Episode 24. When and How to Change Your Book Title

e24 changing a published book title

In the 1900s, a man by the name of Emanuel Haldeman-Julius was unsatisfied if his books didn’t sell more than 10,000 copies, and those that didn’t sell were sent to what was known as The Hospital to be refreshed. One of his tactics for refreshing these books was to change the title.

A book originally called “Gautier’s Fleece of Gold” only sold 6,000 copies in a year. Even though French writing was big at the time, the title didn’t really tell readers anything about the book or what to expect. But when the title was changed to “The Quest for the Blonde Mistress,” which more accurately represented the story, it sold 50,000 copies.

Another book, “The Mystery of the Iron Mask,” sold 11,000 copies, but even though it was a title that clearly was identifying it as a mystery, no one cared about an iron mask. But when it was changed to “The Mystery of the Man in the Iron Mask,” it sold 30,000.

Be aware of these things when changing book titles

If you decide to change you book title, there are a few things you should consider:

  • If you change your title, Amazon may change your ASIN number, which will cause you to lose reviews. Before changing your title, record your old ASIN number and, after you’ve made the change, contact Amazon to let them know not to change your ASIN number.
    • You’ll also have to change your book’s cover to make your new title.
  • Keep the title representative of the genre. You don’t have to go over the top with too many cliches, but the more you can cater your title to match your genre, the easier it will be for shoppers to get a feel for the book right away.
  • It’s OK to have a one word title, which is an emerging trend, but use your cover art and subtitle to help people really know what the book is about.
    • You can help show up in search results by using keyword research to come up with a subtitle. But beware this doesn’t mean it will be shown as much as books with the specific wording people will be searching Amazon for.
  • Make the title informative. You can tweak words to be creative and fun, but be sure the public can still ascertain what the book is about from it.

Rules and Regulations for changing book titles

When you do decide to change the title, keep in mind the rules and regulations eBook retailers have in place, including Amazon’s, listed below:

  • The title on your cover must match what you put into Amazon.
  • No claims of bestseller, rank, or anything of the sort.
  • No claim of deals, discounts, or reduced price-type shenanigans.
  • No referencing other books or any other trademarks.
  • No referencing other authors.
  • No advertisement.

Above all else, make sure you really focus on giving your book a great title.

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1 Comment

  1. Jim Rossi on February 6, 2020 at 3:15 am

    Thanks, Dave. Highly useful.

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Hey Guys, I’m Dave and when I am not sipping tea with princesses or chasing the Boogey man out of closets, I’m a Kindlepreneur and digital marketing nut – it’s my career, hobby, and passion.


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