Sunday, September 30, 2007

Book Cover Coaching: "I See Book Titles"

Book Titles Are Everywhere . . .
When you look at the world through "brand-colored" glasses

By Susan Kendrick

The other night I watched part of the movie The Sixth Sense. On Friday there was a great interview on NPR. Magazines of all kinds come through here. I look at and listen to everything for what might become the seed of a great book title, business tagline, sound bite or, in this case, the title for this article. Do you see how giving a twist to that famous line from The Sixth Sense created a fresh, unexpected, but very fitting title for this article topic? This is just one more bit of proof that book titles, taglines, and other branding sound bites are all around you, just waiting to be found.

Giving a twist to a familiar phrase is a great book title strategy. Any familiar phrase, even a famous line from a blockbuster movie, is so much a part of our common language that you can throw a twist into it and get that great “Aha!” reaction when you say it. And isn’t that the reaction you want for your book, your business, your brand? The same thing happens with “brand-colored” glasses, part of the headline of this article. With no explanation, you get the meaning because of your familiarity with the idea of looking at the world through rose-colored glasses. With that simple twist, I’ve given you a powerful way to remember a technique that will help you in all your marketing efforts (and where you heard it!). Imagine all the possibilities out there for you and your book or information product.

You can’t have much more fun than this! And, that fun, that life that springs out of you when you go trekking after a few good words that will become the title for your book or information product, headline, sizzling sound bite, or brand-building tagline, is the very thing that will help you find a truly great one.

Hard work is usually required to make the really big things happen in life. But hard work does not mean drudgery or brow-beating. Have fun. Be open. Look at everything around you through brand-colored glasses!

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

NEXT: Top 10 Book Title Strategies.

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

Book Cover Coaching: Book Title Copyrighting Quiz!

Take this Quiz ...
On Book Title Copyrights

By Susan Kendrick

On September 25, I promised you:
"The Copyright Quiz! What do these three bestselling books have in common?"

OK, here's the answer--the 3 current Amazon Bestsellers I'm thinking of are:
1. Blink
2. Into the Wild
3. L
ouder Than Words

And, what do they all have in common? They each have titles that also show up on other books! See what I mean, below, and how you can take away some important lessons for your books and book titles.

A Closer Look:

2005 Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell
2005 Blink, by Ted Dekker

Both of these books came out in 2005. Gladwell's was already a non-fiction bestseller who has generated an international following. Dekker is a fiction thriller writer who apparently has also enjoyed great commercial success. They each appeal to non-competing markets, so no overlap there. by the way, Blink also happens to be the name of a 2003 medical thriller movie.

1996 / 2007 Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer
2007 Into the Wild, by Sarah Beth Durst

Interestingly, Durst's children’s book, that shares the same name as Krakauer's now classic work, has been released in the same year as the movie release of KarKauer's book, directed by Sean Penn. While these books are clearly in non-competing markets, I'll bet that Durst’s book is getting a lot more notice than it ordinarily would as people go searching online for Krakauer's book (and finding things like this blog article as well). This usually happens to a book when the movie comes out; book sales swell dramatically as does online search activity.

2007 Louder Than Words, by Jenny McCarthy
2004 Louder Than Words, by Andy Stanley

Jenny McCarthy's new book is about her experience with her son's Autism. Stanley, a pastor, wrote a book about character and what you accomplish in life. But here's the deal with these two books. While the other book title cases above end up serving completely different markets--non-fiction vs. fiction and adults vs. children--the two Louder Than Words books are too closely related. They are both about quality of life and wellness in some way. And both were published just three years apart. These are both good enough reasons for them not to share the same title.

By the way, there are five other items listed on Amazon for this title. All are posted as "no image available" because they were published as long ago as 1976, and include two reports to the Rockefeller Foundation--not a lot of crossover or competition there. Note that there is a lot of useful information on Amazon to help you analyze book titles, book content,genres, and publishing dates, and where yours will fit in.

Each of the three duplicate book title cases above also shows the powerful effect of book marketing for a particular book. In each case, the better known of each of these book title doubles is getting the majority of the attention because it is more recent and/or because of the considerable marketing muscle behind it. Each is a case where not only did the book title make the book, but the book--and the marketing--is also making the title.

What does this mean for you?

Try your best to come up with a unique book title for your book. If you absolutely want to use a title that is already being used, make sure it is being used in a non-competing market. Also consider the company you keep. You don’t want your book listed alongside another book on a very different topic that will put you in a bad light. On the other hand, sharing Amazon space with a bestseller gives you that much more visibility when visitors go to that page. Again, just make sure you are in a non-competing book category.

