Book Title Critiques by John Kremer

Are you ready to create a bestselling book?

Do you want a book that everyone is talking about?

Do you want to create a bestselling brand that builds your book from a simple paperback to a multimedia empire?

You can do it. You just need a great title!


Book Title Critiques

Make Your Book a Bestseller!

Create a National Brand!

Get Your Book on the Tongues of Everyone You Pass!


From the desk of John Kremer, author of 1001 Ways to Market Your Books . . .

To the next national bestselling author! That's you!

An effective book title alone can make the difference between a mediocre seller and a bestselling book.

The title of a book, like the headline of an advertisement or news story, often makes the difference between a reader passing the book by or picking it up and giving it more careful consideration.

More often than not, the reader gives less than a moment's attention to any book title; if you don't capture the reader's imagination or curiosity or desire in that short moment, you will have lost the sale.

More important, however, is that many distributors, bookstore buyers, reviewers, and subsidiary rights buyers also judge a book by its title (and its cover). They know from experience that a good title sells more books. As Gloria Norris of the Book-of-the-Month Club once noted, “We can break out good writers—especially if their books have good titles.”

Does a title make a difference? Yes, it does!


Back in the 1950s, the Little Blue Book series tested all their titles. Which of these titles do you think sold best?

The Art of Courtship vs. The Art of Kissing

Care of Skin and Health vs. Eating for Health

The Art of Kissing sold more than 60,000 copies in one year while The Art of Courtship sold 17,000 copies. That didn't surprise me.

The Care of Skin and Hair outsold Eating for Health by 52,000 copies to 36,000 copies.

All four titles (with very little if any other selling copy or description) were exposed to the same number of readers the same number of times, so the sales reflect a really solid test of the titles - and how book buyers responded to them.


John Gray book titleYou need to make your title memorable. That's what I look for when I critique book titles.

When John Gray followed up his bestselling Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus with What Your Mother Couldn’t Tell You and Your Father Didn’t Know, Borders returned 50% and Ingram 70%. Why? Because the second book didn’t have nearly as memorable a title.

As Susie Russenberger of Ingram Book wholesalers noted, “The previous book had a great title, but this one was really hard for people to say.” When Gray began doing more Mars and Venus books, he again leapt to the top of the bestseller lists.


If you are looking to brand your book or want to create a bestseller, a book title critique will help you to create a bestselling book before you hire a cover designer (and spend up to $4,000 on a cover with a bad title).

Here are a few of the book titles resulting from my book title critiques:

The Million Dollar Seed: How to Write Your Book and Build an Empire

The Snob-Free Wine Tasting Companion

The Five-Minute Secret: How to Connect with Anyone, Anywhere, at Any Time!

A Brave True Story: A transformational story about healing family ties and relationships

Touch the Spirit: Connecting to the Inner World of Dementia

How to Talk to Your Husband about Money

Book Title Critique: $150.

Click Here to order . . . Book Title Critique


“As a publisher on a budget, I can confidently say that consulting with John on the cover of The Way of Leading People: Unlocking Your Integral Leadership Skills was the best money I spent promoting my book. John provided me with clear, concise feedback while making several valuable marketing suggestions.” — Tim Warneka, founder, Asogomi Publishing International

“John's Book Cover Critique was the best investment I've made on my book.” — Sandra Lewis, publisher, My Health Record

Book Title Changes -
The Impact of Changing the Title

One paperback publisher changed the title of a book from Five Days to Five Nights. The second title sold much, much better than the first.

Tim Ferriss's first title for his bestselling The 4-Hour Workweek was How to Buy Drugs Legally Online. Now his first title would have sold some books, but it would never have created a brand for Tim, nor would it have sold the millions of copies the current title has sold. 4-Hour Workweek is brandable and memorable. His first title was generic and forgetable.

When Garden Way changed the title of one of their books from The Squash Book to The Zucchini Cookbook, sales rocketed from a paltry 1,500 copies to over 300,000 copies.

