At the end of last year I finally finished my first book. It was called The Year of the Yellow Motorbike.
Never heard of it?
That is because I never published it under that name. I surveyed some people, published extracts under other names, and finally published it as Housesitting in Australia.
What happened and what did I learn. I learned three important things that I would like to share.
1. It’s about the reader. Who is your book written for? How will it attract them?
As much as I was convinced that all middle aged women who yearned for adventure would love my book, the reality is that there had to be a reason for people to pick up my book.
Yes, it is about my journeys and adventures, but what sets it apart is that it contains some valuable information about an incredible way to travel and stay in lovely homes for free.
During my research on the current title, one woman wrote “For an American reader, I can guarantee that you will definitely have an audience for this type of book based on the title alone!”
The name was changed that day.
2. You have to do your homework.
A friend has written a book, so I looked it up on Amazon. Ten minutes later I was still searching for it.
He had chosen a popular title and there were three other books, and a popular song with the same name. His book was way down the page, even when I used the full title.
It is important that your book is easy to find. The title should be unique, and if possible, include words that people are looking for. Even a fiction book would do well to have something in the title that makes it possible for readers to find it in the crowd.
Look up your chosen title on Google and Amazon and see what comes up. Test a few options. Have an editor look over your manuscript and comment on the title. Ask some friends.
3. Be true to you.
Paul Carter has a book called Don't Tell Mom I Work on the Rigs: She Thinks I'm a Piano Player in a Whorehouse. It tells me immediately it will be a bit tongue in cheek.
Some of the art of choosing a book title is just gut instinct. Considering the tone of the book, what words create the emotions you want your reader to feel when they pick up your book.
A romance novel will use words like Passion, and Devotion. An adventure novel is more likely to use words like conquest, and expedition.
A subtitle is a great way to add extra information. I used the word adventure in my subtitle to portray that this is more than just a dry book of information. I used the words tiny budget to appeal to people who want to save money. (And who doesn’t want to save money)
I plan to use the word Adventure again in the subtitle of my next book.
So now a request.
What do you think?