Saturday, October 13, 2007

Book Cover Coaching: Book Titles--Choose Clarity Over Cleverness

Book Title Strategy No. 3:
Choose Clarity Over Cleverness

By Susan Kendrick

Everyone wants a book title that's fresh and original—a real attention grabber. But in the drive to be clever, you can easily sacrifice clarity. If your book title is catchy, but no one knows what it's about, it's not doing you any favors. It's one of the reasons many books fail before before they even get out of the starting gate.

IMPORTANT: Be very clear in your book title. Say what your book is about, especially for non-fiction books that offer information people need and are looking for. Also remember that your non-fiction book will become the most powerful lead generator for your business. Make sure your book title speaks to your credibility as the expert on your topic and a leader in your industry.

Is This You?
Anyone who is churning out pages and pages of book title ideas needs to pay attention. Those ideas can start to be a rehashing of words and phrases that no longer bring out the essence of the book.

The Name-Tag Approach

To create a title that is clear, think of your book title as a name tag. If you are a book, and I walk up to you in a crowded room (like a bookstore or Amazon), will I know exactly who you are and what you do--just from looking at your name tag?

Try This Exercise
Fill in the blanks of the five following book title templates, below. Remember, your name tag is the way to get a conversation started with your reader, or anyone else in the room for that matter--distributors, radio hosts, magazine and newspaper editors, etc.

A few of the following book title templates may work better for you than others, but try all five to see what happens. And, fill each of them in a few times to loosen up your thinking and experiment with clear but different kinds of answers.

ROUND 1 -- Bestselling Book Title Templates

1. This book is the ultimate guide to _________________________________________

2. Reading this book is a proven way to be a _________________________________

3. Reading this book is a proven way to have a _______________________________

4. This book shows you how to get from _________________ to __________________

5. The wisdom in this book unlocks your capacity to___________________________

RULE: Decide WHAT to say, then HOW to say it. Then, once you have your name tag in place, you can tweak it to create a certain tone and feel. Add a word that interjects some fun, warmth, trust, authority, calm, excitement--whatever will enhance the effect you want it to have on your target market. You can also add words that show who the book is for, when to use it, etc., to add even more clarity.

ROUND 2 -– These Book Title Templates, used by Amazon Bestsellers

1. This book is the ultimate guide to
Getting Things Done
By David Allen

2. Reading this book is a proven way to be a Sneaky Chef
By Missy Chase Lapine

3. Reading this book is a proven way to have a Four-Hour Work Week
By Timothyb Ferriss

4. This book shows you how to get from
Good to Great
By Jim Collins

The wisdom in this book unlocks your capacity to Eat, Pray, Love
By Elizabeth Gilbert

See how much you know about these book just from their titles?
And you haven’t even gotten to the subtitles yet!

What else you can do right now?
Look around at the book titles that capture your attention. Dissect them to see how clearly they tell you what they are about. Then see what else in the title pulls you in.

For example, on my desk right now, I have a copy of Dan Poynter's book, The Self-Publishing Manual. This title says exactly what the book is about. Dan then uses the word “Manual” to further show that this is the definitive guide on this subject. And, now in its 16th edition, this book lives up to its good name.

An Example of Template #1:
This book is the ultimate guide
to Self-Publishing

Remember the Rule!
Decide WHAT to say, then HOW to say it. You’ll save yourself time, aggravation, and be in a much better position to come up with a bestselling title for your book. Hear what Dan Poynter, John Kremer, Rick Frishman and others have to say about “unlocking your capacity to . . . Take Your Book to the Top!” Click here:

Questions? Please give us a call at 715-634-4120 or email

© Copyright 2007, Susan Kendrick, Write to Your Market, Inc.

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