Last month, we received a manuscript with a book title that featured odd punctuation and characters in the middle of words in the title. Last week, another author submitted a book with three of the four words in the title purposely misspelled (all the s’s had been changed to z’s).
Some authors think they’re being clever in this regard, or perhaps they think this will make their book title more memorable and that these things will increase sales. However, the opposite usually occurs.
Hypothetically, let’s pretend Author Andy has written a book about a squirrel and he’s named the book Awe, Nutz. Anybody hearing about that book from a friend, or in an interview (online or on the radio), is going to assume the title is spelled Awe, Nuts. In fact, they may assume it’s called Ah, Nuts, or Aaaah, Nuts. You really can’t guess how people will interpret the spelling of something they hear from another. Some people may see a book online somewhere and go shopping for it that night, after they get off work, and forget about the cute (mis)spelling. A blogger may read the book and mention it online and also forget about the purposeful misspelling.
Now, let’s pretend Author Andy has written a book for English majors and he’s called it Syl?la?bles and Pruh-nuhn-see-ey-shuhn. Okay, we can all agree that Author Andy isn’t like to be quite so, um, “creative” as to use a title like that but, believe me, we’ve seen worse! You can bet that almost nobody shopping for that book is going to remember how he spelled the words in the title, complete with characters. Anybody who’s not copying and pasting the title exactly into an online bookstore or search engine isn’t likely to find the book – period. If somebody can’t find the book, they’re not going to buy it…or they’re going to complain to the author or publisher.
When you’re creating a title for you book, keep is simple. Don’t misspell words, keep punctuation to a bare minimum (it’s best to avoid it entirely), and never, ever use odd characters. A title with confusing “errors” like this can kill a book.
Angela Hoy is the co-owner of WritersWeekly.com and BookLocker.com. WritersWeekly.com is the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday. According to attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print, BookLocker.com is: “As close to perfection as you’re going to find in the world of ebook and POD publishing. The ebook royalties are the highest I’ve ever seen, and the print royalties are better than average. BookLocker understands what new authors experience, and have put together a package that is the best in the business. You can’t go wrong here. Plus, they’re selective and won’t publish any manuscript just because it’s accompanied by a check. Also, the web site is well trafficked. If you can find a POD or epublisher with as much integrity and dedication to selling authors’ books, but with lower POD publishing fees, please let me know.”
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