And Now For
Peter E Taylor ©2003
I'm glad I only go to my local shopping centre twice a month. You see, there's a bookstore there. Though I aim just to go to the bank and the supermarket, I nearly always end up adding to my already bulging library. I've got enough recipe books to enable me to cook a different meal each day for years, but "The Chocoholics' Guide To Cakes And Desserts" was irresistible.
There is no doubt that cover artwork can influence the decision of a potential purchaser to open a book and browse, or not, but the title of a book is an amazingly powerful tool to tempt people to consider it and reach for their credit card.
For an ebook, or an unseen online article that will attract a reader and eventually lead them to your website, the title is even more important.
As you can tell, I am a confirmed chocolate lover. There's nothing else like it. It's the smell. The silky smoothness as it melts and glides around your mouth. Any book with 'chocolate' in the title will gain my interest. It's quite easy with non-fiction to market your book, or article, to your target readers and grab their attention.
One way is to imagine that you are writing an advertisement. Salesmanship in print. Who is the book aimed at? How will the reader benefit?
Though it is usually best to keep titles powerful, short and snappy, "YOUR MORTGAGE and how to pay it off in 5 years, by someone who did it in 3" is a great title and a very popular book by Anita Bell. (For online article titles in particular, using capitals, italic, bold print, or a mixture, can also help your work stand out from the crowd.)
Fortunately, titles are not copyright. There must be dozens of versions of "A Beginners Guide to Bonsai" by different authors, and if you want to add to the list, that's fine. However, if you're trying to think up a title for your latest novel, it's probably unwise to call it "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix", "War and Peace" or "Alice in Wonderland". Statistics show, however, that people are attracted to a title with a familiar sound to it - one a little similar in some way, perhaps, to that of a famous and well-loved book. Rhonda Whitton and Sheila Hollingworth have written an excellent book for writers and called it 'A Decent Proposal' ...after the hit movie 'An Indecent Proposal'.
With fiction, you may target people who like the genre of your book, giving people a little idea of what it's about - a clue at least that it's a murder story, a western or a romance, or what the setting is. Some authors decide to use a phrase from the story or hook customers with a title that breeds curiosity.
When you've chosen a winner, and your book has become a best seller, you may then wish to consider keeping some part of its title as a constant element for other books in the series that follows.
P.s. Please print this article.
P.p.s. Please let me know how you make your choice.