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People frequently tell me, “I’m thinking of writing a book; it’s called _______.”

They already know the title of their book. It’s something they’ve been thinking about for a long time, maybe years, maybe decades. They are married to the title. They think it completely encapsulates everything they want to say. It’s their message. It’s their baby.

And it’s probably the wrong title.

Here’s a tip that could save your sanity:

Do get emotionally attached to the outcomes and transformations you provide for your clients and customers. Get involved with their struggles. Be passionate about helping them reach their desired results.

Don’t get emotionally attached to anything surrounding your book. Not the title, not the cover design, not the content.

A title has a job to do. And guess what? Its job is not to convey your message. Its job is to attract attention and get potential readers to pick up your book. Its job is also to be memorable, so people will pass it on through word of mouth. Its job might also be to create visibility in search engines like Google and Amazon.

A book title does its job partly through careful application of keywords and key phrases.

If you’ve done any work with search engine optimization (SEO) or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, you’re familiar with the importance of keywords. These are words and phrases your target audience uses every day on search engines like Google and Amazon to search for solutions. Solutions you may be able to provide. If your title matches the keywords your target audience is using, your book has a better chance of being discovered.

If you’re writing a book about dog grooming businesses, for example, some possible key search phrases might  include:

“How to start a dog grooming business”
“Marketing for groomers”
“Successful pet groomers”

If you want your title to be noticed by your target readers and found more easily on search engines, you should use as many of these key words as possible. Include combinations of the keywords in your title and subtitle. So, for the example above, some possible titles might be:

Grooming Success: Marketing and Business Strategies for Dog Groomers
The Dog Biz: How to Start a Successful Dog Grooming Business in 6 Weeks

Notice how these titles include lots of keywords and tell the reader exactly what the book is about. Don’t be too clever or cryptic here. It’s important to think strategically about your title, and be willing to change it as you progress through the writing stage. Choose a working title in the early stages of writing, but realize it might not make the final cut.

How do you know which keywords your target audience is using?

I’ve created a video showing you the easy way to find this out using sites like Amazon, YouTube, and Google. You can find it on the resource page for The Profitable Business Author.

Some things to consider when choosing a title include:

Amazon keywords: How many searched-for terms are in your title and subtitle? You don’t have to use keywords in your title, but it’s a good idea to fit some in if possible.

Branding: How does it fit with your current branding? Will customers be confused? If your title and cover match your branding, there is a nice sense of continuity that carries over from the book to your products and services. One way to use your branding in your title is to add a line above the title that says something like “Brand XYZ Presents” or “Presented by XYZ Company”.

Recognition: Will your target market know this book is for them? It might be a good idea to mention your target audience in the title, so they know it’s for them. For example, Accounting for Small Businesses, Family Walks in Maine, or The Puppy Owner’s Guide to Obedience Training.

Results: Does the title make a bold promise? Tell the reader what the main benefit is. What will they learn if  they read this book? For example, How to Write a Book That Attracts Clients and Customers, How to Win Friends and Influence People, or Think and Grow Rich.

Uniqueness: Does the title stand out somehow? Is it funny, shocking, or memorable? A good title is eye-catching. For example, Change or Die, or Freakonomics.

Take some time to write down the important keywords associated with your business. Then brainstorm some titles that might work for your book.