Book Titles – 5 Things to Consider

I’m not even going to tell you how long it took me to come up with a title for this blog post. Which is about my experiences with creating book titles. Ironic, no?

As the author of ten books, coming up with a decent title for each story is something that I have wrestled with a lot. The title is usually the first thing that people know about your book, and so is the first thing to be judged. (If the title is okay, then the next judgement will be the cover art, then the blurb, then the first page or two, and then the price.)

Some stories come with a clear title, and it would be crazy to consider anything else. I know when I wrote The Elphite, I really didn’t even consider calling it anything else. But using a made-up word as a book title has its drawbacks, which I will come to in a moment.

I feel it’s important to get the title of your book right before you publish, and to try the title out on lots of people, search for it on Amazon and on Google, and to consider all the different ways it might be interpreted. With Indie and Self-publishing, it’s quite easy these days to change the title later on if you feel it’s necessary, but you might find that you confuse your readers (who will think it’s a new book) and the original versions will always be out there somewhere online, it’s difficult to erase them completely. So make sure you are absolutely certain before publishing.

So, things to consider when creating your book title:

#1. Weird or Mundane?

Some book titles seem utterly mundane, yet they have become bestsellers, and have appealed to people all over the world. However, the more mundane they are, the more likely it is that there will be several books with the same title. Now, if you’re the kind of creative who likes to be original, this idea will make you cringe, but having a mundane title has its advantages too.

3d 2When you have a title with ordinary words, or that is similar to other popular book titles, it is likely that people will come across it by accident when they are searching on Amazon or Google. For example, if I were to search for “I’m Here” on Amazon, I will find that in the books section, my book shows up halfway down page two, and in the Kindle section, it’s quite low down on page one. There are so many books with ‘I’m Here’ in the title, and even books with those words in the blurb will show up before my book. Which means that while searching for my book, there’s the possibility that the reader will stumble upon another book they might like better, and also if they were searching for someone else’s book, they might find mine instead.

When you have a weird or unique title, like The Elphite, then you can be sure that when you search for it on Amazon, it will be the only hit. Which means that the likelihood of someone stumbling upon it by accident are very slim. I like both weird and mundane titles, as I think they both serve a purpose. But from a marketing perspective, the mundane titles make more sense.

#2. Mysterious Titles

3d 2I’ve always believed that books titles and covers should intrigue you, and that it’s fun to work out the meaning of the title by reading the book. But when I used an acronym in one of my book titles, all I got were comments like – “What does it stand for? Why would I buy the book if I don’t know what it means?” The book was The Doorway to PAM. Which encapsulated the story perfectly, as the book is all about souls who find this doorway which leads them to PAM. I personally felt that by saying what PAM stood for in the blurb, it would spoil it, so I always insisted they just read the story. At one point, when getting the cover art redesigned, I considered changing the title, but everything I could think of – which used more mundane words – had already been used, and I couldn’t bring myself to use the same title as other books already in existence. Despite my decision, I do think that if you find that you really aren’t selling any copies of your book because your title is too obscure, then a re-naming might well be the way to go, even though it could cause some confusion.

#3. Is it a Series, a Trilogy or a Saga?

3d 2Another thing to consider when naming your book, is whether it is the first in a series, trilogy or saga. Which could very well influence what you call it. I read somewhere that when Stephenie Meyer wrote Twilight, she originally called it Forks. Which makes you wonder what the others in the series would have been called – Spoons, Knives and Teaspoons? (just kidding!) I must admit, when I was trying to name The Earth Angel Training Academy, I was thinking that it would be a standalone book, and I had no plan for it to be a series. Originally, I had titled it ‘The Angels Calling’. Which had more of a non-fiction, spiritual journey feeling to it, so I changed it. It did briefly occur to me that if I did ever write more books and turn it into a series, I would have trouble naming the rest of them, because really, naming the first book after the Academy was akin to JK Rowling naming the first Harry Potter book – Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. But even if I had the opportunity to go back in time and call the first book something different, I have no idea what I would have called it. If I went down the Harry Potter route, it would have ended up something like Purple Velvet and the Cube-Shaped Alien. Which is actually a pretty cool title…. hmmm…

Most series’, trilogies and sagas these days have an overall title, and again, that is something to consider more thoroughly. I must admit – The Earth Angel Series is not a particularly original or well-thought out title, it just sort of happened. When I had the covers of my other books redesigned, I wanted to tie them together somehow, and so created a collection – called the Visionary Collection – which made marketing the individual stories much easier. Their original covers were all very different, and disconnected from each other. It also make coming up with the cover art for the next stories much easier.

