Do you check your book title before publishing?
The importance of finding good book title ideas for a new book is often overlooked by self-publishers.
While it is easy to think that the fiction title you have selected is fantastic, unique and attention-grabbing, I wonder how many authors research title ideas before making a final decision.
Without taking the time to explore your possible words to use for your story titles before publishing, it is very easy to fall into the trap of selecting a title for your book that is already in use by another, or more than one author.
Finding a unique title and subtitle involves taking the time to do your analysis before making a decision that will be difficult or impossible to change after publishing.
You can use title generators to give you several different and possible title ideas, but you should craft and write these suggestions into your own unique and perfect title.
The mistake of discovering that other books already have the same title as yours will make it difficult when it comes time for book marketing.
It is hard enough to get readers to find your book, without it being confused with others. This situation can occur particularly with short, one, two or three-word titles.
In an article in The Chicago Tribune, one small paragraph highlights the problem.
“Recently, she was researching a proposed title for a book the company is about to publish. A quick search of Amazon revealed 40 books with exactly the same title. “Every single one of them was self-published. That takes up space. That’s going to make it harder to compete, harder to stand out.”
Check your title ideas well before you publish
When it comes time to decide on potential titles for a new book, there are a number of quick checks that you can do.
Firstly, of course, a good place to start is to do check on Amazon Search to see if there are books with the same title.
Another easy way is to do a Google Search.
While it is, of course, preferable to have a unique title, another consideration is how well the title will work in Google and Amazon Search to attract organic Internet traffic to your new book.
By using a selection of words from your proposed title, it is easy to see how popular the search results are by noting the number at the top of the Google Search results.
I did a quick Google Search for the following three sci-fi phrases and they returned drastically different results.
Space Invaders – 11,300,000
Space Aliens – 18,200,000
Space Wars – 25,700,000
So clearly, by pairing the words space and wars, they are going to attract more organic traffic than the other two combinations.
This, of course, is a simplistic example, yet I wonder how many self-published authors didn’t really take the time to do something as easy as this before coming to a decision.
Finding great word combinations comes from doing your research
After writing a book, sales will depend on finding a good book title that will encourage people to read your story, so don’t rush into this very important decision.
Before deciding on the title for your book, or even a short story, always take the time for a short brainstorming session on the all the words you have in mind and check if they are candidates for a keyword rich, searchable and interesting title.
As a large proportion of book sales occur from readers searching Amazon for a new book to read, your title, as well as your book cover, will be extremely important in attracting these book buyers.
You can check the search feature on Amazon Kindle, iBooks and Smashwords of course. You could even try one of the many online title or headline generators to find different title ideas.
But if you are lucky enough to have an Amazon Associates account, it is even better because you can dig much deeper into how many occurrences there are of your chosen words in both your possible title and subtitle keywords.
If you choose words that have been used too frequently for other books, it will make your new book difficult to find, which is not what a perfect title should do.
But on the other hand, using words that are not what people would normally search for, such as invented words, give you little chance of being discovered through search by potential book buyers.
Here is a short list of several different words that I entered into my Amazon Associates account, and the count the search returned in the Kindle E-book Store for each word.
Words that work, and don’t work so well for title ideas
Shadow: 11,720. Probably a very good word to avoid, unless you want your book totally lost in the shadows of a lot of other shadows.
Hunger: 2,076. Surprisingly few, considering the popularity of the Hunger Games.
Chronicles: 18,030. Boy, now this looks like a word to avoid completely.
Daughter: 15,420. Another overused word, and one you should forget about using.
Midnight: 4,599. Not so bad really, especially if used in combination with another good keyword.
Book 2: 211,125. Okay, so you have a book series, but does it need to occupy valuable space in the title?
These are totally wasted words, as no one would ever search for the words book two or book three. If you use a subtitle, avoid this word and look for more productive words.
Gloth: 4. What’s this word Gloth? It’s a word I invented for my one of my series of books, and one that is not at all useful in search. Okay, live and learn and yes, I didn’t really know then how much of a dumb move it was on my part.
Dream: 36, 538. Another truly overused word in the titles of fiction books. Oddly enough, nightmare only returned 2,873, so there’s a hint. Use an antonym.
Okay, one last killer word.
War: 99,896. Well, if you want a word in your title that is very popular, try this one. But expect to wait a very long while for war enthusiasts to find your book amongst nearly 100,000 titles.
Avoid overused words, and search for less competitive, yet searchable words for your potential title.
There are words that will have your title in a forest, or unable to be found, but what types of words can be used for a good title?
Look for words that you think people would search for and that are less competitive that will help them find your book.
Think about where, when and why when looking for the answer. If you have written a romance or sci-fi novel, where and when is it set? And why is there a conflict? Your title alone should give the reader a very good clue about your story.
Here’s an example of a little research for my non-existent romance novel, which was set in Fiji. But Fiji was not a good keyword at all for book marketing.
So I changed the location.
Hawaii? 2,500. Now, here’s a great keyword for a romance title. A common searchable word with not much competition. There are many cities and countries that could be used, and they make for excellent search returns. This is a key factor for a title that sells well.
Stranded: 632. No. A nice word, but clearly it is not one that people would use in search.
Lost: 16,275. No. Another forest of other titles.
Missing: 5,508. Perfect. A common word with very little competition.
So, Missing In Hawaii is a solid, searchable and if I may say so, a very decent title for a bestselling book. On top of that, the title sounds romantic.
And better still, when I searched Amazon, the title was unique. Okay, you can steal my title if you wish, because I am certainly not a romance writer.
I may be totally wrong in my conclusion about Missing In Hawaii being a good book title idea, but at least I did some research. Have you?
Don’t follow the crowd. 50 Shades of anything has been done to death and Harry Potter can never be copied.
Take a step-by-step approach to write a great title and hunt for words that are underused, but are most importantly, very searchable.
Many people buy books when they are not looking to do so. Imagine someone investigating a holiday in Hawaii who then stumbles upon Missing In Hawaii. Definitely a potential book sale there for holiday reading if the title is combined with good cover art.
Pay attention to what potential book buyers may be looking for and how your choice of keywords in your title, and sub-title, can attract them to reading your book.
You can also apply the advice above to write the title for a nonfiction book as well.
An hour of keyword research may be the small difference between your next book being a booming success, or a failure.
Further reading: How to pick a book title for online discovery.