have you ever heard of a book called Men Who Hate Women? No? that is the original translation of a trilogy that was renamed to appeal to the English language market – The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.
So how do you go about coming up with a title that sells?
Book titles are a combination of art and science with a pinch of knowing the market thrown in for good measure. If your book is with a major publishing house then I guarantee you, you probably won't be asked about the title – just about every department in the publishing house will have a say, even the book buyers for the big sellers will join in. If you are self-publishing, that title is down to you so you must understand what goes into it. It isn’t just a reflection of the content; the title needs to create some kind of emotional response among your potential readers.
On occasion, a really catchy book title will come to mind while you are writing or the editor will come up with something very quickly while they read through your manuscript. More often than not, though, it involves quite a bit of time and effort, not to mention headaches from thinking. Sometimes, a brainstorming session is required, ideas being thrown around by all involved; you might get that “aha” moment, you might not.
If you are trying to think of a great title, structured brainstorming may be just the thing to get you on the right track.
Step 1: Think About What Your Book Title Needs to Convey
What idea does your book title need to convey? Write down what your book is promising your readers and then, from that, write a list of ideas; add in what kind of response you want from your readers and a list of words that might describe those responses. Let’s say that your book is a simple one, designed to help youngsters start learning to read. Some of your ideas might include:
It encourages a child to read;
The title must be appealing enough to draw in readers who might be reluctant;
The readers must be able to identify with my characters;
Reading is a fun thing to do;
Reading isn’t a job;
I must make them want to read this book;
And so on like that.
When you have your list, or at least you have started writing it, you can move on to the next step.
Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Anne-Marie Reynolds