How to Choose the Best Title for Your Self Published Book

by Helen Hecker - Date: 2006-12-12 - Word Count: 582 Share This!

Authors, self publishers and book publishers often spend a lot of time thinking over possible titles for an upcoming book they plan to publish and rightly so. There are some basic considerations to keep in mind when choosing a title, assuming you're publishing a non-fiction book.

The most important thing to remember is to choose a title that describes exactly what the book is about. Some of you may think this is common sense. But many publishers I've talked to have chosen titles that don't give you any idea of what is in the book.

Many times publishers come up with cute, clever or humorous titles that offer the prospective buyer no clues.

Bookstores don't like to carry books that don't say exactly what the book is about. After all, many customers browse the spines of books on the bookshelves in search of the information they need.

Say your book is about repairing Volkswagen engines. If you pick a title like "My Life with Cutie Patootie" instead of "How to Fix Your Volkswagen Beetle Engine", you're signing a death warrant to your publishing efforts.

I recall a case when two titles came out about the same time. Both had the same title - "When the Bough Breaks." They were similar in content but who knew what gems might really be inside. The books never had a chance without a descriptive title.

Publishers often find themselves in this 'title' dilemma after they publish their book. They have two options. Go back for another print run with the new title or continue to throw money down the drain and market the 'heck' out of the book. Granted they'll sell some if they're persistent but nothing like the rewards a good title would bring.

In any case, you want your title to be simple and exact for the search engines. And a 'how to' in your title guarantees you a lot more 'hits' from Google and the other search engines. After all, people use Google to search for information they need NOW - help that fills their needs, wants and desires. As a result, traffic will increase to your website or any other website that carries or mentions your book.

Besides bookstores and Google, librarians like titles that describe the book exactly. They're likely to order more copies for their patrons. Librarians don't necessarily order just one copy. They order multiples, for the main branch and all the branches. Don't overlook them as a good source for sales.

I've seen many titles make or break publishers with great marketable non-fiction books. In some cases they were forced to change the title and go back for another print run - expensive. Some couldn't afford to do it. They were stuck with a garage full of books on pallets. Don't let this happen to you.

Knowing all of this, if you absolutely can't bear the thought of giving up your 'working title', then use it for the sub-title. But using it as the title will guarantee a slow but certain death to your publishing and marketing efforts.

The title is the most important decision you'll have to make when you publish a book.

To be safe, authors, self publishers and book publishers need to make sure they choose the best title for their book - a title that says exactly what their book is about. What it contains. No guesswork. And a 'how to' in the title will never be outdated or go out of style. Everyone will appreciate knowing what the book is about and a lot more copies will be sold.

Related Tags: help, marketing, how to, author, publish, self publishing, self publisher, book publisher, book title

Helen Hecker heads Twin Peaks Press since 1982. Helps publishers sell more books & ebooks. AP style press releases, mailing lists, online marketing.Get Tips for Publishers - Weeklyat

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