• Learn How to Build a Powerful Personal Brand That Will Differentiate You and Allow You To Compete in the Global Marketplace.
  • How Book Titles Build Personal Brands, Pt. 1

    Choosing the right title for your book is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. The right title does more than just sell the book, it can launch a personal brand that creates endless opportunities while pre-selling follow-up books and a wealth of other profitable products & services.

    One of best examples of this is Sarah Susanka, whose Not So Big House title launched a powerhouse personal brand that has taken her far beyond her origins as a residential architect.

    Sarah Susanka and her “Not So Big” title provide a perfect model of personal branding success based on the choosing the right book title and building on its success

    There are hundreds of thousands of contemporary residential architects in America, but no other residential architect has created such an enduring personal brand–or has created as impressive a series of accomplishments as you can discover at her Not So Big website.

    Sarah’s brand since 1998nsb_home

    Sarah Susanka’s Not So Big House: A Blueprint For the Way We Really Live appeared in 1998. Since then, her brand has brought her to the forefront of media visibility:

    • She’s been a guest on well-known radio and television talk shows like Oprah!, Charlie Rose, and NPR’s Diane Rehm
    • Fast Company named her to their inaugeral list of the Top 50 List of Innovators whose achievements are changing society.
    • Newsweek Magazine selected her as their Top Newsmaker in 2000.
    • US News and World Report dubbed her an innovator in American culture
    • In May of 2007, The Lindbergh Foundation presented her with the Anne Morrow Lindbergh Award by the for outstanding individual achievement, demonstrating a spirit of initiative and exemplifying great dedication toward making positive contributions to our world.

    How many other residential architects are equally well known?

    In addition to the growing list of follow-up Not So Big House titles, her website reveals a wealth of resources for architects, builders, and homeowners. These range from building plans, DVDs, publications, directories. She’s also been able to create a secondary career in personal development with her Not So Big Life title that reflects her underlying philosophy.

    How the right 4 words sell books and built a brand

    It’s possible to spend an hour discussing the reasons for the success of Sarah Susanka’s Not So Big House title, and how it provided the foundation for her personal brand. (I know, because I’ve done it!)

    2768941171_b00abd0a47_oBriefly, here are some of the reasons for the perfection of her Not So Big House title:

    • Instant recognition. Sarah’s Not So Big House title not only instantly signals that the book is about houses, it communicates the basic message: you don’t need “big” to be comfortable. Notice that this is not about about compromise, i.e., “not so big” has nothing to do with “small” or “cheap,” but it does have a lot to do about “right sizing.”
    • Concise. The shortness of the title, and the words used in it, permits the title to appear quite large on the cover of the books. (When you visit her “publications” page, study the graphic impact of her book covers; even at thumbnail size, you can easily read the titles.)
    • Expandability. The original Not So Big House book was soon followed by titles like Inside the Not So Big House, Outside the Not So Big House, Creating the Not So Big House, Not So Big Remodeling, and Not So Big Solutions for Your Home.

    Suggestion: Take the time to make a list of the sales building and personal branding qualities you notice in the Not So Big House title. Use this list to measure the effectiveness of your proposed book title!

    I’ve always considered the Not So Big concept one of the world’s great nonfiction titles. During a recent interview, she told how, where, and when the title originated–but that’s a topic for another time. (Or, you can read the Introduction to her Not So Big Life.)

    3368336791_b64e855264Lessons we can learn

    The main lesson I get from Sarah Susanka’s title success is to avoid settling for just “any” title.

    Your book’s title can be much more than just the words on the front cover of your book. It can become your brand, a meme–or easily remembered trademark–that makes you and your book memorable while distancing you from your competition.

    Take the time to analyze the title you’re proposing for your book.

    Ask yourself, “How does my title stack up against Sarah’s?”


    Roger C. Parker is a “32 Million Dollar Author,” book coach, and online writing resource. His 38 books have sold 1.9 million copies in 35 languages around the world. The NY Times called his Looking Good in Print “…the one to buy when you’re buying only one!” Roger has interviewed hundreds of successfully branded authors and shares what he’s learned at Published & Profitable and his daily writing tips blog.

    Roger C. Parker is an author, book coach, designer, consultant who works with authors, marketers, & business professionals to achieve success with brand-building writing & practical marketing strategy. He helps create successful marketing materials that look great & get results, and can turn any complex marketing or writing task into baby steps.

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