Book titles and covers are important because the old adage — Readers do judge a book by its cover — is true. So, how can an author know beforehand what’s going to resonate?
Wiser people than me have come up with three criteria.
- A great title needs to create an image that synthesizes the story and suggest the story’s meaning or theme.
- The cover must also grab the attention of a casual book searcher.
- A title must describe the contents while being so piercing and articulate that readers will take notice.
Recently, I rebranded three previously published individual titles into a series. I considered coming up with new titles for each book, but each book already had an ISBN and the content was not changing. It wasn’t necessary.
Instead, I used a branding tagline or blurb (below) and a graphic — the ribbon — to link the books.
PROMISES series Two men and one woman met at Eighth Army Headquarters, South Korea in the turbulent Vietnam War years and found their lives linked together forever. The PROMISES series tells their stories through the decades that follow.
In making my decision, I examined my titles based on the expert’s criteria.
With love in the title, a reader gets the story will be a love story. The picture of Headquarters, Eighth Army identifies the setting as a military. A knowledgeable reader may also recognize that another name for South Korea is Land of the Morning Calm.
Conclusion: I may have I tried too hard.
The cover design with the Pendant, the Vietnam Wall, and the word promise signal another love story. I love this cover because my very talented daughter designed it. With the rebranding, my current graphic designer, Jim Peto at Petoweb.com, enhanced the graphics.
Conclusion: The title and the cover artwork make a reader notice.
The old Army green color clues a reader of the setting and time frame. The title suggests whoever needs to return is in the military. (Those who have read the first two books will know the character has been MIA since book 1.) Close examination reveals the character’s name on the dog tags.
Conclusion: Unsure whether this title hits the mark the mark or not. While the dog tags are clearly visible on the paperback cover, the tags are not readable on the eBook thumbprint.
This is the final book of the series, which will be out next month. The title ties back to the second book’s title and the series title. The couple clues the reader it’s another love story. The sunset background suggests the end of the day and the last of series.
Conclusion: It synthesizes the story and suggests the story’s theme.
Overall, I give myself a generally good grade for my titles. What say you?
Should you want to read any of the books, simply click on the buy links on the sidebar. The buy link for book 4 will be added next month.