(Transcript) – Craft a book title that sells!


Morgan MacDonald : Hello. Welcome to the replay. Today we are talking about how to craft a book title that SELLS. If you’ve gone through the pain of writing your book you want people to READ it! So that’s what we’re talking about today. Alrighty, I’m going to flip you around and welcome people as we’re joining.


[change of camera to face view]


Hey guys. Welcome. I am still in California, which is why my Periscopes are late [laughter]. Sorry about that… Hey Miguel!… Tracy just popped in the room. Here we go. I’m getting my tripod all up and ready… Hey guys…


Kay-Zee ( https://twitter.com/kenzelsfire ) : Howwwdy.


Morgan MacDonald : …Hey Kenzel! Kenzel, what’s your REAL name? I saw your profile when you were on Ron’s Scope. Is it Kayzee? Let me know how you say your name….So welcome as you’re joining. I know Tracy is in here because she’s titling her book right now [laughter].


Miguel Rubbio ( https://twitter.com/migg300 ) : It’s raining in Jersey!


Morgan MacDonald : … It’s raining in Jersey… I’m really sad. We have a slight breeze through our sunny palm trees over here in California [laughter]. It’s pretty fantastic. I’m not going to lie. Sorry about Jersey though. Fall is headed our way, isn’t it. All right guys. Let’s dive in… Thanks for the hearts!…


Okay. The basics. So if you are new to Periscope, tap hearts, and that lets me know that you care [laughter]. [It] lets me know that you’re engaged with the content, and that what I’m giving you is helpful to you. So thanks for the hearts guys. If you are not already following me hit [the] “Peri Buddy” down there [to] change that “plus” to a “check”…


Kay-Zee ( https://twitter.com/kenzelsfire ) : Trying different version. Kenzel, but testing KayZee for short. KZ.


Morgan MacDonald : … “Trying different versions. Kenzel.”… Oh, okay. “Kayzee, short for KZ”… Okay. Thanks Kenzel. I appreciate it. If you’re watching online – a lot of you people are watching on the web, and that is very cool, but NOT as cool as watching on the Periscope app, because you can’t comment, I don’t know you’re here…


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : Hey!


Morgan MacDonald : …Hey Ron!… You’re not in the ROOM with us. We want to interact. I want to know who you are. I want to help you out. But I can only do that if you get OFF the web and onto your phone app. [irrelevant comment]  So I usually have at least 50 people watching on the web. You folks on the web need to hop into the PARTY! It’s here in the app! You can give the hearts, you can comment, [and] it’s really fun. You can also share…Thank you, Kenzel, for sharing on Twitter. And Miguel shared. Yáll are awesome. Thank you. I really appreciate it…


Okay. So, let’s dive in. Who am I [laughter], that you should care what I say? I am Morgan Gist MacDonald. I am a writing coach, an editor, and author. I run my business and blog out of http://www.paperravenbooks.com . I [also] take NOTES for you on these scopes, so YOU don’t have to. Go to http://www.paperravenbooks.com/periscope


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : Swipe up or right to share and follow.


Morgan MacDonald : …Yes. Thank you Ron, “Swipe UP or RIGHT to share and follow”… I need to like get a groove in about how to share these basics, because, it’s true, not everyone knows the basics. You can always catch the notes – unless I’ve been lazy, but they’re usually up there within a few hours [laughter] – and the replays and transcripts, so you can always stay caught up… Oh, thanks for sharing Tracy…


All right, so this week we have been talking about the more nitty-gritty [concepts and strategies] of how to WRITE a book. We’ve been talking through the vague idea, and getting an organization, and actually writing the draft. So we’ve been talking all through how to WRITE the draft, [and] NOW it’s time to TITLE the thing [laughter]. Because you’ve got this great book [which] might be anywhere from 20,000 to 70,000 words – who knows how long your book is – but no one is going to read a SINGLE word of that unless the title grabs them. This is a really painful process for most authors, because it feels like — Tracy told me just the other day, “It feels like I’m naming a child!” [laughter]…


MIguel Rubbio ( https://twitter.com/migg300 ) : Yeah. I just read your article on being a pro writer. Very informative.


Morgan MacDonald : … Miguel says, “Yeah. I just read your article on being a pro writer. Very informative.” Thanks Miguel. I appreciate that. I just sent that out to my list earlier today…. And so Tracy was like, “I feel like I’m naming my child”, which is funny because Tracy is ALSO like 36 weeks pregnant with a baby, and basically her third trimester with a book [laughter]. So we’ve got this really funny like “mom parallel” of birthing and naming children, and books. So there’s one, sort of, reassurance I want to give you. Just like naming a kid, the name is not going to screw them up forever. The book will come to adopt the name you give it, just like a kid GROWS into the name you give him. You can’t screw up a person just by the name [laughter]. It is not going to sink or swim your child OR your book. So just some reassurance there. If the book is GOOD it can grow into the title.


