The question received many insightful responses. One I particularly liked was from James Cosenza, a software engineer, “I think the numbered approach is especially curso de milagros 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’?
Ethan de Jonge Kalmar, founder of Make Your English Work, says, “I think that it depends on your content and audience. Numbered lists certainly work well for blog posts and on social media sites, but given the speed of information now, and the tendency to want to have everything in concise, easy to digest form, I think that many readers of books (by which I mean works of at least 100 pages or so) are looking for more in-depth insight, and numbered list titles do not exactly communicate that the book provides that.”
“For a short promotional e-book, or perhaps the self-help/entrepreneur market it might work well. Also, I think that if you are providing information that is comprehensive because it covers many different things, it might work well, as in James Cosenza’s example of 1000 Places to See before You Die.”
Tim Lemire responded from an author’s perspective, “I never worried about coming up with a good title; I knew the publisher was going to assign their own title to the book anyway.”
Keep in mind, not every book title needs a number. For example, the number 7 is overused because people are trying to capitalize on Covey’s books. Even he came out with the “8th” Habit to stray away from the number 7. So, if you’re thinking of tacking the number “7” into your book’s title, think again because it will not stand out.
Should you decide to incorporate a number into your book’s title, make sure it adds to the book. Do not shove a number in the title because you think it might be a good idea. Not all book titles need numbers. However, some books might sell better because of the number in their title.
The Bottom Line: Coming up with the right name for your book is beyond important it’s critical. Creating a memorable title is really the point. Using numbers in your title might help make it even more memorable.
Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book.