7 Highly Effective Rules for the Perfect Book Title

7 Highly Effective Rules for the Perfect Book Title

7 Highly Effective Rules for the Perfect Book Title RULE #1: Shorter is better. In this day and age of social media,140-character limitations, websites, and shorter attention spans, a long title is a risky title.

Short titles make for better domain names, better tweets, better links, and easier searches. If your book requires a longer title due to its complexity, consider an abbreviated title, and then a longer, keyword-infused subtitle (See Rule 5 below).

That’s not to suggest you use one-word titles, either. Those are just as dangerous, because single words are either nouns, verbs, or adjectives. It is difficult to be unique with such a common type of word. For example, Heaven may be the ideal title for your book, but do you really want to compete with the 481 million results that Google finds?

A three-to-four-word title is optimal. It’s short enough for marketing, promotion, and today’s attention spans, while still offering enough flexibility to follow the rest of the rules below…

Examples: The Grapes of Wrath. The Great Gatsby. Crime and Punishment.

RULE #2: It must be easy to remember. If your marketing efforts are paying off, you may reach the attention of a potential buyer when he or she is otherwise preoccupied. But if your book title is easy to remember, you increase the chances of that person finding it later that day on Amazon. Word-of-mouth advertising is the best advertising there is, but only if the mouths remember what to say. There are several tricks to creating a memorable title: alliteration, contradiction, and provocation.

Examples: Of Mice and Men. War and Peace. To Kill a Mockingbird.

RULE #3: It must be easy to pronounce. That means no looo-oong words. None. Not only are long words difficult to remember and pronounce, but they might also conflict with Rule #1 above. As if you needed any more reasons not to title your book Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanokoniosis: The Story of a Miner and His Disease.

Titles that are difficult to pronounce are difficult to remember, and therefore difficult to buy. And it makes word-of-mouth advertising that much harder, because no one wants to be embarrassed by mispronouncing a book title.

Examples: The Godfather. Moby Dick. Tom Sawyer.

RULE #4: It should be unique. Granted, with over one million titles published annually, this is becoming the exception, rather than the rule. But, nevertheless, make every effort to arrive at a wholly original and unique title for your book. Conduct a Google search and then search on Amazon. See what comes up in both results and ask yourself if you want to compete with the results you see. The Sound and the Fury may be the perfect title for your book, but do you really want to compete with William Faulkner?

Examples: The Catcher in the Rye. Gulliver’s Travels. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

RULE #5: Make it count! A title has to evoke some sort of emotion: happiness, fear, curiosity, even disgust. But make sure it strikes a chord. There is no point in completing Rules 1-4 and then conceiving of title like White Bread. The title has to conjure up feelings within the reader to increase the chances of closing the sale.

Examples: Great Expectations. As I Lay Dying. American Psycho

RULE #6: Throw out all those rules when creating your subtitle. Your subtitle should be long. It probably won’t be easy to remember. Some words might not even be easy to pronounce. And, once again, Rule 4 is probably the exception, because your subtitle most likely will be unique. In fact, it is imperative that your subtitle is solely unique and original. And it probably won’t evoke any emotions. That’s not its purpose. Its purpose is to capture the attention of search engines.

Today’s savvy authors infuse their subtitle with descriptive, relevant keywords or phrases to appear higher in search results.  When a book buyer wants to solve a particular problem, they type keywords related to that problem into Google or Amazon and look at the results for the most promising solution.

If you have written a non-fiction book addressing that very problem, you want to ensure your book comes up high in those search results. The way you rank higher in organic search results is by creating a subtitle rich in relevant keywords.

While a long, keyword/phrase-infused subtitle is less applicable to fiction books (and even less so to poetry and children’s books), it never hurts to include a subtitle. Is a buyer interested in futuristic detective novels more likely to buy a novel titled The Watch List, or is he more likely to buy The Watch List: A Mystery Thriller in the 21st Century? Is a reader interested in Tahitian love stories more likely to by a novel titled Summer Seclusion, or is she more likely to buy Summer Seclusion: A Romance in the Southern Seas?



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Warmest Regards, Coyalita

Behavioral Health Rehabilitative Specialist & Addiction Counselor

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