Tracy Borgmeyer ( https://twitter.com/tracyborgmeyer ) : Well…


Morgan MacDonald : … [laughter] Tracy says, “Well.” Okay. true. Caveat, there are terrible titles, just like there are terrible names.


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : Except don’t hold onto your book for 20 years.


Morgan MacDonald : …  “Except don’t hold onto your book for 20 years”… But you know what? Here’s another secret, you can rebrand a book. Why not [laughter]? I mean, if your book has been on Amazon, and it’s a Kindle book, and it’s been on for six months, and you’re like, “I just really hate this title.”, take the thing down, rename it, and upload it again. People, this is not a big deal anymore [laughter].


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : Yay for indie writing!


Morgan MacDonald : …   “Yay for indie writing!” EXACTLY Ron… We’re not in the old days where you would sign up with a publisher and they would print 2,500 copies, and they might send you 500 copies and they’re like, “Sell this thing!”, and you’ve got boxes full of books in your garage and you can’t ever change the name. This is something [where] we are ADAPTABLE now. We can take the file down, change the name, change the cover, and reupload it. This is not a permanent, terrible thing. Okay. So just remember that. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself.


That said, a title IS important, just like a baby name is important, and you’ve got the think about it, and you’ve got to be careful, and you’ve got to be intentional. Okay, so here’s four things for you to consider as you’re creating this title. Number one : you have a title, and you have a SUBTITLE. So the title is the place where you create some INTRIGUE; something that, kind of, stands out among the crowd, and really CALLS to your reader. So the title of MY book is “Start Writing Your Book Today”. So, it’s prescriptive, right? It’s trying to get to my audience who wants to write a book and who is ready to stop procrastinating. So start writing TODAY. But there are LOTS of ways you can go with the title. You can go with something mysterious. You can go with something edgy. You can go with something that’s a little risque even. I mean, who knows. Like, “Fifty Shades of Grey” [laughter]. You know? It’s fine. But the use the subtitle to EXPLAIN. Because the subtitle – especially if you’re going for Amazon…


Tracy Borgmeyer ( https://twitter.com/tracyborgmeyer ) :    She Loves Science?


Morgan MacDonald : … [laughter] “She Loves Science”. Exactly. WHO loves science? It’s intriguing [laughter]… Yeah, so that’s it.


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : You can search Amazon for keywords to use in your title.


Morgan MacDonald : …Ron, you are right with me, “You can search Amazon for keywords to use in your title.”… So when you go to Amazon start putting in keywords that you are CONSIDERING for the title, specifically for the subtitle, because the subtitle is where you can, kind of, EXPLAIN what the book is about a bit more. So this is great for nonfiction, because like Tracy writes about science… Oh! I just realized this, Ron and Tracy, you are both engineers, but you both have very different perspectives on engineering, which is hilarious, because Tracy is like, “We need more women in engineering!” and Ron is like, “I, kind of, hate engineering and want to be a writer.” [laughter] So it would be really funny you get you guys on a Skype interview together.


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : I use a program called KDP Spy.


Morgan MacDonald : … So Ron uses a program called KDP Spy… Ooo! I have not experimented with that. Okay, I’m writing that down. You guys are so useful… Okay…. Hello Jenn. Thanks for joining…


Tracy Borgmeyer ( https://twitter.com/tracyborgmeyer ) :  I knew I liked Ron!


Morgan MacDonald : … Tracy knew she liked Ron. Ron is very likeable fellow… Okay. So, when you’re crafting your subtitle, go onto Amazon and start typing in keywords – [like]  “science, parenting, education” – and just see what types of books pop up.


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : I’ll send you a link.


Morgan MacDonald : …Oh, thank you Ron for sending me a link…. When I was think about MY subtitle…


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : Just keep me fed.


Morgan MacDonald : … [laughter] “Just keep me fed.”… I was typing in words like, “writing advice”, “how to write a book”,  “step-by-step write a book”. So lots of different combinations. You want a list, to be able to search at least 10 to 12 kinds of words. See what’s out there, and maybe you’ll be inspired, and maybe you’ll realize that the subtitle you wanted use is, kind of, a little bit too close to somebody else’s. So you’ll just change a few words and it’ll be fine. Or maybe [laughter] you want to piggy-back on someone else’s success – I’ve seen people do that – and use a subtitle that’s remarkably similar to someone else’s. But anyway.


