Monday, February 18, 2008

Book Cover Coaching: The "Squeaky Green" Book Title

The "Squeaky Green" Book Title

How a Twist on a Familiar Phrase
Created the Perfect Book Title for Method

(And how you can clean up on your book title, too!)

By Susan Kendrick

Great book titles deserve to be talked about. And, they are! A few short words in just the right combination quickly create their own kind of buzz that gets people excited and talking about "that new book." That "Ahh" and "Wow!" factor is exactly what we're after when we develop book titles and subtitles for authors and publishers. It's also what we look for and celebrate in the books we post in these articles. That's because every fresh, innovative book title you hear about puts you that much closer to developing your own bestselling titles, for your own books, ebooks, and information products.

Why Squeaky Green Works

Squeaky Green is written by co-authors Adam Lowry and Eric Ryan, founders of Method, the San Francisco-based company that makes ecologically sound cleaning products. Method is featured in this month's Fast Company magazine as one of The World's 50 Most Innovative Companies. You can also learn more about Method at

Lowry and Ryan's Squeaky Green is a perfect example of a powerful book cover strategy: Use a twist on a familiar phrase. This strategy works so well because it combines something already familiar to people--a well known phrase, in this case "squeaky clean"--with a fresh twist that makes it unique, memorable, and best of all, something that people now associate with you and your message. Given Method's eco-friendly "green" product line, Squeaky Green is a no-brainer. It is one of those book titles that strikes you as completely right in every way.

Here's something else you can learn from this book and these authors. Take a look at the subtitle: "The Method Guide to Detoxing Your Home" comes in to clarify the content of the book and the benefit to the reader. And, unlike some books that might save the name of the company for mention on the back cover, Squeaky Green promotes the Method company right up front in this subtitle.

This does two things: 1.) It gives Method instant visibility as the company and product line behind this book. 2.) And, perhaps more importantly for market positioning, it shows that the company is as committed to consumer education and support as it is to quality products. This is just one more way this truly innovative company rises, yet again, heads and shoulders above the competition to creat a whole new playing field and then dominate it right from the start. See how you can learn from their example.

"Pre-Order This Item Today"

Or, why wait to start profiting from your book? Squeaky Green is also a good example of how to use your book cover to sell your book before the book itself is even released. You can see on Amazon that the official release date of this book is April 1, 2008. Yet the book is already available for sale, based on presence of the book cover alone. Look carefully around Amazon and you will see a lot of books in this situation.

his is why we strongly advocate developing your title, subtitle, and book cover design as soon as possible, so that your book cover can be out there marketing and selling your book, and enhancing your credibility as an author and business, while you take care of final manuscript and production details. For 13 ways your book cover can help market your book and your business, go to

How to put this Squeaky Green strategy to work for you

ny time you see or hear about a book title that really catches your attention, simply break it down and analyze why it works. Squeaky Green starts with a familiar phrase, "squeaky clean," then adds in the eco-friendly element by changing "clean" to "green." Try this with your message:

1. List as many phrases, sayings, and even cliches as you can related to your general topic. For you that may be health, nutrition, personal finance, relationships, parenting, law, property management, travel, etc. You can google famous quotations about your topic for ideas.

2. Create a list of words that describe your unique approach to the topic, including words that rhyme with the words in the first list.

3. Now start substituting words from list two into the phrases in list one.

Your brain is now likely to start making connections. For example, if you are an expert on nutrition during pregnancy, you might have the familiar phrase, "Eating for Two" in your first list. If your particular approach to the topic is nutrition during pregnancy when you are expecting twins ... you might create this new book title twist: "Eating for Three!"

It should be said right up front what anyone who has ever tried to come up with a great book title already knows: Creating book titles is both a science and an art, so serendipity and the those "ah-ha" moments are definitely part of the equation. Work hard and have fun to increase your chance of coming up with a winner. If you have questions about how to come up with the best title and subtitle for your book, please give us a call at 715-634-4120, or email us at

What are some of your favorite book titles?

Post your comments here to inspire your fellow authors, publishers, book marketers, and other readers of this blog!

© Copyright 2008, Susan Kendrick, Write to Your Market, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.


Cheryl Pickett said...

Hi Susan,
I really like case studies and I thought this one is good not only for authors, but for freelance writers too.

Since I couldn't find the "link to this" feature on your blog, I did it the regular way in my post at

Thanks for this example.

Write To Your Market, Inc. said...

Hi Cheryl,

Great to hear from you. Thank you for your comment. I'm interested to hear how you think case studies like this can help freelance writers, too. Your feedback may be helpful for future posts on this blog. Looking forward to your reply!

I changed the comment settings on the blog to make it easier next time.


Unknown said...

Great topic and analysis, Susan!

Two of my favorite titles are Carl Sewell and Paul B. Brown's "Customers for Life," and Bob Burg's "Endless Referrals."

Best wishes....Roger C. Parker, www.Published&