Mothers of newborn babies are used to being asked, “What’s your baby’s name?” As innocent as it may sound, the deeper question behind the question is: “Did you give any thought to your child’s name, or did you just pick something out of thin air?” I submit to you, that there are millions of babies around the world who will grow up with names that people won’t understand, with no meaning at all, names they themselves don’t like. Many of them will eventually apply for and legally change their name.
Think of your book as your “baby.” This is not to belittle the birthing process, because after almost losing both my wife and daughter during childbirth on November 26, 1983, I believe that nothing can really compare to it. However, there are some parallels. As your book is born in your heart and makes its way out of your womb, and you finally announce to the world that it is here, how will the name you give it affect how it is received by total strangers? Will they eagerly embrace it, or will they be “like a calf staring at a new gate?”
Every advertising guru I’ve studied talks about the importance of a good headline. Claude Hopkins states: The purpose of the headline is to pick out people you can interest. You wish to talk to someone in a crowd. So the first thing you say is, ‘Hey there, Bill Jones,’ to get the right person’s attention … What you have will interest certain people only, and for certain reasons. You care only for those people. Then create a headline that will hail those people only.”
Jay Conrad Levinson said: Every guerrilla destined for marketing victories knows very well that if you have ten hours to spend creating a marketing weapon, you should spend nine of them creating the headline. It’s the first impression you make, often the only impression, and the rest of your marketing weapon will live or die by the quality of that headline.
Jay Abraham points out, “A headline is an ad for the ad. Its purpose should be to reach only those who are most qualified to be a prospect for your proposition.” There is very little difference between a headline for an ad and a book title. A standard cliché is, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” While this may be true, almost everyone does. An original and creative title for your book speaks volumes about you as an author. Even titles that are changed by the publishing houses reflect you, because to most people, the book and author are one. Your title should in some way mirror what your book is about. With a little thought, you will see that there are many ways to do this. Many successful titles have sprung from common phrases, puns, wordplay, songs, nursery rhymes, parts of scripture, and advertising slogans, just to name a few.