Book Titles That Sell

June 19th, 2012 by Bob Burnham

One of my clients called me from South Carolina, so excited that his book is finished. I asked him, “What’s the title?” He said “I Survived.”

“Wow, you survived. What did you survive—car accident, cancer, divorce?”

He said, “No, I survived depression.”

“Then why don’t you title your book How I Survived Depression, 7 Simple Secrets to Happiness and Bliss?”

People are looking for books on depression and they’re not searching for “I survived” hoping a book on depression pops up.

Quite often now people are using search engines like Google to search terms, but they also search online bookstores using keyword phrases. So if they are searching for a book on depression, most likely they will be searching for the word “depression.”

I spoke with another client who told me he was searching Amazon looking for a book on how to write screenplays. He put in the search box “How to write a screenplay” and the very first book that came up had the title How to Write a Screenplay. I asked him if he bought the book and he said yes. I told him, “That author is probably doing very well.”

If you can get your keywords in your title, it makes it simple for everybody. You want to have a hooky title to grab potential readers by the eyeballs. Remember, you only have 10 or 20 second to hook them in, and it’s incumbent upon you to do that, because if they don’t buy your book, they lose out on your information and you lose out on the sale.

The other part of titling is the subtitle. This should reveal the transformation or the results your reader will get from your book, also known as “the promise.” For my book, the subtitle is How to Make a Six Figure Income by Writing and Publishing Your Own Book.

Whatever your promise is, put it in the subtitle. If you can put keywords in there, all the better, because right now, as you’re reading this, people are searching for your book. Make it easy for them. Use keywords in your title and subtitle.

For many authors the idea of writing a book is so colossal that they get stuck in overwhelm. Here are some tips that allow you to take it one bit at a time:

  • Your first book only has to be 100 to 120 pages. Short books get to the point and readers enjoy the satisfaction of finishing a book in a timely manner.
  • Craft your chapter titles first. Sit down and write them out in one sitting. Then write a small paragraph or a few bullet points under each title. If you join one of my writing and publishing programs, we help you tweak your chapter titles so people want to buy the book just from looking at the Table of Contents on Amazon.
  • For a book of 120 pages, you only need eight to 10 chapters. When you work with me at Expert Author Publishing, you receive a Book Template to guide you in writing your non-fiction book.
  • Feel free to write your book in any order. Some people start with the last chapter and direct everything toward their stunning conclusion. Others begin with the easiest chapter, the pivotal chapter or the one they are most excited about.
  • Write your book in a conversational style that is easy to read. No jargon, no fancy words they have to look up and no confusion!
  • Write ½ hour every day to keep the momentum going.
  • Resist the temptation to edit while writing! This stops you in your tracks and it’s a disservice to you because it’s much better to read it fresh after you’ve had some time away. You’ll have a new perspective on your work.
  • Celebrate your work and congratulate yourself along the way. Sip your favorite tea or give yourself some kind of treat when you finish your writing for the day.