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.

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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!

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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:

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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.

 

Self-Publishing on Kindle – Part 3

This is a continuation of the Self-Publishing on Kindle series of posts. Part 1 and Part 2 are available.

The next part of Step 1 is:

#2. Verify Your Publishing Rights.

This section is very simple and straightforward – either you hold the copyright to the book and it is entirely yours to publish, or it s book in the public domain, which means the copyright no longer applies to it. If your book does not fall into either of those two categories – you should not be publishing it on KDP.

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#3. Target Your Book to Customers

Apart from the categories, the age range and US grade range sections are a relatively recent addition to the process and you deciding who your target audience is, presumably to assist Amazon in the way they display/recommend your books.

In the categories section, you will want to select two categories that fit your book the best.

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If you select ‘adult’ categories, the next part – the age range – will automatically be filled with ’18+’. Otherwise, it’s entirely optional to fill in the age range and US grade range sections.

The next part is keywords. This is a tiny part of the form, but is a very important part! This is where you list the relevant keywords to your book. These keywords are what people will put in the search box on Amazon when they are looking for a new book to read. So if you have written a paranormal romance – put that as a keyword. You can only have up to 7 keywords, so choose wisely! Phrases count as one keyword. So ‘inspirational true stories’ would be one keyword. Please take the time to fill this in properly, don’t use it to list other more famous authors, in the hopes of catching some of their traffic, and keep the words relevant to your book.

Click here for Part 4.

 

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.