So use title AND the subtitle, especially for nonfiction authors. Your title can be intriguing and mysterious, [while] your subtitle can be more explaining what the book is ACTUALLY about. In your subtitle you want to hit your audience. You want to make it really clear…


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : 51 Shades Of Gray


Morgan MacDonald : … “51 Shades Of Gray”… [laughter] You KNOW that’s out there somewhere… You want to NAIL who your audience is in the subtitle. So if you’re talking to “moms” make sure moms know it’s for them. If you’re talking to writers, make sure writers know it’s for them. If you’re talking to educators, or Christian missionaries, make sure that when they read that subtitle they know it’s talking to them.


In the subtitle you ALSO always want to hit the TRANSFORMATION that you’re talking about. So a book – regardless [if it’s] fiction or nonfiction – there’s always a transformation that takes place for the reader. That transformation may be a little bit more slippery, loosy-goosy. You know, you might be inspiring them, or changing their perspective, OR you might be giving them a step-by-step guide,  [or] blueprint, that’s very practical. But either way, through the course of your book, you’re leading the reader through a transformative process of some kind… Thanks for the hearts guys… Make sure they KNOW what transformation is going to happen, because that’s what the reader WANTS. Get in the head of your reader. They’re on Amazon, they’re on Google, [and] they’re putting in word searches because they have a problem in their life and they KNOW there’s a book out there that will help them with this problem. So what is their problem, what kind of solution that they want, and what’s that transformative space between the problem and the solution. So you’ve got to, kind of, at least hint ENOUGH that they will know, “When I read this book I will benefit somehow.”


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : In KDP the subtitle you use is supposed to be on the cover as well.


Morgan MacDonald : … “In KDP the subtitle you use is supposed to be on the cover as well.”… Yes. So that can be a little tricky design-wise [laughter] to fit in. I think my subtitle is like 20 words long. It’s a little bit ridiculous. But there are no rules. Why not? It shows up in the search engine.


So get in the head of your reader. When your reader is on Google, or Amazon, or whatever, and they’re looking for the solution to their problem, and they know that they’re going to undergo some sort of transformation, what transformation do they want. It’s not always EXACTLY what happens in the book. So you can make this a little bit more marketing-friendly. So, for instance … [irrelevant comment] … there’s this book. I don’t know if you know Marie Foleo… There’s the hearts. Y’all know Marie Foleo…  She’s a big business and lifestyle coach for women entrepreneurs…. [laughter] And then there’s like one heart, like “Eh, I know Marie Foleo.”… Okay. She has a best selling book that’s been published in like eleven languages, [and is an] international best-seller. The book is called, “Make Every Man Want You”. That might be the subtitle, I’m not sure. The book is ABOUT being confident in who you actually are. So the title grabs the female audience…


Tracy Borgmeyer ( https://twitter.com/tracyborgmeyer ) :    You want to date yourself.


Morgan MacDonald : … “You want to date yourself”… Oh yeah [laughter] …


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : Ha! Show up on Periscope.


Morgan MacDonald : … Show up on Periscope… Yeah exactly… So it attracts the female reader who is looking to attract a man, but what that female reader really NEEDS is more confidence in herself. Okay? So there’s room to PLAY with this is, kind of, what I’m getting at.  Not that you are making promises that you don’t live up to, but that you are inside your reader’s HEAD, and what they are looking for. What they are looking for may be solved in a different way than they anticipate. Does that, kind of, make sense?


Okay. So we’ve audience, and we’ve got transformation. And this is the third thing – specifics. If you can provide ANY SPECIFICS, go for it. For instance, you see this a lot in the weight loss, fitness, kind of, area. You know, “Six-pack Abs In 18 Days”, or whatever. You don’t HAVE to do specifics. Like Tracy’s book is a lot more about, sort of, parenting perspective and stuff like that. So she’s not going to come out and say, “Get your daughter into loving science in 30 days or less.”  That’s NOT what the parent is looking for, right? [laughter] But you can imagine ME, with writers writing a book, I really, seriously considered “Writing your book in NINETY days or less.” There were a lot of other books out there promising similar things, so I didn’t go that route. But if you can provide SOME specifics, whether it’s a timeline, or a number of steps, or a number of ideas… I think I bought a book once – I’m not sure if I read it, but it was only available in paperback, and I remember being really annoyed by that. I had to order this paperback book, and it was like, “53 Ways To Promote Your Academic Article On Social Media”, [or] something like that, back when I was in academia. So it was really intriguing because it was FIFTY-THREE ways. It wasn’t FIFTY ways, and it wasn’t A HUNDRED ways. It was FIFTY-THREE ways to promote your academic article on social media. And I was like, “I didn’t even know you COULD promote an academic article on social media. Why would you do that?” [laughter] But the 53 was really intriguing, and very specific, and so I was like, “Hmmm. I think I’ll order that.” So you can, kind of, play with this a little bit.


