I’ve updated the list of my upcoming titles to reflect a few changes I felt needed to be made. As always I reserve the right to alter my titles as I see fit. I do love that about Indie Writing. I’m the publisher, so I have the right to use working titles and alter them as necessary until the publish date.
Why change a title? Sometimes the one I begin with no longer fits the story once it’s finished. (I’m a pantser.) Other times it feels too wordy. I want the title to reflect the main story arc. I also want it to be short so when people are searching for titles, they don’t have to waste time typing it forever or get confused remembering it. One or two-word titles feel better to me although I’ll use up to four words if necessary. (Example: Tolkien’s There and Back Again isn’t nearly as widely known as The Hobbit. They’re the same story.)
The thing that writers need to know is that once a title is published by an author, in a paperback or hardcover tangible form with an ISBN, it stays that title. The only way that it can change is if it’s published again with a new ISBN and then it isn’t technically the same book. Until the book is published, the title can be changed at the author’s or publisher’s discretion even if advanced teaser quotes or excerpts are shared digitally with a different title. So long as the story has no ISBN, the title is easily changeable.
The truth is that although good titles matter, it isn’t that important in the grand scheme of things unless you’re writing stand-alone works. You do want it to grab reader attention, but you don’t have to overthink it. It simply needs to fit the story and if it’s in a series be a part of the overall theme.
The most important words on the cover of a book are the author’s name. The author’s name is technically the brand name. It’s the most important thing that readers use to find your body of work. So if Ophelia Kee is typed into Google, different online links to social media, my website, my author page, and my books on multiple platforms will show up. Ophelia Kee takes up the first 8 pages of a search and has pages of images as well. Page one has videos, images, and all ten items listed are about Ophelia Kee.
The series name, the book titles? They aren’t nearly as powerful a search tool. The saga title of Draoithe only holds 6 spots on page one of a Google search and not the first three. Don’t kid yourself thinking that anyone ever looks at page 2. Over 90% don’t scroll.
I know a lot of authors suffer from imposter syndrome (they feel that their story isn’t that good and maybe they aren’t a real author), but the truth is that a well-told story is always good. If you want to be recognized and read, you do have to note that simple detail. Be sure that your author’s name appears prominently on the book cover. Do things to enhance the reader’s memory of you by always using the same font style or letter coloring for your name. Choose where your name belongs on the cover so that when readers see it they immediately recognize your book and want to read it. Make it stand out from the other words about the book. (It goes without saying that the book’s contents need to be well-written, proofread, and edited or the branding won’t matter.)
Don’t get the big head and make the author’s name bigger than the book title. That’s as bad as making it so small that you aren’t memorable. People don’t believe that you’re as big as Stephen King or JK Rowling just because your name takes up half of the book cover. The contents of the story are why the title should be bigger. You aren’t the story. If you write more than one book, you’re many stories, and as such your name will appear on many covers. You’re the brand and it’s your name that people will search for more often than they’ll search for one of your titles. The author’s name will appear many times. The book’s title will appear less often so it should be bigger as it has only one chance to make an impression. The author’s name has the advantage of repetition so it goes without saying that the size of your bookshelf matters!
My journey as a self-published author continues. #indieauthor, that’s me! I don’t think I’ll ever stop writing at this point. I truly enjoy it. Stories are amazing. There’s still so much to explore and do. I need to keep pushing forward in my efforts to tell my stories. There’s always another bus coming to some destination I’ve yet to see. Thank you for stepping into the dream with me and taking the ride. A Pack Forms is where it all began, but there are many titles in the saga now. There are short reads, spinoffs, excerpt books, prologues, and extras. I have even crafted several audiobooks. Would you like a taste of the audio for A Pack Forms? Check it out and let me know what you think.
Learning Book Marketing
Most of you know that I don’t have money. I don’t earn much past what I must have to pay my bills. Sadly, I’m not an everyday millionaire. Nor am I likely to ever become one. I don’t make more than gas money from my stories each month. Mostly because I work a full-time day job and the learning curve for marketing books seems to be Greek to me.
I write because I love it, for my dedicated long-time readers, and with the hope of meeting more people who need to escape into the dream from time to time. Sure, I’d love to be able to write full-time all the time, but unless or until that becomes my reality, I’ll remain content with just being able to write.
Having said all of that, I must admit that I’m always seeking knowledge about the field of self-publishing. I stumbled over the Self-Publishing Show on YouTube. (I’m not a paid spokesperson nor have I ever purchased anything from Mark Dawsen and company.)
I’ve watched a few episodes, but the one with author Marie Force, made me rethink a few things about what I’m doing to market my books. I honestly believe that this is where I fail. I’m not a carnival barker or a natural-born salesman, so I have to seriously work at all of that. I believe I might be making a couple of mistakes not giving away more free stories. Also, I must pay for ads, which means learning to write ad copy (as if a book blurb wasn’t bad enough.)
I’ve dabbled in them a bit. This is an example minus the image and this one obviously sends the buyer to Amazon. I am just not comfortable with them and it takes a lot of work to get the words and images just right to be able to convert an ad click to purchase. It’s the expense that truly bothers me the most. I have only recouped the money for one month’s ads, but I barely broke even. The rest of the time I have lost money. Marketing a title is the hardest part of writing.
What’s the connection between titles and marketing books?
If you have a series, saga, or multiple books, ads are easier. You can offer a free or significantly reduced teaser read that you anticipate taking a loss on (known as a loss leader), advertise it everywhere (You have to constantly monitor your ads to ensure that they are relevant and producing sales), and then link your other books so that readers will buy more, and you will recoup the money and earn the profit in other works sold. Series are best for this because they leave the reader wanting more. Stories about peripheral characters that become main characters, continuing events, or stories set in a particular place that occur over time work well.
Personally, I think I need to let my ads run longer and add more money to them after testing multiple ad copies and imagery. None of that sounds nearly as exciting as writing a good PNR story. It sounds tedious, but if you want a title to sell, it’s a necessary skill to be learned.
Where will the money come from? Even though I know some things I can try, I once again lack the funds to implement many of the strategies. It does indeed take money to make money.
The truth about book titles? They matter, need to be large, well promoted, and be attached to an author’s name! Also, They ARE NOT passive income! Just to be clear. I’ll get there. I’m sure that I’m getting closer. In case you thought this seemed easy, allow me to remind you that you also need a social media presence and to build an email marketing list. A newsletter and book funnel could be important as well. Don’t forget about your blog and multiple income streams so merchandise is a must.
Maybe I just need to write some more and then I’ll feel better. A little tease?
The size of my bookshelf matters and that is where I excel. When you read, be kind, and please leave reviews. Until next time…