Creating a title for your book is the single most important piece of copywriting you will do for your book. A great title will not sell a bad book, but a poor title will hide a good book from potential customers. Here are seven terrific tips to help you create that winning book title.
1. Make your title short. Your title should be easy to remember and easy to say, and the words should relate well to each other. Books in Print uses a 92-character computer field. So make sure your title (and subtitle) tell your story, and do not go over the 92 characters. There are some exceptions, but take a look at today's best seller list and see how many books have short, snappy titles.
2. Do not start your title with a number. My apologies to John Kremer on this one (he perhaps is the exception). But titles that begin with a number (such as "1,001 ways to...") are hard to catalog, and then hard to find. Catalogers have to decide if the "1" goes above the letters, under the word "one" or somewhere else. Nat Bodian, author of How to Choose a Winning Title, believes that "authors, as a rule, are poor judges of titles and often go for the cute or clever rather thatn the practical."
3. Think of the image being conveyed. The title should project a warm, successful, positive image. It must grab attention and make a promise. Good book titles are the best teaser copy in an ad or on the shelf. Think of good teaser copy and try it for a title.
4. Make your title specific. We live in an age of specialization. Today, each book and magazine is aimed at a tightly focused, highly targeted audience. Customers buy the specific over the general. Put your number one benefit in the title and subtitle of your book. A good title example: The Art of Kissing. It sold over 60,000 copies.
5. Beware of using a working title while creating your book. Working titles are dangerous because they can become too familiar while being misleading or meaningless to potential customers.
6. Use generic, not proprietary names. Remember, some titles may be part of a trademark. For example, Checkerboard Square. So, avoid trademark infringement problems by steering clear of proprietary names. And speaking of legal issues, be aware that titles cannot be copyrighted. One reason is there are too many books and too few words in the language. Check Books in Print and Forthcoming Books in Print for competing titles.
7. Don't be slavishly imitative. That is to say, make sure your title does not sound like the title of an existing book. Do not waste your efforts competing for attention with a book with a similar title. However, a play on words may aid recognition.
Here are some great examples of winning titles. I am sure you can think up many more.
So what makes a great title? One that attracts a reader and can sell your book.
[The above post was created from excerpts taken from Writing Nonfiction, written by Mr. Dan Poynter.]