And yours, too!
I’ve been hitting the interview circuit lately to promote my latest book, and I realized that many of the questions I get asked about writing would make great blog posts. Of course, in an interview you give short answers, but here I’ll take those same questions and give them the attention they deserve. This is the first in that series.
A few decades ago, most book covers were a solid color with a standard font and a title that almost always told you nothing about what was inside if you didn’t already know. Those days are long gone. Today, we judge books by their covers in a nanosecond, so your cover not only has to stand out as a thumbnail image, it has to hold a potential reader’s attention for five seconds or more, and have a title that is alluring and able to be listed on page one in Amazon’s search engine.
That’s a lot to cram into one image and three to ten words
So, how do you do it?
Below are five pointers to consider when trying to name your book, and a few more for putting together a memorable title for both human mind and Google algorithm.
While I touched on how to make your title look appealing above, you still have to create a great-sounding title for man and machine. My best piece of advice here is don’t be afraid to add subtitles, and not just to subsequent titles in the series. While certain books, such as The Hunger Games, get away with it because, hey, that title tells us it’s a game about food (which actually does the full story a great disservice, but it intrigues us nonetheless), it doesn’t work for most other books.
Take The Great Gatsby. We know what’s it about today so no subtitle is needed, but if it were brand-spanking new, would you have any idea? I mean, it sounds like a superhero book. Amazon’s algorithms find your book by genre and keywords you provide, but keywords in your title get more weight. If Gatsby came out today, it would probably be called something like, The Great Gatsby: A Roaring Twenties Love Triangle Among the Long Island Elite, and I’m only half-joking here. The subtitle to my book A Vote for Jesus is A Satire on Campaigning, Corruption & Political Crucifixion for just that reason.
Also, know what your audience knows. When the first Harry Potter book came out in the United States, the title was switched from Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone to Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone because the publisher didn’t believe Americans would pick up a book with the word philosopher in the title. But sorcerer? Kids love magic, and that title told them exactly what the book would have. So, while philosophers and sorcerers are often old men with long white beards, one is cool and one is not.
Good luck creating those covers, and if you’d like, post your book’s cover (with sales link, of course!) in the comments.
This post was inspired by an interview with NF Reads. For the full interview, click here!