What’s in a name – and what’s the best way to choose a title for your book? This article reveals how the rules for naming a book OR business are essentially the same.
And it shows you how to do both.
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Did I get your attention?
Of course I did…
And that’s exactly why Julie Whitcomb (one of my former coaching clients) took my advice to rename her chocolate company from “Ziva Chocolates” (which didn’t mean anything) to “Orgasm Chocolates” (which gets immediate attention and implies a sensual experience). Since then, Julie’s been featured on FOX news (a 7-minute segment), gotten interest from QVC, and her company has been scrambling to keep up with the increased demand for her tantalizing treats.
You might not like hearing this,
but it’s true and you know it:
The words you use to talk about what you do are just as important as what you do; the words you use to describe your book… are just as important as the words inside your book.
So, if you’re not using the right words,
you’re taking some serious risks:
- People won’t understand what you do
- They won’t understand the value of what you do
- They won’t take action
- Or they won’t even notice you
So, today I thought I’d share some tips to help you choose the best words for your book, website domain, company, etc. You might not be able to make all of the following guidelines work for your name (but it’s a good goal). Put “Orgasm Chocolates” to the test (for example) and see if it satisfies all of the following “requirements.”
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Create a Spectacle
You don’t have to be risqué and use a name as racy as “Orgasm Chocolates,” but you shouldn’t use a name like “Quality Chocolates” either. Boring! Do something creative to get attention (if it’s also entertaining in some way, even better).
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Make Me Curious
You can use simple, straightforward language and still create curiosity. If I was developing a product to help writers get published, I might call it “How to Get Published in 30 Seconds or Less.” People would say to themselves, “That’s impossible!” Then they’d read the subtitle to learn what the hook is. There they’d learn that agents often decide if they’re interested in your work within the first 30 seconds of reading about your book.
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Make a Promise
When I used to be a literary agent (helping authors get published), I sold a book to Random House called “The Marriage Plan: How to Find Your Soul Mate in One Year or Less.” Being direct can be powerful. I’m not sure the book would have ever gotten published if it hadn’t had that clever title and promise.
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One of our coaching clients had a TV show called “The Effortless Productivity TV Show”. His personal mission was to help people get out of “busyness” and get down to business. I suggested that he change the name to “The Busyness TV Show” or “The UnBusy TV Show” (much more memorable). And, oh yeah, the latter idea includes a “promise” (note the previous strategy above).
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Easy to Spell
Don’t get too clever (something I have to fight as well). Don’t invent new words, use weird spellings, or strange names that would require you to spell them out every time you say them to someone else. Companies like Google with lots of money to put into advertising can pull it off. But names like that don’t SHOW UP in search engines like Google because no one is looking for them.
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The Think & Feel Test
Be clear about what you want people to think or feel. I’ll mention the “Orgasm Chocolates” example again here because it elicits all kinds of thoughts and feelings when you hear it. When you first heard the name, you probably thought two things: 1) “Did he really just say that?” and 2) “Those chocolates must be really good.”
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Get Help, But Not Too Much
Nothing kills good names (and good marketing ideas), like getting too many people involved. I’ve seen great names end up in the trash because of this, and awful names end up being used… with disastrous results.
Choosing the right name can truly make the difference for your book (or business). But it has to be the right name. So get help. There are many more things to consider when it comes to naming, than the few I was able to fit into this short article. And, for every rule or guideline I can tell you about, there are important exceptions to the rule.
Now, what do YOU think about all this?
What’s one of your favorite book titles of all time (and why)?
Tell me below…