#4. Title Length

Coming up with the perfect title is really quite complicated. It needs to describe the story, intrigue and excite the potential reader, conjure up a feeling, or image, or emotion, and then sell the book. Sometimes, a single word will do that, and other times, titles end up very long. The length of the book title will affect the cover art, and also more practical things like custom URLs and how many characters it takes up in a tweet.

3d 2The longest title I have, is The Other Side: of the Earth Angel Training Academy. Now I usually shorten it to simply The Other Side, and put the second half as a subtitle, but it was still a mission to figure out the cover to fit the whole title on it. Something to consider is the memorability of the title. My first book is often shortened by readers to The Earth Angel Academy, or just Angel Academy. So I have taken from this experience that the title is too long really. You want the title to be memorable, and so getting the length right is important.

I really like one-word or two-word book titles, but coming up with one that’s unique is not going to be easy. When I was coming up with alternative ideas for The Doorway to PAM, and when I’ve brainstormed ideas for a new trilogy I am working on, I have found that almost every single possibility I can think of has been used already. Which could mean that I just suck at titles, or that quite simply, that’s what happens when there are over 1.5million books available on Kindle.

#5. Trends

I would never recommend or suggest that you write a book on a topic, purely because it’s trending, or name a book something that is similar to a bestseller so you can ride their wave with them. But if you are writing books about topics you are passionate about, and those topics happen to be trending, it’s a good idea to get the words people are searching for into the title.

3d 2I wrote The Earth Angel Training Academy in 2009, and at that time, there was very little around about the concept of Twin Flames, which is one of the main themes of the book. So when the Twin Flame concept suddenly became popular and I noticed that my posts on the subject were getting daily hits on my blog, I will admit, it affected my choice of titles for the new books in the Earth Angel Series, which were basically the stories of the reunion of the Flames between 2012 and 2032. Again, I had intended for there to be one book to cover those twenty years, and so I titled it The Twin Flame Reunion. But then it turned into several books (three so far, and four more to come) and so when it came to titling the rest, a pattern emerged of using ‘re’ words. So the subsequent titles were The Twin Flame Retreat and The Twin Flame Resurrection. (The Twin Flame Reality will be out this year.) Now, it might look very cool and clever, but I have to say – I would not recommend doing what I have done! You wouldn’t believe how many times I have got confused about which book is which, and I wrote them! Just as it’s not a good idea to name characters similar names, it’s not always a good idea to use very similar book titles in a series, either.

Of course, using the words Twin Flame in my book titles had the intended effect, and they are discovered much more readily by people who are interested in the concept. But I would only suggest using trending topics and words within your title if the book is truly, actually about that. Otherwise people will just end up being disappointed and you’ll get bad reviews.

 

So there you have it, a few things to think about when coming up with a book title, based on my experience over the last few years. I could write more, but I think I will save any further thoughts for another time, otherwise this post will end up as a book in itself!

Comment below if you have found this useful, and let me know the issues you’ve had with book titles.


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Michelle is the author and publisher of 10 Visionary Fiction novels, all available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle. She spends her days helping Indie Authors to publish their books, taking photographs of mushrooms and making gluten-free cakes.

If you need any help with your publishing journey, please do get in touch with her by emailing theamethystangel@hotmail.co.uk. You can book a Skype session or a phone call with her, or ask questions via email. Please do follow this blog to receive more posts on Indie Publishing.


Disclaimer:All views, ideas and tips presented on this website are my own, based on my own experience and the experience of my clients. It is by no means the only way to do it, or the right way to do it, but it is the way that works for me. Please take what helps you and makes sense to you, and don’t worry about the rest for now. Please know that I take no responsibility for anything that happens as a result of you following my advice. I have created this blog as a resource for Indie Authors to help them make the publishing journey a little easier. I am not affiliated with any of the companies I mention, other than the fact that I use their services myself.

Your Amazon Author Page

An often overlooked, but important part of Indie Publishing on Amazon, is the Author Page. It’s up to you as the author to fill it in, put a photo, a bio, links to Twitter and your blog, and also videos if you wish. It’s free to have one, and it makes sense to take the time to fill it out because it’s another platform for people to discover you.

