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Three Criteria To Consider When Developing Your Subtitle

Your subtitle is your opportunity to get very specific about the value readers will receive if they read your book. If it is nonfiction and you’re helping a reader solve a problem then state exactly what the problem is and incorporate as many keywords as you possibly can without making it sound unnatural.

My very first book The Amazon Sales Formula immediately started selling well and I’m convinced it is because I created a title and a subtitle that made it clear to readers what value they would be getting. Additionally, with an email list of zero I was able to generate traffic because of the keywords offered throughout my title and subtitle (along with an optimized sales page which you’ll learn about later on).

The subtitle reads as follows:

A No Experience Required, Step By Step Instructional Guide To Leverage Private Labeling and Fulfillment By Amazon, To Generate Thousands Per Month In Passive Income.

As I developed this subtitle I wanted to be sure I stuck with specific criteria.

Criteria #1

Keyword rich for a targeted audience. The goal of the book was to help people earn income via selling physical products on Amazon. I researched keywords that this audience might be searching and landed on private labeling, fulfillment by amazon, and passive income. This criteria applies to authors of fiction as well.

Criteria# 2 

Make it clear who it could help. The term “no experience required” implies that this book can help you even if you have zero experience. I chose to avoid saying words like beginner or novice because I didn’t want to narrow the audience only to that group and quite honestly I believe the book helps people with experience. If you’re writing fiction, then Criteria #2 is not typically applicable.

Criteria #3

How would it help. “Step by step instructional guide” tells potential readers that they’re going to be able to finish the book with a finished product. Writers of fiction, in this case are going to focus on writing a subtitle that intrigues the potential reader. Find a way to meet the first criteria while making readers curious to learn more about the book. I strongly recommend you review a variety of fictional books to develop a better understanding.

I must throw the disclaimer that sometimes an overextended subtitle may sound a bit awkward and can have an adverse impact on sales, even if people are able to find the book after a common keyword search. I’m always experimenting with my subtitles, but once a book begins creating consistent sales then I leave it alone. For example, two of my books The Persistence Formula and The Declutter Formula both have short subtitles because I felt they were more appropriate than longer, more in depth subtitles and I prioritized that over potential sales volume.

Similar to what was previously stated, I recommend you look at a variety of different eBooks whether you’ll be competing with them or not. Use your knowledge about sales rankings combined with your goals and begin to identify the format of the subtitles that will likely work best for you.

Mike Marani
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Mike Marani is an author, educator, and entrepreneur. He is best known for The Amazon Sales Formula which provides both step by step technical instruction along with mindset and motivational advice.

As a full time Assistant Principal and parent of two beautiful daughters, Marani created MakeTimeForWriting.com to help busy people achieve their writing aspirations.