Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Naming Names and Namers—Book Titles

A title no one else had thought of!
We’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but damned if we don’t.  There’s a whole industry of book cover artists and marketing experts who are doing their damnedest to get you to pick up a book off the shelf (or click on the digital link) based solely on the cover.

If that’s bad, think about the book’s title.  A really good title, or a really bad one, can be as important as the cover itself.

I made a mistake with my first published book, Tears of Heaven.  It’s not a bad title, per se.  In fact, it’s reasonably memorable—as the song by Eric Clapton “Tears In Heaven”.  Amazon keeps asking if I’m interested in that, rather than my own book.  It certainly is a great song, very moving, especially if you know the history—it’s just not what I’m looking for.  On top of Mr. Clapton’s classic, there’s a five book “Tears of Heaven” series, which, like my book, also has some religious themes, and there’s also a stand-alone romance book by the exact same name.

If ever there was a time to sigh, this would be that time.

Trying to sell any book in today’s market is hard enough, but when readers have any difficulty in finding the title you’re aiming them toward, it’s an order of magnitude harder.  Any obstacle to finding your book should be eliminated as quickly as possible, and with titles this incredibly easy. lists almost every book every written (even if they’re having a feud with a publishing house).  So, a quick search of the title you’re writing under should turn up any exact or near hits, and let you make an educated decision from there.  A single source, even one as comprehensive as Amazon, may still miss a title here or there, so there’s Google’s Advanced Book Search.  Finally, there are any number of alternate book finding sites, mostly for used, out-of-print, or rare books who can tell you if a title already exists.

Should your perfect title already be attached to another author’s book, DO NOT PANIC!  Definitely DO NOT track that author down and threaten them, or attempt to discredit their work just because they published your title before you did.  That’s not only silly, it’s pretty rude.  Titles aren’t the end-all be-all of the book marketing process.  Chew over the concept of your book, the ideas you’re trying to get across, and the cleverness of your own mind will most likely come up with an alternate, even better title in no time.

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