This is the first part of our ‘Create Books That Sell’ series and in the next three posts, we will examine a part of the book publishing process that is as important as the content but seems to be receiving lesser attention from authors, especially when it comes to e-books – covers. They can elicit initial interests that will make people pick up the book to know more, especially if you are a new or relatively unknown author or you are self-publishing and working with a limited book marketing budget. Readers will judge your book by its cover when trying to make a purchase decision so you need to optimize every section of your cover to ensure better market acceptance and higher sales volume. In the series, we are assessing covers and their importance to the marketing fortunes of books. The case for excellent book covers goes beyond winning at playjudgy.com.
Let’s Judge Your Book by Its Title
The Gods Are Not To Blame
The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born
Not Even God Is Ripe Enough
The Poor Christ of Bomba
The Thing Around Your Neck
What do the book titles above have in common? They arouse interest. They make you pay attention. You want to wonder why the gods are not to blame and who thought to blame them.
Why would you say the beautyful ones are not yet born and what kind of spelling is that anyway?
Are we trying to eat God?
Why should God be ripe?
Why is there a Christ in Bomba? What or who is this poor Christ?
Every publisher and author aims for books that will be successes beyond their immediate geographical locations; books that pick up steam with a little marketing. Who doesn’t want to be a bestselling author? When I publish, I certainly don’t want to have to resort to selling them piece by piece from the boot of a car (although it is a valid marketing strategy).
An outstanding title helps books scale buyers’ mental barriers, inducing a shopping frenzy that they don’t regret even years after they have read the book. Your book title is a valid marketing strategy by itself, able to bring in a few sales purely through the promise, hope, interest, and curiosity it plants in the reader’s head. According to a research at Thomas Nelson, consumers always look at the book’s title first.
Book titles are so important that it is standard publishing practice to hold a pre-publication ‘title meeting’ with the author. Yes, titles are supposed to indicate the premise of the book but they don’t have to come out bland or regular. Titles can inflate your sales figure because if people did not judge a book by its cover, there would not be any need for the admonition for them not to judge a book by its cover.
So, even if it takes you a while to get it right, patiently strive for an ingenious title that hints at the plot or premise of your book but makes it clear, spunky and if possible, clever.
Michael Hyatt recommends these four considerations for great titles that sell books:
- Titles that make a promise
- Titles that create intrigue
- Titles that identify a need
- Titles that simply state the content
Creating intrigue seems to be the best aim in title crafting but I would recommend that authors aim for a book title that would mix two or more of these elements although simplicity is ultimately important since you do not want to obstruct easy memory recall either. So reach out for that outrageous but clever title that is dancing right at the edge of your consciousness.
The Gods Are Not To Blame Ola Rotimi
The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born Ayi Kwei Armah
Not Even God Is Ripe Enough Bakare Gbadamosi; Ulli Beier
The Poor Christ of Bomba Mongo Beti
The Thing Around Your Neck Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie