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:
• 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
• 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"?