Monday, October 8, 2007

Book Cover Coaching: The Positioning Power of Subtitles

Google News Alert for:
Book Titles and Subtitles

By Susan Kendrick

Whatever your politics . . . If you're working on a title for your book, you will learn an important lesson from this interview!

These Google News Alerts will be a regular feature on this blog. Subscribe to this blog now (see form on left) to get both the alert and the commentary you will find only here at "Book Cover Coaching"!

October 7, 2007
BALTIMORE SUN -- October 8, 2007

RE: Columnist Liz Smith, on TV commentator Chris Matthews’ new book, “Life’s a Campaign”

About the interview, Liz says:
“I REMONSTRATED with Chris over the name of his book, saying that people who aren't hot into politics might not be interested from the title. He nodded, "Yes, I know. But I subtitled it 'What Politics Has Taught Me About Friendship, Rivalry, Reputation and Success.'"

According to Liz, this works: "I had already read the book and found it a general primer for how to succeed in life by studying those around you. And it's a whiz."

What this Google News Alert means for you:
Make sure your book title and subtitle work together to pull people in. In this case, the book's title, Life’s a Campaign, is a twist on the phrase, "Life’s a Carnival" or perhaps, "Life's a B----"? Either way, author Chris Mathews sets us up for the overall tone and content of the book. Notice the main topic word in the title, “Campaign,” so we know what the book’s about . . . almost!

And that's the point here. This is where Chris deftly cozies up to a subtitle that uses the strategy of quickly moving from the specific to the general--that is, from a niche topic to a larger, crowd-pleasing look at life and how we live it. In this case, the specifics are “campaigns” and “politics” . . . which quickly shifts to the general arena of “friendship, rivalry, reputation, and success.” Together, the book's title and subtitle seem to say, "Hey, if you're not especially into politics, no problem--expect more and get it in this high-stepping look at life, through what just happens to be this particular lens."

Could this book title and subtitle strategy work for you?
Make sure your book title and subtitle work together to pull people in: Create a title and subtitle combo that identifies the topic AND sets the tone. In this case, the book title strategy was "Use a Twist on a Familiar Phrase." Then, pair up that title with a subtitle that comes in to deliver the perfect punchline.
Don't wait for your book to get noticed by major media. You can, and should, start promoting your book before it's even released, using one simple book marketing tool. Find out how these authors did it at:

See this Google News Alert on Book Titles and Subtitles in its entirety at

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

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