Self-Publishing Starter Tips Series: #4 Deciding on Your Non-Fiction Book Title
Hello! Here’s another self-publishing starter tips article for you!
This time I’m offering my top tips to help you choose your non-fiction book title wisely. Remember, your book title doesn’t just have to be aesthetically pleasing or demonstrate how smart you are, or how talented/fabulous you are as an author, your book title also serves a plethora of other functions too.
Your non-fiction book title has to:
- define what your book is about/what your reader can expect to achieve or learn etc by reading your book (in as succinct a phrase as possible)
- reinforce your brand and your ethos (whether that’s as an author or a business or a publishing house)
- hook your reader – you need to spark intrigue and whet appetites sufficiently so readers feel compelled to read your blurb or press the ‘Buy Now’ button without giving it a second thought
- be SEO-friendly – include keywords in your title and/or sub-title so your book title ranks high in search engines
- be snappy and succinct – if you end up sat on Oprah’s couch your book title needs to roll off your tongue with ease (no need to create a tongue-twister)
- be memorable/evocative – think, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and the images it evokes
- be compelling – I’m not sure Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill would have been quite the success if it had been titled: How to Get More Money by Practising the Law of Attraction, do you?
So, now you know the function of your book title, let’s consider this a step further.
Check out the competition
As I mentioned in my earlier article (https://michelleemerson.co.uk/self-publishing-starter-tips-series-3-research-secrets/) research is crucial, and even more so when it comes to your book title. Before you set your heart on your non-fiction book title, visit the Amazon store and take a look through similar books in your chosen genre. There may already be a best-selling book out there with the same title. If that’s the case, you’ll need to have a rethink.
Always give your book a sub-title
Again, this is a great SEO tool if you do your research and find the best keywords to use as your sub-title. A sub-title is a good way to indicate the big benefit of reading your book too, ie:
Title: How to Write a Brilliant Business Book
Sub-title: Within 30 days (and without overwhelm)
Use simple language for your book title
A book with an overly complicated title will alienate potential readers who assume it’s above their intellect. Forget the jargon. Avoid the techy terms. K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple, Stupid. 😊
Don’t offend your audience
Yes, I know there are books out there with dubious titles, and feel free to call me an old prude if you like (don’t care!) but if you want to remain classy and you want your happy readers to tell their friends about your how brilliant your book was, keep away from childish swears. #justsaying
Cater for your reader
What would they put into a Google search if they were looking for your book? Make their lives easier and you’ll benefit from increased book sales.
And finally… a few practical (and fun) ways to create, tweak and choose your book title
- Head on over to Lulu’s Title Scorer http://www.lulu.com/titlescorer/. Add your book title and see what its best chances of becoming a best-seller are.
- If you can’t decide between, say, two or three book titles, ask your audience. Create a Facebook poll (or whichever social media platforms you prefer). Finding a general consensus speaks volumes.
- Use the Co-Schedule Headline Analyzer tool to see the rating of your title – https://coschedule.com/headline-analyzer – granted, I use this for my blog headlines, but it’s something you could consider for your book too.
Has that been helpful? I hope so! Let me know in the comments how you decided on your book title.