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I Got Your Number! Using Numbers In a Book Title

I Got Your Number! Using Numbers In a Book Title

By Scott Lorenz
Westwind Communications

Using Numbers in Your Title Might Help Make Your Book More Memorable.

On LinkedIn, J.D. Gershbein, a global speaker and social branding specialist, raised the question, “Does a numbered step approach to titling a book have a positive effect on sales?” This particular question and subsequent thread made me delve deeper into the use of numbers in book titles and whether or not it makes sense.

Book titles are extremely important. As an author, creating a memorable title should be a high priority. Numbers in book titles work with items that already quantify. For example, a book titled ‘Get 6-Pack Abs in 6 Minutes a Day’ makes sense. I like using numbers in a book title when it’s relevant and useful in describing what the book is about.

An example that really works is ‘The 4 Hour Work Week’ by Tim Ferriss and his ‘4 Hour Body’. That number stops you in your tracks because it is shocking. How can you work just 4 hours a week? How can you have a good body in just 4 hours? Ferriss has capitalized on his branding of ‘4-Hour’ and ‘The 4-Hour Chef.’ He owns that number now. He’s branded his name with ‘4-Hour’ and will be able to incorporate it in his future work.

A number is a quickly comprehended visual because it’s a symbol and is represented by a minimal number of characters. For example, ‘One Thousand’ spelled out is represented by 12 characters, but only four characters if used as a number: 1000. This can save space on your cover and in this digital world sometimes a savings of a few characters can make a difference whether your complete book title is displayed by Google or even on Amazon. Furthermore, there’s a magic number of 65 characters for some search engines before it gets truncated or cut off. Another often overlooked benefit is that a number rises to the top of a list when alphabetized right along with symbols like ‘@’ or ‘$’ for example.

Here’s a list of a few well-known books that have used a number in the title:

1. Catch-22

2. The 4-Hour Work Week

3. The 4-Hour Chef

4. The 4-Hour Body

5. Europe on $5 a Day

6. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

7. Fahrenheit 451

8. 1984

9. The 39 Steps

10. 1, 2, Buckle My Shoe

11. Around the World in 80 Days

12. 1001 Arabian Nights

13. 13 Reasons Why

14. 3:10 to Yuma

15. Beneath the 13 Moons

16. Size 12 is Not Fat

17. 13 Little Blue Envelopes

18. 13 Treasures

19. The 6th Target

20. The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts

21. 7th Heaven

22. 10,001 Ways to Live on a Small Budget

23. The $100 Startup

24. The 48 Laws of Power

25. Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

26. The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals

27. 5: Where Will You Be Five Years From Today?

28. Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School

29. 30 Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30

30. 17 Cents and a Dream (a book from one of my clients, Daniel Milstein)

Whenever possible I use numbers in my article headlines because it drives home what the article is about. Here’s a sample:

22 Tips on What to Wear For a TV Interview

52 Ways to Promote Your iPhone App

33 Radio Interview Tips

55 Reasons to Send Out a Press Release

15 Tips for Great Book Cover Design

The Top 25 Book Fairs and Book Festivals Authors Should Attend.

You can find even more articles on book promotion topics at http://book-marketing-expert.com/articles.htm.

On LinkedIn, the question received many insightful responses. One I particularly liked was from James Cosenza, a software engineer, “I think the numbered approach is especially useful for self-help and how-to books. People want to know that they can change their lives or learn a new skill in 5, 10 or 15 ‘easy’ steps. I don’t know about saturation, but I think conflicting titles on the same subject might be off-putting. For example, do you buy ‘Install a New Patio in 10 Easy Steps’ vs. ‘A New Patio in Seven Simple Steps’?

Ethan de Jonge Kalmar, founder of Make Your English Work, says, “I think that it depends on your content and audience. Numbered lists certainly work well for blog posts and on social media sites, but given the speed of information now, and the tendency to want to have everything in concise, easy to digest form, I think that many readers of books (by which I mean works of at least 100 pages or so) are looking for more in-depth insight, and numbered list titles do not exactly communicate that the book provides that.”

“For a short promotional e-book, or perhaps the self-help/entrepreneur market it might work well. Also, I think that if you are providing information that is comprehensive because it covers many different things, it might work well, as in James Cosenza’s example of 1000 Places to See before You Die.”

Tim Lemire responded from an author’s perspective, “I never worried about coming up with a good title; I knew the publisher was going to assign their own title to the book anyway.”

Keep in mind, not every book title needs a number. For example, the number 7 is overused because people are trying to capitalize on Covey’s books. Even he came out with the “8th” Habit to stay away from the number 7. So, if you’re thinking of tacking the number “7” into your book’s title, think again because it will not stand out.

Should you decide to incorporate a number into your book’s title, make sure it adds to the book. Do not shove a number in the title because you think it might be a good idea. Not all book titles need numbers. However, some books might sell better because of the number in their title.

The Bottom Line: Coming up with the right name for your book is beyond important it’s critical. Creating a memorable title is really the point. Using numbers in your title might help make it even more memorable.

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book. He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few.

Learn more about Westwind Communications’ book marketing approach at https://www.WestwindBookMarketing.com or contact Lorenz at [email protected] or 734-667-2090 or fill out the form below. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist. Want help titling a book? Check out Scott Lorenz’s new award winning, bestselling book: Book Title Generator- A Proven System in Naming Your Book www.BookTitleGenerator.net.

Would you like help promoting your book?

If so, tell us a little about your book. What is the title? Do you have a publisher? What is the publish date? How many pages is your book? What is the cost? Do you have web site? What is your specific goal I.E., to make money, raise awareness, get the attention of an agent or publisher, sell the story to a movie or TV studio or something else?