So those are the major highlights that I would like you to hit. Use your title to get some intrigue. Use your subtitle to identify your audience, speak to the transformation that your reader will go through, and provide any specifics, if relevant, because specifics can also be INTRIGUING. Like, “Oh, how do you do that?”


Alrighty guys. So do you all have any questions? Any thoughts?


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : The software I use to search keywords is http://www.kdspy.com


Morgan MacDonald : …”The software I use to search keywords is kdspy.com”.… Thank you Ron. That is awesome…  [irrelevant comment] One of the best strategies is to go and search on Amazon. Why not? You should spend at least 20 or 30 minutes, kind of, just going through and looking at titles.  Then, when you go to your cover design, what you might want to do is pull up the categories that you want to rank highly in, and look at the types of book covers that are popping up in those categories, and make sure that your book cover will stand out. That’s, kind of, a different issue – more of a DESIGN thing – but you want your title and colors to stand out in relation to the OTHER covers that are showing up on Amazon. I did my cover design through http://99designs.com , and on that service you post a job and then all of these designers just like post tons and tons of designs, and you get to pick your favorite. So they would post screenshots of the designs they were working on, and I would vote [by giving them] a star rating of one through five, or whatever, and provide feedback.


Well a couple of them had this really great idea. They gave me the full image of the cover they were designing, and then they took a thumbnail version of it – like the exact same thumbnail size that Amazon uses – and they took a SCREENSHOT of the Amazon page where I wanted the category that I wanted to rank in, and they put their little thumbnail cover in the screenshot, so that I would LITERALLY be able to see how my book stacked up to Jeff Goin’s book and all of the other creative, self-help, category people, which was really cool [because] then I could see [how] this cover really stands out in relation to the big hits that are there now. So that was a neat little idea – more cover design than title. But it also helps you to see the importance of a title design; that the words are READABLE; [that your main title is] fewer words, so that you can make the words bigger, because it’s going to be on an Amazon thumbnail. So you want large letters, [but] if your title is 20 words long you can’t have large letters. You want your actual MAIN title to be more like four to eight words so they can be BIG, and then your subtitle can be longer, and they’ll just be small words. But that’s okay. We want the BIG words to grab them so they click on the Amazon link, and then they’ll SEE the subtitle. That’s the point.


So what do you guys think? Who else is titling a book. I know Tracy is titling a book. Miguel, Ron, Kenzel, are yáll titling books right now? Does anyone want to throw out a title? We can talk about a title. That would be, kind of, fun.


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : Always.


Morgan MacDonald : … Always [laughter]. Ron’s always titling a book….That would be an interesting thing. I have to say [that] I’m intrigued by Blab, because Blab is a lot like Periscope, but you can have FOUR people talking at the same time, and it would be cool to do COACHING on Blab. Like get two or three interested clients and say, “Okay guys. Let’s talk about your titles.” Then we like workshop through the titles.


Kay-Zee ( https://twitter.com/kenzelsfire ) : I’m on it, but haven’t used it.


Morgan MacDonald : … I know! I have not jumped on Blab yet, but people keep talking about it, and it is interesting, [so] I am thinking about it.


Miguel Rubbio ( https://twitter.com/migg300 ) : Josh Walker : The birth of an agent.


Morgan MacDonald : … “Josh Walker : The birth of an agent.”… Whoo! That is intriguing. That does sound good… What KIND of agent? A double-agent, a CIA agent? I would get just a little more specific. Or do you WANT to leave the agent mysterious and intriguing?


Miguel Rubbio ( https://twitter.com/migg300 ) :  FBI


Morgan MacDonald : FBI… [irrelevant comment]  Interesting. Okay. I’m going to think about that a little more.


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : Literary agent.


Morgan MacDonald : “Literary agent” [laughter]. Birth of the literary FBI agent… I’m going to think about that a little bit more Miguel. I might get you some feedback… I’m literally writing that down. Thanks guys. That’s awesome. I want to read that book Miguel. You should finish it so I can read it [laughter].


All right. Well, I’m going to go enjoy some time at the beach, because I can. I’m going to do some editing on the beach I think. You guys have a good afternoon. I might Scope a little bit later. I tried to Scope from the beach last night, but I think the signal was, kind of, bad. So we’ll see. I might come back here and do another Scope.


Well thanks for hanging out. [The] Scope Notes [are at] http://www.paperravenbooks.com/periscope .  Catch the notes and the replays and the transcripts. Thank you for hanging out, [and] for all the hearts and comments. I appreciate it. I will see you guys later. Bye.          



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