Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Finding the right title: How I got "Caring for Your Special Needs Dog"

This past week I’ve given a lot of thought to titles. What makes a good title? What makes a bad title? How much does the title play into the books success? This came up while working on the cover design for my non-fiction book. I thought that titling my non-fiction would be easy. Wrong. Though non-fiction books aren’t as creative as fiction, the emphasis on title is still just as important.

My non-fiction had the same title the entire time I worked on it and this past week it went through a few different titles. But it wasn’t from a writers mind that I came to decide on the right title. I had to first take a step back and look at my book through the eyes of the reader. I even ran my title past people that I knew would read my book. And I’m not talking about family or friends. To really see if your title will connect with the targeted demographic, ask the targeted demographic. My book is for dog lovers, animal professionals and people who have owned, currently have or have recently had a dog diagnosed with a special needs condition. I asked a veterinarian what they thought of the title. When they loved it, I knew I was on target.

My publisher, Who Dares Wins Publishing, also played a huge role in deciding my title. The book is mine but everyone should listen to his or her publisher. They know the market and also want your book to succeed. I took their advice along with asking potential readers to get the title for my book.

When deciding on that perfect title, let ideas sit with you over night. See if you can get use to calling your book by that new name. Make sure it feels right and this it gets across the tone on your book. If you have the right title, it won’t take long before the title is the only one you can think about the book by. Like naming a dog, I can’t think of Oscar as going by any other name than Oscar. It fits him as my new title fits my book.

Below are the titles that I considered throughout this process and why I didn’t go with them.

“How to Care Special Needs Dogs”- This was the working title for a very long time and I really grew use to it but my book is not a “how to” book. This is misleading to the reader. My book is filled with advice, hope and inspiration. This didn’t get the tone of my book across.

“Caring for Special Needs Dogs”- This went in a more caring direction. It didn’t make my book sound like a “how to” book but it still didn’t get the correct tone across.

“Caring for Your Special Needs Dog”- This is the title of my book. I love it. It gets the caring tone across and makes it more intimate and immediate by adding “your.” I feel that it gets across the feeling that I want readers to get from the book and is a true statement as to what it is about.

“Caring for Your Special Needs Dog” will be available this May by Who Dares Wins Publishing. How do you title you title your manuscripts? What process, or people do you use for advice?

1 comment:

  1. Gosh, this is always a big deal for me. I like short catchy titles that sum up the story in no more than 2 words.