Your path to a bestselling brand begins with the right title

Posted April 21st @ 9:14 pm by Roger C. ParkerPrint

Thursday’s profit tip for authors

The release of the 3rd edition of Jason Alba’s I’m on LinkedIn–Now What? provides an opportunity to review the writing and publishing elements that contribute to author profitability and success…and choosing the right book title plays a key role in your path to a bestselling brand.

I’ve previously approached Jason’s Alba’s I’m on LinkedIn-Now What? from the point of view of it’s social marketing and 3-act content organization.

But, no matter how useful the information in Jason’s book is, or how well-written, or how popular the topic, without the right title, Jason’s book wouldn’t have sold over 10,000 copies, there wouldn’t be a 3rd edition… and Jason’s brand wouldn’t be as big as it is now.

Jason Alba’s bestselling brand began with the right title

Here are some of the key factors contributing to the success of Jason’s title, which has not only sold a lot of books, but create a series of successful series of Now What? books:

  • Promise. Bestselling nonfiction book titles make a promise to prospective readers that can be read and understood at a glance.
  • Specificity. Jason’s Now What? titles are for busy people with specific needs. They promise just the information readers needs to conquer a problem–so they can move on to the next. If I’m new to LinkedIn, I don’t need or want a “general introduction to social marketing.” All I want to know is how to do tasks like set-up a profile, adjust the settings, and how to use specific LinkedIn features.
  • Concise. Short titles containing short word enjoy a decided advantage over longer titles; short titles can appear in larger type sizes on the book covers, surrounded by a lot of white space that attracts attention.
  • Targeted readers. The title helps prospective readers pre-qualify themselves on the basis of their experience. You don’t have to read the book’s table of contents to know whether or not the book is right for you. If you’re a newcomer, the book’s appeal is obvious, without using any potentially condescending, or “beginner,” terms.
  • Colloquial. The titles in the Now What? series are easy to understand and remember because the language used in the titles is the same language readers use to describe their situation. Words like “I’m on…” and “Now What?” need no translation.
  • Expandable. Strong book titles build author brands that extend beyond the initial book. Just as Jay Conrad Levinson expanded his original brand-building Guerrilla Marketing title into over 100 follow-up books, Jason Alba has been expand the series and–with it–enhancing his online visibility and profit opportunities.

Jason’s brand and online presence include his I’m on LinkedIn-Now What? blog and back-end profit centers, his Jason Alba omesite, and his Jibber-Jabber Job Search and Career Management 2.0 site that has attracted press coverage from the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, the NY Times, and MSN.

Bestselling brands begin with the right titles

Jason Alba didn’t just write a book, he selected the right title! In doing so, he created a strong brand for himself, a new career that has attracted extensive speaking opportunities and far more control over his time and his life. From that perspective, it’s hard to over-estimate the power of the right title. The same book with a lesser title might have remained dead in the water. What do you think? Did I overlook other important aspects of his title? Share your ideas and questions, below, as comments. And, click here if you want to learn more about choosing the right book title to build your brand.


  1. Jason Alba
    April 27, 2011

    Thanks for this analysis, Roger, I totally agree. My title has had a lot to do with the success of the book – love your stuff :)

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