Have a clear subtitle for your nonfiction book


Have a clear subtitle for your nonfiction book

Have a clear subtitle for your nonfiction book

Consider adding a subtitle if it helps add important detail about your book’s topic. If you are writing a nonfiction book, a subtitle helps readers understand what to expect from the book. For instance, Love ’Em or Lose ’Em, published by Berrett Koehler, teases readers with the subtitle Getting Good People to Stay, an especially catchy, short phrase designed to spark curiosity.

Do your research.

Once you have a title or titles you like, research your genre to see if there are already books with the same or a similar title. Your book might struggle to establish itself if readers are confusing it with another book of the same name.

Ask your readers what they think.

If you have viable options for a title, try testing them with your readers. Use your blog or mailing list to present the title candidates to potential readers and let them vote. Along with learning which title, you also help market the new book before it’s available.

What will your cover design look like?

The saying goes, “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” but readers do. That’s why it’s important to give serious consideration to your cover design. Go to your local bookstore or library and look for book covers that jump out at you. Notice the color, layout, image and typography. These are all elements that contribute to an effective cover. And remember to consider readability at full size and thumbnail size, because your cover should be just as eye-catching online as it is on the bookstore’s shelf.

There are certain genre conventions in cover design that will help potential readers identify what type of book yours is at a glance. For example: a dark background and bold typeface for horror or mystery; calming colors and a script font for self-help; or bold, bright colors and a handwritten font for young-adult titles.

These same design considerations will come into play as you create a website, promotional materials and other online branding elements related to your book. Keep in mind that all elements should have a similar look and feel to your book cover. This will establish cohesive branding and reinforce your identity as an author. It will also show your professionalism and reflect positively on your book.

What can you do to position yourself as an author?

Think about how you can give yourself credibility. Depending on the subject or genre of your book, you may be able to cite particular experiences, professional accreditations or other compelling factors that lend authority to your status as a writer.

Nonfiction writers may have an easier time coming up with these, but fiction writers have options too. Consider where your writing has been published before, what positive reviews or feedback you have received with regard to your writing, applicable training in the field of writing, as well as any awards or prizes you may have won.

What are your key selling points?

When you speak to book buyers, potential readers or media representatives, you want to have a quick and compelling reason why someone should buy your book. An effective pitch is a key to gaining the initial attention of your target audiences.

Are there any endorsements you can secure?

Having quotes from well-known or respected people can give your book added credibility in the eyes of potential book buyers. Think about who might be willing to endorse your book, then use their quotes on your back cover as well as in other sales materials. Always ask permission to use someone’s quote in any promotional materials, and be sure to choose quotes and sources thoughtfully with regard to your book and its target audience.


Fortune Publishing Group

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