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Choose Book Titles Based on Metaphors to Sell More Books and Find More Readers

Book titles that find more readers and sell more books are often based on metaphors. Adding metaphors to your book titles helps the title immediately communicate the essence of your book.

Because of the power of metaphor-based titles, they often form the basis of publishing empires. In these cases, the original title becomes the basis of an entire series of books, as we’ll see below. These can grow to become world-wide brands, catapulting the authors to success with dozens–even hundreds–of different titles based on the same metaphor.

Advantages of Metaphors

 

  • Immediate recognition. A metaphor communicates at a glance. A well-chosen metaphor needs no explanation. It’s message immediately hits home.
  • Storytelling power. Metaphors tap into the power of stories to engage readers on an emotional, as opposed to a “factual” basis. They engage your readers’ hearts as well as their brains. They strike chords within your readers.
  • Multiple levels. A single metaphor can communicate numerous attributes and emotions. When your title includes an appropriate metaphor, your title taps into numerous nuances and details associated with the metaphor.
  • Comfort and familiarity. Titles with metaphors immediately establish a comfort and familiarity. They’re also easier to remember and–hence–easier to recommend to co-workers and friends.

Types of metaphor titles

 

There are as many different types of metaphors as there are emotions and different ways to describe multiple aspects of a topic. Here are a few of the different types of metaphors that have become the basis of successful book titles:

 

  • Comfort. At some points in our lives, we all need to be comforted. We may have lost our jobs, our spouses, our friends, or our pets. We need to connect with others who may have experienced the same loss, or are currently experiencing the same loss. Sometimes our need for comfort can be very narrowly defined, such as “wives with husbands overseas in the military,”
  • Philosophy, attitude, and resources. Metaphor-based titles can also instantly paint a picture of the challenges and resources of our intended readers. At a glance, an appropriate metaphor can target selected types of readers in a way that immediately resonates with them.
  • Complexity. A metaphor-based title can identify a book’s intended market as well as describe both the approach, and the the level of information contained in the book. Without using “obvious” words like “beginner” or “newcomer,” a metaphor can communicate that the book is intended for entry-level readers.
  • Style. Finally, the particular metaphor chosen can not target the intended reader, but can communicate that the author speaks the reader’s language, and really understands where the reader is coming from.

A series based on a comfort metaphor

 

One of the most successful book series in the world is Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen’s Chicken Soup series. The first title in the series, Chicken Soup for the Soul, was published on June 28, 1993.

The authors already had the materials in hand–101 story submissions, but they lacked a title. They each agreed to meditate on the topic for one hour. During one of his meditation sessions, Jack Canfield remembered his grandmother telling him that “chicken soup can cure anything!” Since the original title was designed to inspire the soul, not the body, the obvious title was Chicken Soup for the Soul.

By December, the book was a strong seller. By September of 1994, Chicken Soup for the Soul was on every bestseller list in the United States and Canada.

Today, there are over 200 titles in the series, and over 112 million copies have been sold. The title has been translated into more than 40 languages.

More important, according to Harris Polls, 88.7 percent of the public not only recognizes the Chicken Soup for the Soul brand, but knows what it is.

It’s impossible to conceive of success on this order if the original Chicken Soup for the Soul title had been replaced with “conventional” title like:

 

  • How to Cheer Yourself Up
  • 101 Inspirational Stories
  • How Others Have Overcome Obstacles

The power of the Chicken Soup brand is based on the near universal recognition, and accompanying emotional response, to feeling sick and needing to be cared for by someone who loves you. what is a metaphor

 

Attitude, Resources, and Philosophy

Jay Conrad Levinson’s Guerrilla Marketing series is the world’s best-selling marketing book series. There are over 40 million Guerrilla Marketing books in print around the world. The series has created a market for Jay’s speaking and consulting on every continent; as this is being written, Jay Conrad Levinson is speaking in Poland, Latvia, and Croatia.

The Guerrilla Marketing brand’s strength is based on the immediate recognition the title provides. Guerrilla Marketing resonates with business owners who lack the unlimited budgets and resources of major corporations. Guerrilla Marketers succeed by making the most of whatever resources they have.

 

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