They lied. They told me that they were interested in how people interacted in buildings, which is what made me, a sociology major, want to go to graduate school in architecture in the first place. (Now bear with me, there is a point to this for authors.) But, when it came right down to it, all they cared about was designing pretty buildings that had nothing to do with people.
It’s the same with title writing.
Too many authors and book experts want to write titles that they like, titles that are shocking, or clever, or curious, or catchy without taking into account whether or not their audience will resonate with it and want to read further.
This is a big problem. In fact, I often talk to authors whose books are not selling and they have one thing in common, they did not do the marketing research first, or they worked with a book coach who ignored it out of ignorance or stupidity, or the author tried to do it alone and didn’t know how to do it properly, so they got it wrong. They believed that all they had to do was understand where THEY were coming from and what they wanted to convey in their book, their point of view, without taking their audience into consideration and how that audience would actually find the book once it was written.
And while it’s unfortunate when an author gets it wrong, there is no excuse for a book expert to get it wrong. But the truth is many book coaches have no idea how to do it, so they don’t include it as part of their coaching. Instead, they focus on writing a title that sounds good but has no connection to how titles should be written if you want to write books that sell.
But whether you are given a title by a coach, or you come up with one yourself, the market doesn’t care about your point of view or how shocking or curious or catchy your title is if it doesn’t resonate with your market, fails to use the right keywords, or doesn’t use any keywords. And not only will it not connect with your audience, but no one will be able to find it when they are looking for your topic!
First and foremost, your title MUST connect with your audience, and it must convey the value they are going to get from reading your book; they want to know what’s in it for them; what is the benefit that they are going to get by reading it? And what does it matter anyhow if they can’t find it?
So, always think about how your customer, what they want and need, how they will find it, and then how you will approach it and your point of view, not the other way around.
Now, if you are going to highlight a point of view, make sure it’s one that your audience is interested in and can relate to. Let’s look at the book Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals, definitely has a point of view and it’s that girls are shamed for trying to reach their goals and it’s time to stop. Many girls can relate to that.
But what if instead, the point of view were Girl, Your Weak, Nobody Wants to Help You Achieve Your Goals. (Of course, I’m exaggerating here, but humor me, who wants to read that???) So, make sure the way you write your title connects to a point of view your audience wants to hear and uses the best keywords to convey it.
Next, think about how you will capture their attention. This is where the art of title writing comes in. Short titles work best because they are easier to remember than long ones and people won’t be able to purchase your book if they can’t remember what it’s called. (However, that does not mean longer titles never work as you’ll see in my examples below.)
Great titles do evoke curiosity, are catchy, clever, and or use alliteration.
Atomic Habits evokes curiosity. What habits could be so powerful as to call them “atomic”? It also happens to be catchy, so it’s a double home-run!
The Domino Effect is another catchy title. Why do I say that? Because I interviewed the author of this book and it stuck in my head. That’s what makes a title catchy; it’s memorable.
A clever title would be one like Talk so Kids Will Listen, Listen so Kids Will Talk, it uses alliteration too, so it also is a double whammy.
How to Crush it in Business Without Crushing Your Spirit, How Entrepreneurs Can Overcome Depression and Find Success has alliteration as well.
If you’re in a hurry to learn more, grab a copy of my Bestseller Title Formula Checklist.
Ellen Violette helps busy creative visionaries, leaders and change-makers, write, publish, launch to #1 bestseller, and market their book to get more clients, make more money, make a bigger impact, and leave a legacy.
She is an award-winning book and business coach, podcast host, CEO of Create a Splash Marketing & Grammy-nominated songwriter.