Some notes on book titles

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Andrew Berzanskis is an editor-at-large for the press. Here, he offers an inside look at the acquisitions process. Find him on Twitter: @aberzanskis

If you can’t remember the name of your book without seeing it in writing, the title is too long.

When you explain the pun in your proposed book title, you have already made two mistakes.

Your book’s audience will only be as broad as the most narrow word in the title. 

Books with the best titles: memoirs. Books with the worst titles: museum collections. Books most likely to not live up to great titles: poetry.

Scholarly authors are still proposing book titles that include forward slashes?

The number of scholarly books I’ve published using the *exact* same title that appeared on the original book proposal: 3.

If you need to explain the title, it’s not a good title.

“[My editor] couldn’t stand the book’s title, and I think the world should know how heavily she labored to persuade me to change it.”

The median number of words before the colon in a NYU Press book title: 3. Take note, kids.

Can’t sign a book based solely on the title. But there is a strong correlation between a bang-up title & the author nailing everything else.

One thought on “Some notes on book titles

  1. I’m in international rights. There’s nothing like presenting dozens of books in dozens of short meetings to highlight what works as a title and what doesn’t. Try explaining puns to non-native speakers!

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