They Don’t Build Statues to Businessmen to Valley of the Dolls—Which book sounds like a novel you could lose yourself in?

The Little Blue Book Company, as noted above, often tested the titles to their books. Here are the yearly sales resulting from some of those changes:

Patent Medicine and Public Health — 3,000
The Truth About Patent Medicine — 10,000

The Sonnets of a Portrait Painter — very few
The Love Sonnets of an Artist — 6,000

The Mystery of the Iron Mask — 11,000
The Mystery of the Man in the Iron Mask — 30,000

Poems of Evolution — 2,000
When You Were a Tadpole and I Was a Fish — 7,000

The Pineapple Diet Book to The Beverly Hills Diet Book—The second is much more glamorous and enticing. Pineapples pucker my mind.

The PRE-Reading Experience to Developing the Early Learner to The IQ Booster Kit—Note how the title becomes more specific while at the same time offering greater benefits. Which would you buy if you were a parent? Which do you think sold best?

Tomorrow Is Another Day and Tote the Weary Load to Gone with the Wind—and the heroine's name was changed from Pansy to Scarlett O'Hara. Which title do you think has sold millions of copies and became a major motion picture? Would the original titles have done as well?

A Grammatical Institute for the English Language (with an 18-word subtitle) to The American Spelling Book—Which title do you think sold best for Noah Webster’s first spelling book, published in 1783?

A Story That No One Can Beat to And to Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street—Dr. Seuss’s first book was rejected by 27 publishers under that first title. When Ted Henle of Vanguard Press bought the manuscript, the first order he gave Seuss was to come up with a snappier title. He did.

It Shouldn’t Happen to a Vet to All Things Bright and Beautiful—Not only was the second title more interesting, but it allowed James Herriot to come up with wonderful titles for the rest of the books in the series.

Your Guide to Coping with Pain to Conquering Back Pain—The Canadian title was changed when Prentice-Hall came out with a U.S. edition so that the title would better reflect the book's contents. And better reflect the American way of viewing problems.

Book Title Critique: $150.

Click Here to order . . . Book Title Critique

John's Background

John Kremer is an acknowledged book promotion expert who can answer all your questions on book publishing and marketing. Besides being the owner of his own publishing company (Open Horizons in Taos, New Mexico), he was the editor of the Book Marketing Update newsletter for more than twenty years.

As a marketing guru, John is also the author of a number of books on publishing and marketing, including 1001 Ways to Market Your Books: For Authors and Publishers (6th Edition), The Complete Direct Marketing Sourcebook, High Impact Marketing on a Low Impact Budget, The Do-It-Yourself Book Publicity Kit, and Celebrate Today.

Book marketing expert John Kremer has spoken at book publishing, marketing, and publicity seminars in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Chicago, Orlando, Miami, Denver, Boulder, Tucson, Portland, Seattle, San Antonio, Houston, Austin, Toronto, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Madison, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Phoenix, Saint Louis, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Nashville, West Palm Beach, Saint Petersburg, Alexandria, Cincinnati, Buffalo, Sacramento, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Des Moines, Cleveland, Calgary, London, Las Vegas, Washington DC, and many other cities.

His speeches have ranged from half-hour talks on book marketing to two-hour sessions on getting national publicity to three-day seminars on how to open new markets for your books.

What People Are Saying . . .

“For the past few years I've been asking John Kremer's advice on handling the complexities of the book publishing business. Here are two examples where his advice and experience has proven invaluable. When sales of the hardback edition of one of my books stalled (even after receiving wonderful reviews), John suggested that I work with the publisher to repackage and revise the material in the form of a paperback. He explained exactly how I should pitch the idea and exactly what to say to the publisher. His strategy resulted not only in a second chance for the book but an additional advance! The revised edition quickly ate through both advances and I eventually received several royalty checks before the paperback finally went out of print. Then, more recently, when I found myself without an agent, I called John to ask him the best way to get an agent. He told me to call everyone who I knew who might know a good agent, especially people whom I had interviewed (for articles and such) who had bestselling books. I did as he suggested, separating my possible sources into "A", "B", and "C" depending on the likelihood that they'd have a good contact. By the time I had called everyone on the "A" list, the name of one agent had come up twice. I sent him an email describing myself and my work (with which he was familiar) and now I'm being represented by one of the top agents in the country. Thanks John!!!” — Geoff James, author of Success Secrets from Silicon Valley and The Tao of Programming

