Choosing a Subtitle for Your Self-Published Book: Criteria to Consider

March 8, 2021 by No Comments

I’m please with the title of my latest book. It is short, clear and catchy. But my daughter, a licensed family counselor, has concerns about the title. Her concerns put my mind on high alert and worries about my title would awaken me from a sound sleep. After several sleepless nights, I decided to add a subtitle. suits subtitles

I emailed the expert who had written a back cover review of my previous book and told him my subtitle ideas. Instead of emailing me, he called, and said my subtitle misrepresented the book. We brainstormed about subtitle ideas and, during our conversation, I used a word that caught his attention. “I love that word?” he exclaimed. “Use it in your subtitle.”

We concluded our conversation a few minutes later, yet I continued to think about my subtitle. Though other ideas came to mind, one stood out, and that is the subtitle I chose. Are you stuck on a subtitle? Your subtitle may hinge on the type of book you have written. My book falls into the categories of nonfiction and self-help. The following points helped me finalize my subtitle and they may help you.

Review your reasons. I reviewed the reasons for choosing my title. Did my subtitle choice involve the same reasons? They did, thankfully. In fact, the more I thought about my subtitle the more I liked it.

Use key words. Dan Poynter writes about key words in his Xlibris website article, “How to Name Your Nonfiction book.” According to Poynter, the subtitle should explain the contents of your book, and have a “warm, successful, positive image.”

Does it sound good? Though I thought of other subtitles, when I tried them aloud they didn’t work. The subtitle I finally chose sounded best with the title. As subtitle ideas come to you, say each one aloud. Discard the subtitles that don’t pass this test.

Match the cover. The I had already paid a graphic designer to create the front and back covers and they are memorable. Adding a subtitle would mean I had to pay more for design, and I was willing to do this. I also asked the designer if adding a subtitle would be a problem. He said he could do it easily and charged me $50. The cover photo illustrates both the title and subtitle.

Consider the Internet. People who turn to the Internet for help want it fast. If it takes too long, or the website doesn’t look promising, they scroll down. I wanted Internet users to stop immediately and think about my title and subtitle.

Will it increase sales? The Author House website details cover components in its article, “A Breakdown of Your Book Cover.” These components include the title, subtitle, cover design, back cover copy, which is also called “sell copy,” the spine, and author bio. Your subtitle should elaborate your title, the article explains, and include “any [Internet] searchable words that are not in your title.”


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