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Publishing Master Course Outline

Choosing A Great Cookbook Title

The title and subtitle should work together to help sell the book. A good title has several characteristics regardless of where it is being published, but most of the following tips are optimized around Amazon or other online sales.

Be Descriptive, Not Clever

A good title describes what the book is about, especially when taken in hand with the subtitle. There is often the impulse to be clever or witty in your title but in most cases it is best to resist this and use something that is easily recognizable. This is especially important when selling through Amazon where potential buyers are scanning a list of books and you want them to instantly know if your book is right for them or not.

Keep It Short

Good titles tend to be as short as possible. Don't trade clarity for shortness, but try to use the shortest descriptive title you can. You can go into more description either on the subtitle or other text on the cover.

Keep It Simple

The language used in the title should be simple and easily understood by the majority of individuals, even those unfamiliar with your target niche. Refrain from the temptation to use long and complex words in an attempt to demonstrate expertise and authority.

Use Search Keywords In the Title

The title contributes to what searches your book will show up for so using your top keywords in your title and subtitle make a lot of sense. Don't give up clarity, but when in doubt go with a keyword. You will also be able to enter keywords in your description and directly in the publishing forms so don't force them in the title. You can read more about researching keywords.

In my books, I'm promoting both the book and the brand so I have to sacrifice some length because I use "Modernist Cooking Made Easy" at the start of every book, after that I go with 1 to 2 words describing the book. Some examples:
Modernist Cooking Made Easy: Sous Vide
Modernist Cooking Made Easy: Getting Started
Modernist Cooking Made Easy: Party Foods
Modernist Cooking Made Easy: The Whipping Siphon

You can see at a glance what the books are about and whether or not they would be worth looking into more, as well as noticing my branding.

Example Titles

For a few examples, here are the current titles of the best selling cookbooks in the "Slow Cooking" category. As you can see, they are almost all descriptive and clearly communicate what the book is about. Searching through the top selling cookbooks and looking at their titles will give you a great idea of what is currently working.

  • The Paleo Slow Cooker: Healthy, Gluten-free Meals the Easy Way
  • One Pot: 120+ Easy Meals from Your Skillet, Slow Cooker, Stockpot, and More
  • Taste of Home Slow Cooker: 431 Hot & Hearty Classics
  • The Healthy Slow Cooker Revolution
  • Slow Cooking for Two: A Slow Cooker Cookbook with 101 Slow Cooker Recipes Designed for Two People