“John Kremer gave the most consistent excellent, practical advice. It was my first time to see or hear him. I thought he distinguished himself as someone who might be worth paying to consult with. You know that's high praise out of my thrifty mouth!” — Lisa Reid, Ferguson-Carol Publishers

“After studying all the self-publishing books and putting together a business plan and marketing plan, I still had questions which could only be addressed by the voice of experience, such as how to time the whole process. The e-mail lists have been a terrific help in this respect. Nevertheless, sometimes there is nothing like talking one-on-one with an experienced individual. In addition, John offered several ideas for marketing which were specific to my type of book. I'm certain these will more than pay for the consultation. ... For a new publisher like myself it was just what I needed to put all the pieces together. As for the more experienced publisher, I'll bet he could give you a few ideas to spark your promotional efforts.” — Brian Scott, Systematic Publications and Media

“I love your book (1001 Ways) by the way (with the innovative marketing ideas). I am trying to get my money saved because many have said a consultation with you is worth every penny and more.” — Debra Cohen, author, Gems of Wisdom: Quotes to Ponder

“So thanks again. I guess I might as well say that I think that you're an amazing guy. You have an uncanny ability to find out the needs of countless number of authors you have advised and counseled so that individually we feel you've tuned into us. Yet your ideas have a universal appeal. One of my areas of interest is in creativity. You certainly have a most unusual creative spirit. You come up with ideas so spontaneously and offer them so easily and warmly it's like you've been thinking of the subject forever. And as I mentioned to you, I know how much you enjoy giving to others. Your laughter and good humor punctuate what you give.” — Marv

“John Kremer — He's smart, creative and clever, and he knows how to help you sell books.” — Jon Bard, Editor, Children's Writing Update!

“My meeting with John Kremer was one of the most important factors contributing to the success of my self-published international bestseller, Seeds of Deception. At his advice, I found the ideal distributor, started my institute, made important changes in the book, and confidently set up the marketing plan that has sustained me for years. I recommend to everyone who asks me about writing or publishing a book to speak with John.” — Jeffrey Smith, author and publisher of Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies about the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You’re Eating

Book Title Critique: $150.

Click Here to order . . . Book Title Critique

Holding Out for a Great Title - Swim with the Sharks

When Harvey Mackay was writing Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive, he kept trying out different titles. He rejected Prepare to Win as too mundane and 88 Lessons for '88 as too dated. Finally, he came up with a line from the book, How to Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten, which he liked because of its powerful symbolism which combined a bit of raunchiness with a sense of curiosity.

His publishers at Morrow, however, hated it. They said it was too long and too vague. But Mackay was convinced it was the right title, so he hired Janz/Abrahamson, a Minneapolis company experienced in naming consumer products such as hot dogs, beer, and jelly. They put together a focus group which checked out over 800 titles. Mackay's title, minus the How to, remained their top choice. When Mackay showed the results to the people at Morrow, they capitulated. As Morrow's senior editor, Adrian Zackheim, noted in an article in Inc. magazine, “If an author feels such a moral certainty about a title, you've got to say yes.”


Use the above book title changes and stories as examples to help you come up with a effective book titles for greater impact.

If you still have trouble coming up with a good title, then email me. I can help you create a book title that gets attention AND helps you sell more books.

John Kremer

Copyright © 2015 by book marketing expert John Kremer
Email: JohnKremer @

Open Horizons, P O Box 2887, Taos NM 87571 - 575-751-3398