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Using Numbers in a Book Title

Book titles are extremely important. As an author, creating a memorable title should be a high priority. Numbers in book titles work with items that already quantify. For example a book titled "Get 6-Pack Abs in 6 Minutes a Day" makes sense. I like using numbers in a book title when it's relevant and useful in describing what the book is about.

A recent example that really works is The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss and his "4 Hour Body". That number stops you in your tracks because it is shocking. How can you work just 4 hours a week? How can you have a good body in just 4 hours?

Ferriss has capitalized on his branding of "4-Hour" and just published "The 4 Hour Chef." He owns that number now. He's branded his name with "4-Hour" and will be able to incorporate it in his future work.

A number is a quickly comprehended visual because it's a symbol and is represented by a minimal amount of characters. For example "One Thousand" spelled out is represented by 12 characters, but only four characters if used as a number; 1000. This can save space on your cover and in this digital world.

sometimes a savings of a few characters can make a difference whether your complete book title is displayed by Google or even on Amazon. Furthermore, there's a magic number of 65 characters for some search engines before it gets truncated or cut off. Another often overlooked benefit is that a number rises to the top of a list when alphabetized right along with symbols like '@' or '$' for example.

Here's a list of a few well known books that have used a number in the title:

Catch-22
The 4-Hour Work Week
The 4-Hour Chef
The 4-Hour Body
Europe on $5 a Day
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Fahrenheit 451
1984
The 39 Steps
1, 2, Buckle My Shoe
Around the World in 80 Days
1001 Arabian Nights
13 Reasons Why
3:10 to Yuma
Beneath the 13 Moons
Size 12 is Not Fat
13 Little Blue Envelopes
13 Treasures
The 6th Target
The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts
7th Heaven
10,001 Ways to Live on a Small Budget
The $100 Startup
The 48 Laws of Power
Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative
The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals
5: Where Will You Be Five Years From Today?
Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School
30 Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She's 30
17 Cents and a Dream (a new book from one of my clients)

Whenever possible I use numbers in my article headlines because it drives home what the article is about. Here's a sample:

22 Tips on What to Wear For a TV Interview
52 Ways to Promote Your iPhone App
33 Radio Interview Tips
55 Reasons to Send Out a Press Release
15 Tips for Great Book Cover Design
The Top 25 Book Fairs and Book Festivals Authors Should Attend.

You can find even more articles on book promotion topics at the author's website.

On LinkedIn, the question received many insightful responses. One I particularly liked was from James Cosenza, a software engineer, "I think the numbered approach is especially useful for self-help and how-to books. People want to know that they can change their lives or learn a new skill in 5, 10 or 15 "easy" steps. I don't know about saturation, but I think conflicting titles on the same subject might be off-putting. For example, do you buy "Install a New Patio in 10 Easy Steps" vs. "A New Patio in Seven Simple Steps"?

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