Sunday, April 4, 2010

How to Write a Great and Effective Title

While a catchy book title will attract the eye of a potential buyer, for non-fiction it may not be your books’ strongest selling asset. The words themselves may hold more than you may realize.

According to Google, fifty percent of all books are now sold over the Internet. Amazon.com sales accounted for 5.96 billion dollars of those sales last year; these numbers are expected to rise in the upcoming years. Although this may be bad news for the traditional brick and mortar book stores, it’s good news for online sellers. Knowing how to have your book found through search inquiries on sites such as Google and Yahoo has become crucial to selling books. Online visibility begins with your book’s title.

Title Search
When a person is looking for specific information on the World Wide Web, they enter words related to their interests in the search box online. Each word they type in is called a “keyword” or “key phrase.” The Search Engines use these words or phrases to find the most relevant list of related Websites. These sites are then displayed for the user.

When deciding on your books title, one important thing to consider is the incorporation of good keywords. For instance, if you’re writing a book on golf tips for beginners, a title such as Golf Is Fun may not return as many Search Engine results for your book as the title Golf Tips for the Beginner.

Before you write your book title, make a list of all related keywords and perform a search on Google to see what comes up in the results. Also, when you do your search, the first page shown should have a short list of other suggested keywords or phrases (usually at the very top or bottom of the page). Incorporating as many of these words into your book title as is possible will help your book be seen better in the future.

Fiction books may not be as specifically searchable online as non-fiction, but fiction book writers can benefit from good keyword titles as well. One or two related words in a title can make a big improvement in Search Engine results. Again, what will end users be looking for when they search for a book like yours?

The Letter A
Once again, most books are sold online; making your online presence and visibility very important to selling your books. It’s likely, as a writer, you will be networking with others online.

As silly as it may sound, books with titles beginning with the letter “A” may be more visible than a book which begins with the letter “Z.” Many Websites and Blogs have sidebar lists of the books they enjoy or recommend to their Website visitors. Some of these create their lists in alphabetical order; placing your book which begins with the letter A at the top of the list. Top listings receive 17% more hits than lower placed listings.

These same Website and Blog editors often “swap” URL links with the editors of other related sites and list those links on their Web page. If and when you create your own Website and/or Blog, you might consider doing the same with your site’s title, that is, begin the title with the letter A (example: A Book Inside). These link lists are also posted by Blogger automatically in alphabetical order as well.

Keep in mind; starting with the letter A is not mandatory for higher placements in listings online. For instance, starting with the letter D is good, C is better, B is great, but A is the best. Also, numbers generally precede letters in Web listings. 101 Ways to Learn the Game of Golf would be listed before An Easy Way to Learn the Game of Golf.

As always, I respect and appreciate readers comments to this post.

10 comments:

Sheila Deeth said...

Oh wow. That was fascinating, and easy to understand. I shall look more carefully at what comes up next time I search something related to my book. Thanks.

Carrie Cooper said...

Carrie @ comfortedbyGod.blogspot.com

Excellent points and definitely something for me to research. Im currently writing nonfiction and just created my title. I might need to tweek it a little to better fit your recommendations.

Jill said...

WOW!!! The things writers need to think of in the age of Google!!! Thanks for the tips :)

Bubblecow said...

Love the post. I wrote a similar post last week that might be of interest. Remember Google is king!
http://www.bubblecow.co.uk/2010/04/why-a-good-title-will-sell-more-books/

Poetic Shutterbug said...

Wonderful tips and information.

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Ian@ Book Marketing said...

Wow!!! According to Google, fifty percent of all books are now sold over the Internet. This is good news for authors. Great article. Ian

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Laura said...

Picking a title for it's marketing angles is a shame. I think twice about any book that has a title like that. What can you expect of the content of such a book?