The very first steps - The Cover - The Title - and Marketing!
Our Illustrious member Ben has a lawn care business. He wants to make a book to complement his business, AND teach teenagers how to start their own lawn care business, AND be profitable!
What’s the first step?
By now you should know — The Cover!
So I came up with this for him, just a first draft so he could see the direction we were going:
Not bad, but the title is, uh...määäh!
There are basically two methods to create your new title:
1.) The Amazon method
2.) The old way – copy writing and optimizing
1.) Go to amazon.com and start typing the first word of your title in the search field.
2.) Watch what pops up and note the “strings” of words that result.
3.) Use one of these strings in your title, or make the entire title a “string”.
This is a great method, that should help your book rank and trigger Amazon’s algorithms. But in this case, with a lawn care business guide, do we really want to make another “How To Guide”? This would make a really boring title, AND it would put the book in a highly competitive category. Instead there is a better way, the “old way”, and we can still put the keywords from the amazon method in our subtitle and description to make the book rank. This is important(!), you don’t have to use the amazon method for your title, but can move those keywords elsewhere, otherwise we are damned to come up with some very boring titles that everyone else already has.
The old way:
There are tons of books and blogs about copy writing techniques, I am going to give you the distilled version which I have gleaned from John Locke, Kay Tardiffe, Tim Ferris, Noah Kagan and Charlie Hoehn
1.) Your title should be 1-5 words, preferably 1-3.
2.) “YOU” and “YOUR” are very effective in a title; e.g. “You can cure…” or “You can make money doing ….”
3.) Brainstorm your title: come up with at least 25 different titles. You may think this is too many, but it’s usually around the 25th or 30th title where your brain loosens up and you finally come up with the right one!
Then 4.) Ask yourself these questions (the same as in the tool):
1.) Is it memorable?
2.) Does it reflect the actual concept of the book?
3.) Will it target the right readers?
4.) Does it make you want to buy the book? – “oooh I gotta have that!”
5.) Would your friends pass this on to their friends?
6.) Is the title controversial? Does it spark a conversation?
7.) Is your title franchisable? –e.g. James Bond,1,2,3,4,…
8.) Is the domain name available? MybookTitle.com etc.
9.) Is somebody else already using your title? –argh!! (This is actually not a problem if it is a small title <2 words.)
Remember, you really gotta BRAINSTORM it, usually around the 30th title you will finally start thinking out of the box, and it will just come to you.
DO NOT WORK IN A VACUUM! Get your friends help and feedback.
There is nothing like feedback from your customers, so make sure you get feedback from people whose opinions you respect and that might actually buy the book or are interested in the subject.
This is what it looked like after we brainstormed and plugged it into the tool:
Then you answer the questions in the boxes on the left with “y” or “n”, the spreadsheet automatically changes the colors of the cells.
“Mow The Money In - Your First Teenage Business” won!
Much better than “How to start a teenage business guide” etc.
So I got to work on the cover again:
Not so bad, but I wanted the cover to “pop” more, here are the next versions:
After a second and third round with his friends and potential customers, we chose the title with the white lettering.
Then Ben printed this cover out and took it to the street!
He asked business owners and shop owners if he could put his flyer on their board, or stack it next to the cashier. He’s also putting it up in tennis courts where he has gotten a few customers already.
Remember this: Your marketing starts before you write ONE word!
Now Ben is on his way to a successful book launch, BUT, there is one or two more very important things he must do now:
The next step is a landing page for Ben’s book so he can collect those emails. Ben already has a business so he may be able to integrate his book into his business website. This is a very tricky thing now; what is better? Should he put it on the first page of his business website? Or should he make a separate landing page for the book alone? Well? What does contemporary internet wisdom say? — CHOOSE BOTH!
WHEN YOU CAN, CHOOSE BOTH — THEN TEST, TEST, TEST!
Ben is working on his websites right now, we will get back to you when he’s done. Also stay tuned for his book launch.
In the meantime, I want to give you this wonderful title creator/checking tool!
Here it is my friends, download it, make a copy of it in your google docs and brainstorm every title with your friends, and family, and most of all, your target customers! It only costs you an email:
I made this spreadsheet title checker/creator based on a magnificent post by Charlie Hoehn, it is linked in the top left box. Charlie, if you’re reading this — THANK YOU!
What do you want me to write/make next? Let me know >>> I will make it!