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I was talking to my sister who works in a library. I was asking her about if the book cover attracted people to read the book. I was surprised that she said that the most important thing that attracted readers was the title.

That answered surprised me so I questioned her more. She said that people look for interesting titles and picked the books that seem interesting. She said that books covers have only limited effect.

Since she works in a library and see people picking out books all the time, I figured that she was probably right.

So I looked through my novel covers and found four that should be changed. Since none of these novels had sold, I thought that maybe the title was the problem.

I asked my sister about these titles and she said that these titles wouldn't attract much interest in her library and suggested that I change them.

So I changed Franklin to Seduction of Franklin

Memory Lane to Looking for Lost Love

Julie and Her Preacher to Reincarnation of Julie

Almost Women to Invasion of Alien Women


I changed the titles novels, rewrote the descriptions, and made new novel covers. Then I resubmitted the novels to Amazon. Go over and look at the novels and see if that is an improvement.

So do you agree with my sister's opinion about book titles and have you changed any of your titles?
 

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As a reader I'm also drawn to interesting titles. I'm split on your changed titles. I'm more curious about Almost Women over Invasion of Alien Women. I like Memory Lane more than Looking for Lost Love (reminds me of that corny song: "Looking for Love in all the Wrong Places"). However the other two titles you changed are an improvement IMHO.
 

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Titles do grab my attention, and I have to agree that while I like some of your title changes I am more drawn to "Almost Women" and "Memory Lane". Sometimes the simpler the title, the more drawn I am to it.
 

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To me, the title is as important as the cover itself. As flashy as the cover is, if the title doesn't strike me, I won't bother.
I like Memory Lane better. And I like Almost Women better...though Almost Women sounds a bit more, to me, like a novel along the Lines of Fried Green Tomatoes or Little Women.

I checked out your covers too. I don't want to sound mean but they look kind of...well, kind of like the covers to easy-listening CDs.
Like this. Or this
That's just my opinion though and I'm not exactly good at graphic design.
 

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Franklin Eddy said:
She said that people look for interesting titles and picked the books that seem interesting. She said that books covers have only limited effect.
I don't know, seems like there's a reason that there are so many buxom bodices in romance fiction and spaceships in scifi. I think cover art is still very important. Title is important, sure, but even though we're electronic now we have a long history of book sales and marketing to look back upon.
 

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scottsigler said:
I don't know, seems like there's a reason that there are so many buxom bodices in romance fiction and spaceships in scifi. I think cover art is still very important. Title is important, sure, but even though we're electronic now we have a long history of book sales and marketing to look back upon.
I like the title Almost Women.

I think titles and covers are important for marketing.
 

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And by the way, is it all right if I hijack the thread long enough to ask about my own titles?

One of my books sells more on Kindle than all the others put together. The title? ...and night falls

I don't get it. Are the rest of my titles total duds? Here they are:

On Berryhill Road

Scribbles

Tugger's Down

High on a Mountain

Deep in the Valley

And what's weird is that when I sell the print versions from a booth at local festivals and at book signings, ...and night falls sales are lackluster. The print versions of High on a Mountain and On Berryhill Road are neck-and-neck are my best sellers in print....leaves me scratching my head in puzzlement.

I'd appreciate any insight anyone could share.
 

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I think it's important. How it draws in the reader though? I have no clue! I've actually worried that "The Betrothal: Or How I Saved Alan Edwards from 40 Years of Hell" is too long but it really fits the book. Plus, I tell myself I have to rebel against the current trend in publishing to go with one word. Tolkien didn't write "Ring", "Tower", and "King" after all.
 

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Title is important.
I look at the titles for my first eight books now and I cringe.  There is little in the title of any of those books to interest the reader.  So then why should they pick up and even check to see what it is about?  Do that yourself.  Go to the bookstore and just scan.  Besides the cover art (if the book is fortunate not to be spine out), what do you notice?  The title.  And which ones catch your interest?  It is something very important to think about and consider. 
Mary Higgins Clark says title should invite you into the book.  Many authors come up with a title that only makes sense if you read the book; i.e. the title comes out of the book.  But that’s backwards logic.  Because no one is going to read the book unless the title draws them into.  I recommend spending a considerable amount of time thinking about your title.  I believe it is the #1 marketing device the writer has control of.
 