Submit the form below with this information and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you!


How to Design a Book Cover that Gets Attention

How to Design a Book Cover that Gets Attention

By Scott Lorenz
Westwind Book Marketing

The best sales tool at your disposal can be picking the right book cover. It is no hidden secret that most readers shop with their eyes, and with so many books published each year, you need to make sure that your book cover can communicate to the reader that your book is worth their attention.

Think of it this way; your book cover is like a highway billboard. Just as people are driving past a billboard at 70 MPH, shoppers in a bookstore are walking by your book sitting on a table at the same relevant speed, or they’re quickly scanning a screen on Amazon. Just like a billboard, if you can’t catch their attention, you’ll never deliver the message.

That’s the reason billboards use images to get attention, “a picture is worth 1000 words.” after all.

Images are an important tool to convey the genre and contents to the potential buyer. What are some common images? Attractive men and women, pictures of nature, images of the product etc.

What is the correct image to use? One that does not need any explanation. If your image needs an introduction, then it’s not the right choice. How can you find out? Just show it to people. Ask them what they think the book is about by looking at the cover image. Ideally, the image should do the talking.

While we often hear “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” the truth is that everybody – book buyers, reviewers, media and consumers alike – most certainly do judge a book by its cover.

Choose your title carefully. The best highway billboards are 5-7 words in total because motorists are flying by and cannot comprehend too much information. The average attention span is limited. Putting too many words in the title is the equivalent of trying to take a drink out of a fire hose! If you want to have a fighting chance, give them a short, sweet title and subtitle. Be brief.

Consider the blurb. Blurbs are short two to three sentences of compliment that books have on their back covers. The best blurbs are from well-known experts in the field, famous personalities and authors who have read the book and have given positive reviews. There’s only room for a few, so you need to edit out repetitive comments and keep the best ones for the cover. If you are in love with all your blurbs, then you can print them in full on the last inside pages of the book.

As a book publicist and book marketer I cannot caution authors enough – do not underestimate the importance of a book cover’s design. One reason the task becomes so daunting and painful is that authors too often wait until the end of the process to think through book cover design.

Here are some important items to consider when making decisions on book cover design:

1. Use a subhead to create more descriptions. If you have a 10-word title, you have not properly named the book in the first place.

2. Check with Google for the words most searched on your topic. Type the word that best describes your book in the search box and see what the popular words are on that list. The ranking is very relevant marketing-wise, so try to use those words in your title or subtitle.

3. Visit bookstores and look at the covers of all types of books. What catches your eye? Look at the book face and look at the spines. Which ones are readable and why?

4. Will it play on Amazon? Go to Amazon.com, BN.com, KOBO and Goodreads and search on competitive books in your space. Notice the book covers that catch your eye and the ones that do not. If your cover does not show up well in an Amazon thumbnail, then you are going to lose sales.

5. Don’t let your graphic designer get started without keeping contrast in mind. The reason black ink works so well on white paper is that it produces the best contrast possible.

How does your book look in black and white? Not every publication will be printing it in color.

6. Font size. Many designers are young with great eyesight, but your buyer may not be able to read the tiny font some designers insist upon using. Be practical.

7. The spine. Can you read it from five feet away? If not, neither can browsers in a bookstore.

8. Keep them relevant and short. Consider including a mention on the cover of a foreword written by a famous person or author.

9. Do not overlook creating content on the back inside flaps because consumers sometimes flick through the book to find the price or more information about the book.

10. Print your cover out on a laser printer. Don’t just review your cover on a computer screen, which can make it look considerably better. Print it out in actual size before making a judgment. Mary Heim, former Sales Manager at Sheridan Books says that before you start to design your cover contact your printer for a cover layout and cover stock and coating samples. When you have your cover complete have the printer do a test on the files to make sure they work for the printer and ask for samples of the printer’s work.

11. When choosing a book design ask yourself how the cover will look on your website home page. Branding is important, so you’ll want to use the same design elements on your website that you do on your book cover.

12. Finally, the most important rule in book publishing and book marketing – know your reader! All books have a target reader and in all genres, there are varying degrees of readers. Targeting the reader who is most likely to purchase your book is critical. Authors who know the demographics of their readers are equipped to assemble the fonts and graphics best able to grab the reader’s eye and instantly convey the message that “this book is for you.”

The Bottom line: Get involved early in the entire book publishing design process and get at least three creative concepts for the front cover, back cover, and spine. Don’t let it be the ‘last thing’ you do.

Need help titling a book? Check out my award-winning, bestselling book: Book Title Generator- A Proven System in Naming Your Book at: http://www.booktitlegenerator.net.

If you need more help, I’ve written on how editing and proofreading can make your writing shine, and on the power and art of brevity for authors. I’ve also written a detailed article on how you can generate buzz around your book to help your book get the attention it deserves.

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book. He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few.

Learn more about Westwind Communications’ book marketing approach at https://www.WestwindBookMarketing.com or contact Lorenz at [email protected] or 734-667-2090 or fill out the form below. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist. Want help titling a book? Check out Scott Lorenz’s new award winning, bestselling book: Book Title Generator- A Proven System in Naming Your Book www.BookTitleGenerator.net.

Would you like help promoting your book?

If so, tell us a little about your book. What is the title? Do you have a publisher? What is the publish date? How many pages is your book? What is the cost? Do you have web site? What is your specific goal I.E., to make money, raise awareness, get the attention of an agent or publisher, sell the story to a movie or TV studio or something else?

Submit the form below with this information and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you!