Most importantly, make sure you do everything you can to create and market a book brand that gives you the lead in your market and helps you maintain and grow that lead. You never know when your title may turn up on somebody else’s book. In short, keep the golden rule in mind, and extend the same courtesy to your fellow authors that you would want them to give you.

For greater brand security, see my posting on September 25, “Copyrighting Book Titles, or Can Two Books Have the Same Name?” about how to develop an overall brand you can trademark, using the title phrase of your book.

Don't wait for your book to start getting noticed. You can get major online and media visibility for your book before it's even released. Find out how these authors did it at:

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

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

Book Cover Coaching: Book Titles--Top 5 Tips

Getting ready to write a book title?
Keep these 5 five basic tips in mind.

By Susan Kendrick

1. Use short words. Your book title should be easy to say, hear, and remember. Also, you’re going to talk about your book—a lot. Choose a book title you can live for a long time and that other people will want to talk about, too.

2. Don’t expect the title alone to do it all. Keep copy on your book's front cover to a minimum to create a billboard effect. This will be a big help to your book cover designer. The purpose of the book title and subtitle is to magnetically draw in readers and to get them to take a closer look, online or in a bookstore. The title hits them on some gut, intuitive, or emotional level. The subtitle then steps in to define the benefits of your book for your target audience--what it's about, who it's for, what it will do for you, the reader. You then have your book's back cover sales copy for a killer headline, sales copy, testimonials, and all the other details that will get them to buy your book.

3. Decide now if your book will be part of a series. If so, build that flexibility into the title of the first book so that subsequent titles and topics can easily fit into the series format. Think Chicken Soup for the Soul for

4. Check your best book title ideas on Google and Amazon. Chances are, if you've come up with a great book title, someone else has already have thought of it. Book titles cannot be copyrighted, but you don’t want your book to be confused with anyone else’s either. You want to create your own unique book brand and followingt. A unique book title also helps when you go to reserve it as the URL for your book’s website or book blog. This is another reason for a short, punchy title with key words that will make a simple, easy-to-remember domain name.

5. The biggest tip of all--especially when you are on your third page of book title ideas and still not coming up with one that works--is to first decide what you need to say then how to say it. Market positioning is everything. For a title with substance and flair, substance comes first.

A great book title pulls in not just readers, but also distributors, the media, corporate sponsors, cataogues, seminar companies, and more. Learn more than a dozen ways your book title can help you market your book at

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

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

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Book Cover Coaching: Copyrighting Book Titles, or Can Two Books Have the Same Name?

You Can't Copyright Your Book Title,
But You Can Trademark a Brand Based on Your Title!

By Susan Kendrick

Can You Copyright a Book Title? The short answer is No, you cannot copyright a book title.
HOWEVER . . . (and this is a big however) if you plan to use your title phrase as the name for a business, a brand, a line of products, etc., then yes, you can register the phrase as a trademark. And, this should be your goal anyway—to turn your expertise not just into a book, but into a complete business-building brand. Don’t hold back! Give yourself the expert status that will increase your visibility to more clients and customers, your credibility in your industry, and, of course, your income.

Important: There's a lot of online advice available on this topic, which mostly ends by pointing you to a good trademark attorney or suggesting you search the original government sources. So, here you go, the official word from and website addresses of the U.S. Copyright Office and the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Here's the official word--from the U.S. Copyright Office website:
By the way, this website also lists the complete copyright registration procedure.

From "Copyright Office Basics"

What works are protected?
Copyright protects “original works of authorship” that are fixed in a tangible form of expression.

What is not protected by copyright?
Several categories of material are generally not eligible for federal copyright protection. These include among others: Titles, names, short phrases, and slogans; familiar symbols or designs; mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, or coloring; mere listings of ingredients or contents.

Here’s the official word--from the U.S. Trademark Office website.
This website also contains the complete registration procedures you need.

From "What is Protected by a Trademark?"

Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights are three types of intellectual property protection. They are different and serve different purposes:
__ Patents protect inventions, and improvements to existing inventions.
__ Trademarks include any word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination, used, or intended to be used in commerce to identify and distinguish the goods of one manufacturer or seller from goods manufactured or sold by others, and to indicate the source of the goods. Service marks include any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used, or intended to be used, in commerce, to identify and distinguish the services of one provider from services provided by others, and to indicate the source of the services.
__ Copyrights protect literary, artistic, and musical works. For more information, visit the U.S. Copyright Office website listed above.