To fill it in, you have to visit a different website – Amazon Author Central. Unfortunately, you have to fill out the US page and the UK page separately, because they’re not linked! So here it is, step by step:

UK:

Visit authorcentral.amazon.co.uk and sign in using your Amazon account.

author central uk

Click on Author Page, where you can upload photos, videos (unfortunately they don’t allow links to YouTube, you have to upload the original video from your computer) and a biography and your Twitter feed. You can also add upcoming events too.

author central uk 1

Your behind the scenes will look like this when you’re done:

author central uk 2

Then your page on Amazon will look like this (depending on how many books you have of course!)

author central uk 4

author central uk 5

From the main menu, you can then go to Books, and if Amazon hasn’t already assigned your books to you, you can add them here.

author central uk 3

Then you can check your sales stats and see all your customer reviews by clicking on the other two buttons on the menu.

US:

Visit authorcentral.amazon.com and sign in using your Amazon account.

author central us

Then click on the Author Page:

author central us 1

It’s very similar to the UK page, except that you can add a feed to your blog as well. And you can choose a custom URL for your page. But I would recommend getting a Universal link from Booklinker for your author page.

The behind the scenes will look like this:

author central us 2

And then your page on Amazon will look like this:

author central us 3

author central us 4

A feature I love about the US page is the Follow button. This means readers get a message when the author releases a new book, which is a handy little tool.

 

I hope you found that helpful, it’s very simple and straightforward, but definitely worth doing!

 

 


IMG_5734_2

Michelle is the author and publisher of 10 Visionary Fiction novels, all available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle. She spends her days helping Indie Authors to publish their books, taking photographs of mushrooms and making gluten-free cakes.

If you need any help with your publishing journey, please do get in touch with her by emailing theamethystangel@hotmail.co.uk. You can book a Skype session or a phone call with her, or ask questions via email. Please do follow this blog to receive more posts on Indie Publishing.


Disclaimer:All views, ideas and tips presented on this website are my own, based on my own experience and the experience of my clients. It is by no means the only way to do it, or the right way to do it, but it is the way that works for me. Please take what helps you and makes sense to you, and don’t worry about the rest for now. Please know that I take no responsibility for anything that happens as a result of you following my advice. I have created this blog as a resource for Indie Authors to help them make the publishing journey a little easier. I am not affiliated with any of the companies I mention, other than the fact that I use their services myself.

Universal Book Links – Part 2

I wanted to write a short follow-up to my original post on Universal Book Links, to explain how to use the links with Amazon Associate links.

I signed up to be an Amazon Associate a long time ago, and have never made money through it, because I wasn’t entirely sure what to do with them. Then after a conversation with Lynn Serafinn on Facebook last night, I realised that I should look into them again, because I had noticed that you can use them with the universal book links from BookLinker.

So, I sent BookLinker and email to ask for their help in setting it all up, and received a very helpful response, within minutes!

You can find the right page by logging into BookLinker, then click on My Account. Underneath your information, you will see boxes to fill in your ‘tag’ for each country. You have to set up a separate account with each country, and apparently to have accounts in India, Brazil and China you must have local bank accounts in those countries, so you may want to not bother with those. I have set up a US account, and to do so, I had to go through a US Tax Interview, similar to what you have to fill out for Createspace and KDP. If you are not in the US, they will only pay you your earnings in Amazon gift cards, but that’s fine by me!

Once I went through the process, which was quite easy, I was given a ‘tag’ which is created from your name and has ’20’ or ’21’ on the end of it. Then I entered the tags into the US and UK boxes on BookLinker and updated my information.

associate

 

And that’s it! Now, when someone clicks on my universal links, I will earn a small commission when they buy my book from Amazon. Although I had put off doing anything about this for a long time, in reality, it took no time at all to sort it out and from now on, I won’t have to do anything else!

If you have any trouble at all with the universal links, please do contact them for assistance, they are super helpful and very prompt with their responses!

Universal Book Links

**UPDATED POST – Booklinker have just given the site a makeover, so I have changed the screenshots. All the info is the same**

This post is about how to make your book as accessible as possible to everyone online. I found out about the website I am going to talk about from someone on Facebook, some time ago. I had posted a link to my new book, and they had clicked on the link, hoping to purchase it. The link I had posted was for the book on Amazon.co.uk. But the person was in America. So they were taken to the UK site, but of course they couldn’t order the book from there. So then they went to Amazon.com, and had to search for my book, which all took time.

