the ages books have been renamed, given a new copyright date as a result,
and found new life and success.
There are several reasons to rename a book such as
adding a subtitle to be friendlier to search engines. Another important
reason is to get a new copyright date because many book critics will not
review an old book and reviewers often define an "old" book as one with a
copyright of more than a year old.
Margaret Mitchell first
gave the title "Pansy," the original name for Scarlett O'Hara, to
her epic novel. That title was dropped as soon as MacMillan convinced
Mitchell to rename her main character. She then considered the titles of "Tote the Weary Load" and
"Tomorrow is Another Day," the
latter being taken from the last line in her novel. When MacMillan
objected to these two titles, Mitchell reconsidered and suggested "Gone
With The Wind."
Sometimes just a minor
tweak in the title will pay off big, such as "Harry Potter and The
Philosopher's Stone" being renamed "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's
"Philosopher's Stone" was the first novel in the Harry Potter
series by J.K. Rowling when it was first published in
London in 1997. The next year it was
republished in America with the "Sorcerer's Stone" change made in the
title and it reached the New York Time's best-selling fiction list in
Other examples of books that were re-titled
"The Last Man in
Europe" to "1984"
• "The Dead
Un-Dead" to "Dracula"
• "Catch 18" and
"Catch 11" to "Catch 22"
• "Atticus" to
Kill a Mockingbird"
Impressions" to "Pride and Prejudice"
• "Fiesta" to
Sun Also Rises"
• "Strike" to
• "Mistress Mary"
to "The Secret Garden"
I think you get the
point. Tanya Hall of
Group tells of the renaming of a book that made a big difference for
Greenleaf: "Gregg Crawford approached us seeking distribution services for
his book, 'Execute or Be Executed', originally published in 2006," says
Tanya. "We saw potential in the book but it definitely needed to be
repackaged and re-titled to stand out in the crowded business genre. Gregg
agreed to our suggestions, and the end result was 'The Last Link: Closing
the Gap That is Sabotaging Your Business' which was published in March,
2007 by Greenleaf Book Group Press and became our first New York Times
Many of the authors with whom I work do not
subtitle their book which is a big mistake. A subtitle allows for a book
title to contain more searchable terms which, in this day of search engine
optimization, is a major consideration. Remember that people use Google,
Bing and Yahoo! to search for information they need immediately -- help
that fills their needs, wants and desires. You want to be their Answer.
Authors should always
be open to suggestions made by editors and publishers. You may love
your title but the publishing company that makes millions of dollars each
year selling books knows a lot more about titles that sell than you do.
So be ready to rename your book if that new title will attract more
readers and sell more books. If in doubt, ask Margaret Mitchell, or J.K.
Rowling, or Ernest Hemingway, or George Orwell or ...
Lorenz is President of
a public relations
and marketing firm.
Lorenz works with bestselling
authors and self-published authors
promoting all types of books.
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