Could you sell 105,000 copies of your book--using just the title? This author did! Read how he and six other author experts are using their book titles to create mega brands for their businesses. Click here for the full story:

Please give us a at 715-634-4120 or email

The Copyright Quiz! What do these three bestselling books have in common?

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

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Book Cover Coaching: Find a Bestselling Book Title Right in Your Book

What A Thousand Splendid Suns can tell you about finding your bestselling title

By Susan Kendrick

Have you ever had that rush of recognition, that "Aha" when you finally run into the passage in a book that contains its title? This was the case, as it is with many books, when I read A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini.

The phrase “a thousand splendid suns,” from the poem by Saib-e-Tabrizi, is quoted twice in the novel. The first time is when Laila’s family prepares to leave Kabul. Given all we know about the characters at this point, the title comes alive in a new way. The phrase is repeated again when Laila decides to return to Kabul from Pakistan. It is also echoed in one of the final lines of the book.
Each time the meaning of this phrase deepens because of what we now know, what we have seen through the lens of the story.

What does this mean for you and your book?

This example is important because it illustrates the power of taking the title of your book from a phrase in the book itself. Remember, this was the Book Title No. 1 posting, called the “Look to Your Book” book title strategy. This strategy, and the Hosseini example, do beg the question, “Which came first, the title or the book?” Did Hosseini, a lover of poetry, have the phrase, "a thousand splendid suns" in mind for the title before he wrote the book? Or, did this piece of poetry become part of the writing of the book, and then become a natural choice for the title?

For you, an author looking for the best title for your book, this second possibility should send you straight back into the pages of your own manuscript. Look for a phrase that stands out with such power--on its own and within the context of the book as a whole--that it becomes a strong candidate for your book title. Another thing to consider is that for your readers, finding the title of your book within its pages produces the same reaction described above. That phrase, the title, suddenly takes on much greater significance because they now understand it within a larger context of your book. What a great way for your readers to feel that satisfying sense of oneness with your message and loyalty to you as its author.

Again, “Look to Your Book” for the hidden gem that may be waiting to become your book title. It’s a proven method for many a bestseller and one that will gratify your readers as well, deepening their appreciation for you and what you have to offer them.

Get more help with book cover writing and design. Find out how to get 12 other bestselling book title strategies, plus insider advice from a leading book cover designer, when you click here:

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

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

Monday, September 17, 2007

Book Cover Coaching: Book Titles--One-Word Wonders

Book Title Strategy No. 2:
One-Word Wonders

By Susan Kendrick

As promised in my last post, Book Titles No.1, we’re taking a look at Bill Clinton’s new book Giving, released on September 4, 2007. The celebrity status of this author notwithstanding, Knopf Publishing Group gave this book the added advantage of one of the most powerful and reliable book title strategies out there: The One-Word Wonder. A quick look at similar titles shows the effect they have on our collective psyche and on our buying habits.

Here are other one-word titles, most from the New York Times bestseller list:

Blink . . . . . . . . . Malcolm Gladwell
Freakonomics . . . Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
Godless . . . . . . . .Ann Coulter (along with her other books with one-word titles)
Leadership . . . . . Tom Peters (first in a series of four books, all with one-word titles)
Winning . . . . . . . Jack and Suzy Welch

I list these authors because most of them, like Bill Clinton, are well-known for other books or a long-standing reputation. And that’s the point for you. Using a one-word title gives your book that same presence, that I’ve-already-arrived kind of authority, the sense that you are the leader in your field—which you are, now that you’ve written a book on it.

Here’s why these titles work:

1.) They make the greatest visual impact on your front cover—fewer words creates the “billboard” effect you want
2.) They are authoritative in their simplicity
3.) They turn a common word into something memorable, now associated with your book
4.) They still have a subtitle that clinches the deal with details like who the book is for, what it’s about, and what you get out of it
5.) They are often easier than other kinds of titles that require coming up with the right mix of a few choice words.

How to create a One-Word Wonder:

One-word book titles are an overstatement or oversimplicaiton of your topic. Say it like it is, “My book is about ____________,” and create a list of possible titles that way. Try key word searches to find what words other people use when they look for information on your topic. SEO words will also put you ahead in web searches when you post your book or product on websites and blogs.

