Monday, December 20, 2010

5 Attributes of a Title That Sells

Photo by azrasta via Flickr

An innovative book title should be distinctive and hook the reader. It is what makes a shopper grab your book from the shelf and open it to the inside flap to learn more. The jacket cover can finish the job of convincing him/her that your story is worth reading. Your job is to create a title that grabs the attention of the reader. Here are five things to consider when naming your book:

Catchy--Your book title should be catchy. A potential reader will often spend only 5 minutes in a bookstore grabbing a book on his/her lunch break, or on the way to catch a flight. An author needs to work hard to make the 30 seconds spent looking at the book’s cover turn into the decision to buy that book.

Fitting--Your book title should fit the book. It should give the potential reader a clue about what the book will be about.

Brief--Your book title should convey a message, but not be too long as to bore potential readers. They should be able to read your title at a glance, requiring no time at all for it to register with the brain. The DaVinci Code is a good example of a short title. Brevity is a virtue.

Compelling--Your book title should captivate the potential reader, initiating a response of interest and curiosity. Find intriguing aspects of your story that your readers can visualize, and then use those words in the title.

Unique--Try to make your title different from others. Do a quick search online to make sure that the title you are considering hasn’t been used before. Global Books in Print is an excellent bibliographic tool with millions of titles in its database. The more unique the title, the more it will stand out from the rest.

Don’t ever hesitate to rely on the expertise and editorial changes of your editor or publisher. They are your best resource when it comes to marketing and publishing.  Although creating the most marketable title definitely takes some work, having the right title can make a world of difference when it comes to book sales—because people DO in fact judge a book by its cover!

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