Before you settle on a title…

…check it out online. 

We’re doing titles today in the 10-day Business Book Proposal Challenge (yes, I know it’s Day 4, but the title has to fall out of the thinking we do on reader and summary, so although the title may be at the top of the proposal document, it’s not the starting point for the challenge). 

One thing that’s come up repeatedly is how a book title works in a world in which our default action when we hear of something interesting is to type it into Google. Here are a few quick points to bear in mind in relation to titles: 

  1. If you think you’ve nailed your title, buy the URL now. They’re not expensive (unless someone’s squatting on it), and you’d kick yourself if someone else has it. If you don’t use the title, you can let it go after a year. 
  2. If someone else is already using the URL, think again. I personally need the .com, I’m not interested in or other suffixes if the main one has already gone – too much risk of confusion, especially if it’s in a similar area to yours. You want to keep all your own traffic.
  3. As well as checking the URL, have a look on Amazon. Is anyone using that title? You can’t copyright a title, so if they are it’s not an automatic deal-breaker, but again if it’s in a similar area there’s an obvious risk of confusion. And while there’s no copyright issue per se, you CAN be done for ‘passing off’, ie deliberately creating confusion with someone else’s work in order to benefit from it. And that’s pretty miserable and unethical in any case so why would you. 

It can feel heartbreaking when (as happened to someone in the group today) your perfect title has already gone (‘It’s publishing THIS MONTH!’ she wailed). But I’ve never subscribed to the Only One True Love Out There philosophy, and I don’t buy it for books either. You’ll find another one, maybe even a better one, and get on with creating a great life and business together.