Listen for Great Book Titles

Great Book Titles Ideas Are Everywhere
LISTEN for Phrases That Catch Your Ear!

By Susan Kendrick
Write To Your Market, Inc.

NOTE: This is an set of tips we orginally posted spring of last year on another of our blogs. It has been a favorite of ours and our readers, so here it is again, a timeless way to discover a great book title.

This past week I was listening to public radio while driving and captivated by the very energetic introduction to the next program, "Here on Earth: Radio Without Borders" hosted by Jean Feraca. The guest was an expert on grains, but not in the eat-these-they're-good-for-you way. Somewhere in her early adulthood as a journalist living on frozen pizza, she had rediscovered a moment in childhood when a small bag of sweetened Greek dessert had delighted and transported her during a very sad time.  And now this writer, journalist, and cook has contributed to Gourmet, Saveur, and Gastronomica, as well as Marie Claire, and Elle.

In the introduction to this guest and her celebration of grains as comfort food, desserts, and more, I heard phrases like "gorgeous grains" and "ancient grains for modern meals." Feraca spun a web of words so rich, I couldn't wait to hear if the guest had a book and which of these delicacies was the title.

The guest, of course, did not disappoint. Maria Speck was passionate, personal, joyful, and highly articulate about every nuance of her topic. And, yes, she is the author of Ancient Grains for Modern Meals: Mediterranean Whole Grain Recipes for Barley, Farro, Kamut, Polenta, Wheat Berries & More.

Take-Aways You Can Use

The Reason I am posting this book title and radio interview here is because there are a couple of good take-aways. First, a good book title needs to clearly communicate your topic, but a great book title "sounds" good doing it. It rings. Ancient Grains for Modern Meals is a great example of three good book title strategies that make this title sound good:

(1) Rhyming--Ancient Grains

(2) Alliteration--Modern Meals

(3) Parallel Construction-- Ancient Grains is a simple,
     two-word descriptor that sets up another simple,
     but contrasting two word descriptor, Modern Meals

Now, granted, authors and publishers do not always and do not need to create book titles on such a dissected level. These types of book titles are usually equal parts intent and serendipity. So listen. Listen to how you talk about your topic. Get your friends and collegues involved. See what rises to the surface in conversation. A great book title is easy to say, hear, and remember. It says what is new and different about you and your book.

Listen to this broadcast for a good example of how great a book title can sound.

One More Thing That Works

The other thing I noticed while listening to the introduction to this interview was all of the other descriptors that came up and initially had me wondering which one was the title. Was it "Gorgeous Grains"? Was is "Ancient Grains for Modern Meals"? This is a good time to point out that any phrase that does not make the final cut as title, can still be used to great effect as a headline or sound bite about your book. In this case, I imagine that "Gorgeous Grains" could have been on the table at some point as a possible title.

So, as the saying goes ... "Listen and Learn." We are here every day working with experts, authors, consultants, and publishers, creating book titles, subtitles, branding, and marketing. Email us at or call 715-634-4120.

Reach Multiple Markets with One Book Cover

By Susan Kendrick
Write To Your Market, Inc.

Your nonfiction book cover is a conversation with a potential buyer that makes them say, “Yes, that’s it! This book is just the solution I’ve been looking for.” Whether that solution focuses on health, medicine, leadership, funding your retirement, raising thoughtful kids, or making a career change, your expertise shines. But, who else could benefit from your approach. And, where are your own interests taking you?

What we find with many author experts is that while the books they are writing are a culmination of their existing expertise, their sphere of influence and interest is already growing into other areas and markets, even while they are writing those books.

So, what to do with all that other expertise and the fact that you know you can help even more kinds of people, in a variety of situations, and that your own passion are already leading you in those directions?

Build that flexibility and growth right into your book cover. Note that doing so is about more than what should already be included in your back cover bio--that you speak, consult, etc. Somewhere else in your copy, without getting “salesy,” mention the other ways you can and want to help. Advertise for more of what you can and want to do.

Here’s an example of one way to do this, from the book back cover copy we developed for our client, Joe Keller, author of “Single Effort: How to Live Smarter, Date Better, and be Awesomely Happy”:

“Heartfelt, funny, and always practical, Single Effort is a must-read for single guys everywhere. It’s also perfect for anyone (male or female, single or not) in search of unique dating and lifestyle ideas for a more fulfilling life.”

Did you hear that? We let readers know that Joe Keller, while an expert on the single guy, is also a trusted resource on taking dating to a new level as a way to enhance your whole life, not just one phase in the dating journey. Think of the doors this opens for Joe and how he is now positioned as an expert on a range of related topics. Now, think about how you could do the same with your expertise and passion, growing it into areas that interest you and where you can reach out to more people in more markets.

You grow by publishing a book, and then you keep growing. Make sure your book cover helps take you there and develops a loyal, enthusiastic following and profitable business in the process. To help you get your ideas to market faster and more successfully, find out how we can help. Call Susan Kendrick and Graham Van Dixhorn at 715-634-4120, or email about writing a book to build your business.