Whoever said, “You can’t judge a book by its cover”, wasn’t in the publishing business. Some studies show that potential readers make their purchasing decision within the first three seconds of picking up a book. Not only do you need a great cover, you also need a great title to make sales. Unfortunately, the title is often an afterthought for many authors.
Here are some great tips on picking a title that gives your book every chance for success.
Create intrigue or mystery –Don’t give away all your book’s secrets. Make your reader want more. This is especially true for fiction. Avoid using phrases that are inside jokes or are vague references to themes in the work. Great Expectations, Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea and The Devil In the White City are all good examples of using intrigue and mystery.
Funny Sells -If you’ve written a funny book, write a funny title. This isn’t always easy, but it’s extremely important when writing parody, comedy or satire. Erma Bombeck was great at this, a couple of our favorites: When You Look Like Your Passport Photo, It’s Time to Go Home and Motherhood: The Second Oldest Profession. James Finn Garner’s, Politically Correct Bedtime Stories is another great example.
Make a Promise-Make a promise to your readers that you’re going to fulfill. This is especially effective with “How To” books. Suzanne Somers, Sexy Forever: How to Fight Fat after Forty and Dale Carnegie’s, How to Win Friends and Influence People perfectly identify to the reader what they’ll receive.
The Shorter the Better-Titles that are too long are difficult for cover designers. You don’t have to over explain your content. In fact, some of the best titles only have one word: Night, Hamlet and Matilda.
Sadly, the following authors didn’t read this blog.