Elementary School Cookbook
Elementary School Cookbook
Robbins Elementary School Community Cookbook 1992
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1972 Clear Lake City TX Elementary School Cook Book
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How to Make your Book Title a âpromiseâ
Got a Non-Fiction Book? Tell Your Reader Whatâ€™s In It for Them!
(Adapted from The Well-Fed Self-Publisher: How to Turn One Book into a Full-Time Living, by Peter Bowerman. Fanove, 2007. www.wellfedsp.com).
NOTE: the following suggestions apply to non-fiction works.
Some time back, I got an email from an ebook author who wanted a blurb for his upcoming book on writing. I couldnâ€™t help but notice that his title seemed a bit weak. The book was about getting past the obstacles that most fiction writers encounter on the way to finishing their books. The original title was:
Writing Your Novel: A Quick and Easy Guide to Getting It Done
Yawn. It needed to be more dynamic. Hereâ€™s what I came up with:
UNSTUCK! Kick Down Those Roadblocks and Finish Your Novel Now!
Now, someone can look at the title and know instantly what the book is about and the benefits theyâ€™ll get from reading it.
If youâ€™re writing non-fiction, your title and subtitle are as crucially important as a great-looking cover. And in many respects, a title is similar to a corporate tagline, something I have a good bit of experience through my commercial writing career. Letâ€™s look at some famous taglines:
GE. We bring good things to life.
Delta. Weâ€™re ready when you are.
Avis. We try harder.
Burger King. Have it your way.
Virginia is for lovers.
What do they all have in common? Theyâ€™re promises. They tell you what you can count on. Same with a brand. Think Dove soap. Tiffanyâ€™s. Volvo. IBM. Any doubt as to the promise in those brands? Keep this in mind as you create your book title.
Promise, Then Elaborate
When I created my title, I kept in mind the promise, and I say I could have done a lot worse than The Well-Fed Writer (a detailed how-to guide on starting a â€œcommercialâ€ writing business â€“ writing for corporations, where the income potential money was FAR greater than typical â€œfreelance writingâ€).
I then used the subtitle to reinforce, clarify, elaborate on the promise of the title. I went with: Financial Self-Sufficiency as a Freelance Writer in Six Months or Less â€“ an additional promise in its own right. Donâ€™t make readers wonder what your book is about; have them â€œget itâ€ right away from the title and subtitle. A good rule of thumb on titles vs. subtitles? If the title you come up with sounds more explanatory than catchy (and is more than 4-5 words, max), itâ€™s probably a better subtitle.
It all comes down to benefits. Good title/subtitle combos tell readers whatâ€™s in it for them, why they should bother picking up the book in the first place.
Another Case Study
In another case, I was hired to mentor a new self-publishing author, an ad industry veteran whoâ€™d written book on creativity. While he wanted to tap my expertise on a variety of nuts and bolts issues, in his mind, his cover artwork (and photography) was paid for and nailed down, along with, of course, his title, too:
The Field Guide to Creativity:
One Path And 101 Pointers For Discovering Fresh Ideas
Well, when I told him his title needed work, he wasnâ€™t exactly overjoyed. I must confess, I felt a bit like the parent telling his daughter that, despite the fact that the wedding is two weeks away, invitations sent, and caterer, florist, photographer and band paid for, I thought her intended betrothed is a loser and itâ€™s not too late to call it off. Here was a book â€“ a really good, interesting, valuable and yes, creative book â€“ purporting to help people be more creative, and its title simply wasnâ€™t.
He took my advice, revisited the idea, he and I and a bunch of his friends (via email) brainstormed a bunch of jazzier titles, and hereâ€™s what he ended up with:
ZING! Five Steps & 101 Tips for Creativity on Command
Not a promise in a strict sense, but in way, the feeling it evoked was.
Speaking of Creativityâ€¦
I had a client recently, a long-time elementary school art teacher, whoâ€™d hired me for general consult on her unfolding self-publishing process. Sheâ€™d created a wonderful book â€“ an artistic resource (â€œidea bookâ€) for young people designed to spur their unique creative expression through a host of fun, unusual artistic techniques as well as all the necessary supply lists and â€œhow-to.â€ Early on, sheâ€™d named this seven-year labor of love:
The Color Book: A Book of Ideas to Inspire Young Artists
Her rationale: color and choice of color were fundamental to a childâ€™s artistic development (and the book was so colorful). I questioned the main title, even though she hadnâ€™t asked me to critique it, and in fact, considered it set in stone.
My thinking? For starters, her title made sense to her, given what she knew about the concept, none of which was self-evident to a buyer. Just as importantly, it was potentially confusing; it could mean a lot of things (i.e. color swatches, history of color, etc.). Finally, it didnâ€™t explain what the book was and didnâ€™t begin to really do justice to the bookâ€™s mission. I suggested something I felt was more descriptive of that mission:
Art Sparks! A Creative Adventure to Inspire Young Artists
Again, a promise. And while she liked it, she initially resisted it, more out of attachment and inertia. But, she quickly realized that she needed to think of her buyer, and came to love it as she saw that it truly captured her heartfelt mission for the book.
Know what the #1 best-selling trade paperback of 2002 was, according to Publishers Weekly? A cookbook! And one that sold 1.8 million copies. Title: The Fix-It and Forget-It? Cookbook: Feasting With Your Slow Cooker. (Authors: Dawn J. Ranck and Phyllis Pellman Good). Now is that a promise or what?
Canâ€™t land a publisher? Do it yourself, and make a living from it! Check out a free report on self-publishing at www.wellfedsp.com, home of author Peter Bowermanâ€™s award-winning 2007 release, The Well-Fed Self-Publisher: How to Turn One Book into a Full-Time Living.
About the Author
Bowerman is the self-published author of The Well-Fed Writer titles (www.wellfedwriter.com), multiple-award winning selections of Book-of-the-Month Club. Over 50,000 copies of his first two books in print have earned him a full-time living for over five years.