Luckily, they were determined enough to buy the book, that they took the trouble to find it. But what about people who aren’t quite so motivated to search it out? The person sent me a message saying –

Get a universal book link so you don’t lose customers!

Intrigued, I checked out BookLinker. It’s a free to use website, that creates universal book links out of your Amazon product URL. You customise the URL, so it looks good too. When someone clicks on the link, they are taken to the Amazon of their own country, where they can buy the book!

booklinker new

 

You can choose the prefix (there’s a couple available) and you can also create a link for your Amazon Author page too.

Enter the URL of your book on Amazon in the box on the home page, then click Create universal link. If you haven’t got an account, you have to set one up (only basic info needed) and then when you start using the link (I use these links everywhere, I never use country-specific links anymore) you can then see the stats by logging into BookLinker and clicking on ‘My Links’. You will see your author link first –

booklinker new1

Then you can choose Books from the drop drown list and see your book stats:

booklinker new2

Because Amazon doesn’t give you any stats on how often your books are viewed, this at least gives you some idea of where your audience is from and may help you with the marketing of your books.

It can also help you see how effective your book cover/blurb is, because if you’re getting thousands of clicks on the link but no sales – then perhaps you need to tweak things.

 


IMG_5734_2Michelle is the author and publisher of 8 Visionary Fiction novels, all available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle. She spends her days helping Indie Authors to publish their books, taking photographs and making gluten-free cakes.

If you need any help with your publishing journey, please do get in touch with her by emailing theamethystangel@hotmail.co.uk. You can book a Skype session or a phone call with her, or ask questions via email. Please do follow this blog to receive more posts on Indie Publishing.


 

 Disclaimer:All views, ideas and tips presented on this website are my own, based on my own experience and the experience of my clients. It is by no means the only way to do it, or the right way to do it, but it is the way that works for me. Please take what helps you and makes sense to you, and don’t worry about the rest for now. Please know that I take no responsibility for anything that happens as a result of you following my advice. I have created this blog as a resource for Indie Authors to help them make the publishing journey a little easier. I am not affiliated with any of the companies I mention, other than the fact that I use their services myself.

 

6 Tips for Great Author Photos

Years ago, authors were mysterious creatures who were locked away in their offices, writing feverishly all day and night, while their agent and publishers did all the selling and marketing. In those days, unless there was a photo of them on the back jacket of their book, it was common to not know what an author looked like. You could easily pass them on the street and have no idea who they were.

In the age of social media, we have become much more visual, and as authors now have to do much of their own promotion and marketing (that includes traditionally published authors) being visible and recognisable is quite important. Readers no longer want just a good book, they want to connect with the author behind it too.

So having a decent author photograph is actually quite important. I haven’t researched into what makes a good author photo, but I have made a list of what I think makes an author photo a great one. If you have any more tips to add, please do comment below!

Author Photo Tip #1: Look Happy!

I don’t think miserable or serious author photos really sell books, unless of course they are on very serious subjects, in which case I may be wrong.

Author Photo Tip #2: Nice and Bright

Try to have a bright image, if the image is too dark or fuzzy, then it won’t appeal to people as much. Try to wear clothing that contrasts with the background, so that you don’t blend in.

Author Photo Tip #3: Be Relaxed

Just because it’s going in the back of your book, doesn’t mean it has to be overly posed. Try to get your photographer to capture you in a relaxed pose, so that it shows more of who you really are, not the mask you put on when a camera appears. I know that many writers are introverts and don’t like to be in the limelight, but try to have fun with it if you can.

Author Photo Tip #4: Location, location, location

Have photos taken in natural settings if you can, or in a location that you feel shows off who you really are. You could have them taken in a studio, but then that doesn’t tell your reader anything about you.

Author Photo Tip #5: Have a selection

It’s tempting to have just one photo (especially if you’re paying to have them taken) but if you only have one photo for all your social media outlets and for the back matter of your books, after a while, you’re going to get bored with it, and so might your readers.

Author Photo Tip #6: Refresh Often

Try to renew your photos whenever you feel you need an update, or if you get an interesting new haircut or look different. I have made major changes to my author photos four time in the last four years, as I have changed and felt I needed an update. Here is the progression of my photos:

Michelle Gordonme small1Michelle GordonIMG_5729 small

 

As you can see, I’ve progressed from my initial author photo selfie, to having professional photos taken, and I think it does really make a difference.

