Self-publishing authors generally have the privilege of choosing their own book titles, which is often not so in the traditional publishing world. Blessing and Curse. I’ve worked with many author’s who have vacillated over their book title even after the final draft of the actual manuscript has been completed. I can relate. I often struggle to choose the best title for something as simple as a post for this blog. Book titles are personal. Book Titles are important. But to whom? Or more to the point, to whom should they be most important to?
New York Times bestselling author, Timothy Ferriss, raises the question and not abstractly, but in real trial. (This is not an unusual endeavor for Ferriss, as you may recall from The Four Hour Work Week). Last month Ferriss sent the following tweet.
Clicking on the shortened URL navigated the user to a page on http://www.surverymonkey.com where virtually anyone could offer suggestions for The Best Book Title.
Apparently, the third option: Any other ideas or comments, did not actually allow the user to complete the survey. Perhaps that was an error on the Surveymonkey.com site. On the other hand, disabling that feature may have intentional. Think about how many contests allow for unlimited entries? Gymnastics meet with unlimited athletes. Aside from being impossible to manage from a time resources standpoint, how would any judges or spectators know the gymnasts?
A fantastic marketing tactic. Not only does Ferriss create participation – a relationship – with readers, he’s created a manageable list of potential titles that can be used through internet marketing to connect those readers to the actual book when it’s published, regardless of which title takes the cake.