What’s in a name? A look at one-word book titles

There’s a long essay at The Millions this week entitled The Appeals and Perils of the One-Word Book Title.

It’s well worth reading, as it covers a lot of ground, and stresses the importance of the title for your books.

Writer Bill Morris discusses the appeal of one-word titles … “mainly because they can be so enviably concise and memorable, so perfect. At their best, one-word titles distill content to its purest essence, which is what all titles strive to do, and then they stick in the mind.”

Think of the pressure involved in choosing just one single word to convey the meaning of your entire book! A lot can go wrong, but if you get it right, well, you’ll have a successful book, driven by curiosity over the title. So, whether you have a book in mind, have already chosen a title, or just want a little exercise this morning, think of one word, just one word, that would convey the essence of your book.

As further impetus to study the one-word-title concept, Morris notes:

“Seven of the 32 books on the current New York Times hardcover fiction and non-fiction best-seller lists – a healthy 22 percent – have one word titles.”

Curious? There’s a section on the importance of title in Release Your Writing. Like naming a baby, it’s pretty important.


You? A Brand?

Excerpted from “How to Discover and Build Your Author Brand,” at The Creative Penn by Joanna Penn.

Branding is important because it enables people to find you, and when they find you, they might just buy your book. So who are you online? Which niche do you fit into? How do people find you?

Creating an author platform is vital for a new author’s success, and creating a brand is the basis for the platform. You need to know what you are creating before you start!

Deciding On Your Brand

To decide on your brand, answer the following questions:

  1. How do you want to be known? What words do you want people to associate with you?
  2. What are your goals for the next 3 years? What words are associated with that?
  3. Will your books be in a particular genre?
  4. Who do you admire and want to emulate in writing and also as a brand? Find their websites and keep screenprints of what you like and don’t like. Use them as a model (but obviously no plagiarism!)
  5. If you have a website already, enter it into Google Keyword tool. Are you happy with the keywords associated with your site? Do you need to change your focus?
  6. What images do you want associated with you and your brand?

Read Joanna’s full post here

Thank you Joanna, of thecreativepenn.com for permission to use your material here on Pajama Marketing for Authors.

Author Marketing: What’s on your list this month?

In Release Your Writing, I refer to several concepts that continue to generate feedback year after year.

One is the concept of “the last 100 hours” which I’ll post here next week. It refers to all the work left to do on your book once you ‘think’ it is is complete.

The other comes up almost every week in my work with authors. People write a good book, I consult or assist in getting it published, and spend time discussing the marketing involved to keep the book alive. But for a few people, when they reach that point, they think they are “done!”  The reality is, you can’t believe people will buy your book just because it is on Amazon.

So, to reiterate the essential concept from Release Your Writing, here it is again:

“Susan Driscoll (formerly president of iUniverse,)  notes that word-of-mouth, the top-selling factor for most books, takes that long to reach a peak. So don’t plan to sit back and wait for future sales if you’re not actively promoting the book. As the publishing adage goes: “Your book stops selling when you stop selling it.”

“Keep working the web. Do one thing a month, every month, to increase your exposure. Although your book will be on major online retail sites, you can leverage the broad reach of the web by cross listing, and linking to your book in all reviews you post online for colleagues and friends.

“Seek reviews; get in stores online and across the country. Write articles in newsletters, magazines and newspapers to get press. Work your affiliations by joining organizations that will increase your exposure and let you learn from others in your field.”

September quote

“Artists and poets are the raw nerve ends of humanity.

By themselves they can do little to save humanity.

Without them there would be little worth saving.”

— Inscription on  Jackson Pollock’s headstone, Long Island, NY

12 steps before you’re ready to publish

My colleague, Stephanie Chandler, author of “BookedUp,” offers a thoughtful post on her blog here.  Her “12 Tasks Every Author Should Tackle Before Publishing a Book” is terrific. The advice includes many of the items I tell clients every week: Start a blog, Find a way to stay visible on social media,etc. But Stephanie goes much farther. She helps you understand how to prepare for a launch, create marketing materials, and really understand the commitment to making your book a success.

Again, Stephanie’s full post is here. Learn more at her site, Authority Publishing. She is a master at author marketing.

BookedUp” is available in paperback and ebook at Amazon.


Do you Vlog?… video blog?

Video blogs are a cool tool for authors, You would create one to share a book trailer, create a self-produced author Q & A, or keep readers engaged with your work in process.

This technology is easier than ever with video capability right on your phone, so take it seriously if you want to raise your author profile online.

For basic training, tour Wikipedia’s database on vlogging here.

an exhausting list of author marketing tools

40+ Free Tools for Authors

The Self Publishing Review site has produced an exhaustive list of resources for promoting your ebooks.

The richness of the tools are sorted as follows:

Writing and editing – tools, which can help you better write and edit your book
Design – how to easily prepare a cover of a book; it’s actually easier than you think
Formats and conversion – tools to convert and prepare books in desired file formats
Publishing – a list of the most popular self-publishing platforms
Online presence – what you need to effectively promote and sell your books
Reader engagement – tools to engage your readers in your books and writing
Analytics – analyze effectiveness of your online activity

Maybe spend an hour on each category and prioritize your top three tools. Once you focus on those, you can return to the list to teach yourself more about the other items.


Helen Gallagher

What does a publicist do for a new author?

If your book is not reaching the desired audience, not found among the clutter, you may need a publicist to jump-start your launch.

What does a publicist do?

They have media connections and get exposure for your book. Often they start with a traditional press release sent to thousands of media outlets: internet radio, local television, and print media. They book events for you, keep your name in the news for a month or two, and then you build on that initial buzz.

Media Bistro has compiled a long list of resources to consider. What you can do now, even before your book is published, is work on the pitch. You need a compelling statement that states exactly what your book is about, what it promises for the reader, and why it is unique. Without that critical understanding of your book, [your product] you aren’t ready to begin spending money on publicists. While they can help focus your pitch, it is your job to convey the essence of your book and the target audience.

Publicist services are effective but expensive. If you use one to create initial buzz, make certain you focus on the core message and target the right audience.

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono

Social media tips via free webinar

We all love seminars, especially free ones. Webinars are seminars you can watch on your computer, at your convenience.

Cision, a company with a forward-thinking look at new media, has posted a good collection of marketing videos on social media, and a deep dive into the “Twitterverse.” Whether you need to boost your online visibility or just gather background information, it’s a good investment in your understanding of digital publishing.

Have a great Saturday.

Helen – who tweets at twitter.com/cclarity

Want more exposure for your blog?

To get your blog in wider circulation, consider adding it to Networked Blogs for visibility in your Facebook community.

Sign up at networkedblogs.com and log in to Facebook from there. Your blog posts will appear on Facebook automatically. And, your networkedblog.com listing gives you even more exposure.

Like most of the author marketing strategies I share with you, it’s free.


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