 

As a fun little exercise, I’ve been googling some of my favourite authors from my childhood and teen years, just to see what they look like, it’s been quite interesting! If you have anything to add, please comment below.

 


IMG_5734_2Michelle is the author and publisher of 8 Visionary Fiction novels, all available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle. She spends her days helping Indie Authors to publish their books, taking photographs and making gluten-free cakes.

If you need any help with your publishing journey, please do get in touch with her by emailing theamethystangel@hotmail.co.uk. You can book a Skype session or a phone call with her, or ask questions via email. Please do follow this blog to receive more posts on Indie Publishing.


 

Disclaimer: All views, ideas and tips presented on this website are my own, based on my own experience and the experience of my clients. It is by no means the only way to do it, or the right way to do it, but it is the way that works for me. Please take what helps you and makes sense to you, and don’t worry about the rest for now. Please know that I take no responsibility for anything that happens as a result of you following my advice. I have created this blog as a resource for Indie Authors to help them make the publishing journey a little easier.

How to Send Documents to your Kindle

In yesterday’s post, I listed 10 tips for self-editing, and tip #3 was to send your novel to your Kindle so that you can read through it, and also make notes and highlight what needs changing.

This post will detail exactly how to send your novel (or any other document you want) to your Kindle device (or to your iPad/iPhone or Android phone).

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Step #1: Find your Kindle device email address

In order to email the document to your device, you will need to find out the email address. You can do this by signing into Amazon, then on the ‘Your Account’ drop down menu, select Manage Your Content and Devices. Then click on the furthest right tab ‘Settings‘, then scroll down the page to ‘Personal Document Settings‘.  You will see ‘Send to Kindle Email Settings’ which will have underneath a list of devices and a list of email addresses that will end in ‘@kindle.com‘. These are your kindle addresses. Choose the address for the device you wish to send the document to, and in order to avoid any delivery fees, change the end of the address to – @free.kindle.com‘.

Step #2: Add your normal email address to the safe list

Under ‘Personal Document Settings‘, you will see ‘Approved Personal Document Email List’. To add your normal email address to the approved list, click on ‘Add a new improved email address’ then enter the details.

Step #3: Send the document via email

Go to your normal email account, open a new email, enter your Kindle address in the recipient box, put the title of your book in the subject heading, then attach the book file to the email, and send. It may take a while to get to your Kindle, as they format it for you.

Step #4: Sync and download document to your Kindle

If your Kindle wifi is on, then it should sync new items and download straight away, but if not, switch the wifi on, and click on download new items. Your document should then show up just like any other book that you have purchased from Amazon.

Step #5: Make notes and highlights

On Kindles and on Kindle Readers, you usually have the option to highlight, bookmark and create notes. It’s then usually possible to just scroll through those notes and highlights easily when you’ve finished. I usually highlight all the things that need changing, and then I go through them one by one, inputting the changes into the file on my computer.

Step #6: Sending documents to others

Another reason why knowing how to do this is so useful to authors, is that when you are at the stage of getting beta readers (and family and friends) to read your book so they can give you feedback, instead of printing out the book, or sending them a PDF or word document, you can simply get them to add your normal email address to their safe list, get them to find their kindle address and give it to you, and then you can send the document directly to their device. Then they have your book on their Kindle, so they can read it easily and give you feedback. I have done this many times, and it is a much simpler way to do it.

These instructions are based on Amazon.co.uk, I assume that it will be a similar process on Amazon.com etc.

 


 

IMG_5734_2Michelle is the author and publisher of 8 Visionary Fiction novels, all available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle. She spends her days helping Indie Authors to publish their books, taking photographs and making gluten-free cakes.

If you need any help with your publishing journey, please do get in touch with her by emailing theamethystangel@hotmail.co.uk. You can book a Skype session or a phone call with her, or ask questions via email. Please do follow this blog to receive more posts on Indie Publishing.


 

Disclaimer: All views, ideas and tips presented on this website are my own, based on my own experience and the experience of my clients. It is by no means the only way to do it, or the right way to do it, but it is the way that works for me. Please take what helps you and makes sense to you, and don’t worry about the rest for now. Please know that I take no responsibility for anything that happens as a result of you following my advice. I have created this blog as a resource for Indie Authors to help them make the publishing journey a little easier.