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Tommie Lyn -

And by the way, is it all right if I hijack the thread long enough to ask about my own titles?
...and night falls - my favorite by far over your other titles listed. Title hooks me.
On Berryhill Road - no interest
Scribbles - no, but I'd be very interested if this was a pen name for Charles Schultz
Tugger's Down - nope, sorry
High on a Mountain - nope
Deep in the Valley - This one is somewhat intriguing. I'd read the blurb and check out the cover.

Remember, just one reader's 2 1/2 rusted pennies.
 

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Franklin,

I agree with what appears to be the majority.  Memory Lane and Almost Women were better.  The other two are improvements.


Tommie,

I'm probably the last person who should comment on covers and titles, but ( for me) the covers and titles don't seem to match up.  High On A Mountain and Deep In The Valley appeal to me as titles (I like wilderness adventures), but the covers make me think romance (which doesn't appeal to me).  I would imagine that the description clears that up, but without a description, I'd probably look for something else.
 

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I think title is incredibly important...probably why I changed mine 4 times before I was happy! 
 

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I hate trying to come up with intriguing titles, but they do matter. It's the first thing we notice, especially when covers are small or not first shown to us, as in Bob's example.

I agonize over titles; it's never a quick decision. There are certain words/phrases, depending on the trends of different genres, that trigger people's interest. The problem is coming up with something unique that fits the mold.

I agree with the others on the title changes, btw.
 

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I think titles are critical in the context of a library, where the spine with the title is the only thing visible. The same applies in a physical bookshop, where the customer sees the spine first. The cover is only visible once the books are pulled off the shelf, and then can reinforce or perhaps negate the original intent to read the book.
With ebooks the cover is far more important in drawing attention to books, since this is fully visible.
The title is read after the attention has been drawn by the cover. If the title does not increase or at least hold the initial interest, the browser moves on.

 

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Thanks, Todd and Dan, for your feedback. I'll have to rethink those titles.

And by the way, High on a Mountain and Deep in the Valley aren't romances. They are books one and two of an historical family saga that starts in Scotland in the mid-eighteenth century and continues into Cherokee Territory in the colony of South Carolina (think swords, think battles, think "Braveheart meets Dances with Wolves, LOL). The book covers are the family's clan tartan, with an insert of the MC of each story on the front. I'm intrigued...what makes them look like romances to you? Whatever it is, I'll need to change it, because the next two books in the series, Across the Wide River and On the Red Clay Hills will use that same cover format...and it needs to be one that will work.
 

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THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT:

A question to all those people who like "Almost Women" better -- have you read the book and do you know if it applies?  Or does it just sound like the kind of book you'd like better than "Invasion of the Alien Women"?  What if the book is about alien women who are "almost" human women?  (IMHO, if that were true, neither title is great.  The former implies a "coming of age" story or other straight women's fiction story. The latter implies a horror story.)

I say this because the coolest title is not necessarily the best.  The best title I've seen in a long time is "Take the Monkeys and Run" because it evokes so much.  It evokes humor (in particular: wit), crime, Woody Allen, excitement and speed.  However if the story were neither humorous nor involved crime/adventure, it would be a serious disappointment.

To me the title is much more important than either the cover or blurb, because, after all, the title is the only piece of information you see in every instance of mention of the book.  However, the most important thing about the title is whether it communicates the the feel of the story.  A boring title which communicates well will get me to click MUCH faster than an evocative title which sounds like something I don't want to read (or which doesn't tell me anything at all).

My own case in point: I have a collection of mystery short stories, which says what it is in the subtitle, and has a descirption of each of the stories in the blurb.  The title is "Waiter, There's a Clue In My Soup!" -- named after the lead story in the collection.  It sells well, but the very first review it got was someone who complained that it wasn't all funny food mysteries.  I'm not going to change it now, but lesson learned.  Attractive title is not all there is to it.

And yes, sometimes there just is no appropriate "sales" title for a book.  Then you have to find a title which at least doesn't turn people off and count on other, less immediate means of selling the book. (I.e. word-of-mouth, reviews, cover and blurb, your other books selling well enough to get people to check that one out...)

Camille
 

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Camille, I think people were commenting that Almost Women drew them in more as a title. You make a good point about a title's need to inform the reader of what's inside a book. However, if a title is dull, chances are, most people won't look further.

Short story collections often take the title of one of the stories in the collection. You will never please all readers. And that's a guarantee!
 
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