Let’s dissect these titles:
__ Giving and Winning are each A Positive or Desired Act
__ Blink is A verb, a Command to do something, take action
__ Freakonomics is A New Term, that in this case brings together for the first time two seemingly opposing ideas. It rocks the boat and takes us in a new direction.
__ Godless is a An Adjective, a Condition; it suggests a problem or a controversy
__ Leadership is A Noun, a Discipline; it positions itself as the definitive word, that it speaks not just to a part of leadership, but the entire field

These titles use a proven formula from the world of products, celebrities, and movies. A name like Nike, Apple, Google, Bono, Tiger, Titanic, Rocky, and OK, Borat, is more than just a product, a person, or a way to kick back on a Saturday night. They each have become worldwide brands. Granted, there is more to them and their creation than just the name, but that one word gave them their star appeal. Your book will also have to live up to the promise of its good name. But again, that one word helps you, right from the start, to stand out from the crowd and get noticed.

The real secret to these titles

One-Word Wonders are easy--easy to say, easy to remember, and easy to talk about. That makes them easy to promote and easy to love. A bestselling book like “Blink” or “Giving” seems to have no rival. It seems to be the definitive word. It inspires confidence. It seems to be in a category by itself. And, isn’t that what you want for your book?

Did you know that the last thing most people usually think about when publishing their books and information products is the first thing you can do to start making money?
Click here to learn more:

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

NEXT: Book titles can’t be copyrighted--what does this mean for you?
Plus, look for an upcoming post about URLs for One-Word Wonders.

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

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Book Cover Coaching: Book Titles--Look inside Your Book

Book Title Strategy No. 1:
"Look to Your Book"

By Susan Kendrick

For his book, "Swim With the Sharks (Without Being Eaten Alive)" Harvey Mackay reports that he hired a creative team to hold focus groups to generate possible titles. They included “Swim With the Sharks” among the 800 titles voted on in the final ballot!

Yes, many great book titles are painstakingly developed, and some just happen. But most are usually a combination of both--strategy and serendipity, science and art, logic and (dare I say it?) pure luck. For the strategy part of the equation, having a systematic process in place saves you time, money, and the aggravation of pages and pages of ideas that are going nowhere. Here, then, is the first of many title strategies you can confidently use to come up with a book title that has bestseller written all over it.

How to "Look To Your Book"

Manuscripts are one of the most overlooked sources for a great title. Either on your own or with help from someone else who can bring new eyes to your text, read through your Table of Contents, Introduction, Chapters, even a Foreword if you have one. You are not reading for content, but for individual words and phrases that capture the essence of your book in some compelling way.

For example, sometimes you can find in your own writing an especially bold, concise, or even poetic way of saying something. It may be a phrase that speaks to a need for your book. It may relate to a benefit of reading your book. It may not encompass your entire message, but it points to it in such a powerful or offbeat way that it suddenly jumps out at you. Again, having someone else look through your manuscript is helpful because they are seeing and hearing the language you use for the first time.

Next, look for words, phrases, or expressions that are uniquely yours. Without noticing, you may have coined a new term that will set you apart from everyone else writing on your topic. Look, for example, at bestselling books like "Freakonomics." A great chapter title or heading can also translate into a powerful book title. You have no doubt already spent time coming up with these. And, while no one by itself will summarize your entire book, one chapter title or heading can express a key point that becomes an anchor for your overall idea or approach.

Finally, look for vivid images in your text. "Swim with the sharks" is a great example. An image that like might come from your picturesque way of talking in your book. If you see an image, grab it and see if it can be used as a title. Again, it may not sum up your entire message, but it does give people a strong visual that they then associate with you and your book--a great first step toward creating a powerful brand.

One more place to look for words and phrases is in the testimonials you are collecting for your manuscript, or in advance reviews you are getting for your book, which may only be circulating under an adaquate working title for now. Like the Foreword, testimonials and reviews are written by other people who talk about you and your book differently than you do. They may see things that you don't or describe your message or approach in sharp, colorful ways. Look through their comments for words and phrases that could make a great title.

As a friend of mine used to say, and what I find to be true in most situations: "The solution is always close at hand." So, "Look to Your Book" for the title you need to bring your message to life. It's true, sometime people simply miss the obvious. To learn 13 ways you can sell your book using the one powerhouse book marketing tool most authors don't even consider, click here:

Please give us a at 715-634-4120 or email

NEXT: The Title Strategy used by Bill Clinton's new book and other bestsellers.

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