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What's in a Book Title?: Part 3

Posted September 9, 2007

Topics: Business books, Author Tips

So, you have labored through two of my posts, and pontifical musings, on what makes a good title. So, how can you road-test your title ideas to come up with the best that you can?

The quick title test

Put your chosen title and sub-title through this simple title checker to road-test its suitability for a popular business book. . .

1. Does it communicate a promise to the reader?: Try to express the most compelling benefit to the reader in your title and/or sub-title.

2. Does the title stand out from the crowd?: If you don't want to be lost on the shelves, you need to be different (think: Godin's Purple Cow). Great titles stimulate interest and communicate uniqueness.

3. Does it use words that count?: Every audience has "care words": the words, phrases or concepts that they really care about. Use them, and don't fall into the trap of assuming that what you care about is what they care about. What tasks or challenges do they face every day? What are they measured on? What do they call what they are doing? Find the words in these needs/cares that are most powerful to them.

4. Is the title "search-friendly"?: Try to include in the title or sub-title the key words which your target audience might be searching, online or off.

5. Does it sound good?: A simple, but vital, test. Good titles sound good when read aloud. If it's difficult to say, it will be difficult to remember, difficult to ask for and difficult to recommend.

6. Does it travel?: In a globalized world, if you want your book to sell all over the world, avoid using words or phrases in the title that either have different meanings (or no meaning) in other markets, or have different spellings.

Well, I guess I have beaten that horse to excess, but it is that important!! As I wrote in the first post in this sequence, it may be the most important thing you and your publisher do together.

I hope this has helped you.