Authors: Rename Your Book For a Second Life
By Scott Lorenz
Throughout the ages books have been renamed, given a new copyright date as a result, and found new life and success.
There are several reasons to rename a book such as adding a subtitle to be friendlier to search engines. Another
important reason is to get a new copyright date because many book critics will not review an old book and reviewers
often define an "old" book as one with a copyright of more than a year old.
Margaret Mitchell first gave the title "Pansy," the original name for Scarlett O'Hara, to her epic novel.
That title was dropped as soon as MacMillan convinced Mitchell to rename her main character. She then considered
the titles of "Tote the Weary Load" and "Tomorrow is Another Day," the latter being taken from the
last line in her novel. When MacMillan objected to these two titles, Mitchell reconsidered and suggested "Gone
With The Wind."
Sometimes just a minor tweak in the title will pay off big, such as "Harry Potter and The Philosopher's
Stone" being renamed "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." "Philosopher's Stone"
was the first novel in the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling when it was first published in London in 1997. The
next year it was republished in America with the "Sorcerer's Stone" change made in the title and it
reached the New York Time's best-selling fiction list in August 1999.
Other examples of books that were re-titled include:
- "The Last Man in Europe" to "1984"
- "The Dead Un-Dead" to "Dracula"
- "Catch 18" and "Catch 11" to "Catch 22"
- "Atticus" to "To Kill a Mockingbird"
- "First Impressions" to "Pride and Prejudice"
- "Fiesta" to "The Sun Also Rises"
- "Strike" to "Atlas Shrugged"
- "Mistress Mary" to "The Secret Garden"
I think you get the point. Tanya Hall of Greenleaf Book Group (www.greenleafbookgroup.com)
tells of the renaming of a book that made a big difference for Greenleaf: "Gregg Crawford approached us seeking
distribution services for his book, 'Execute or Be Executed', originally published in 2006," says Tanya. "We
saw potential in the book but it definitely needed to be repackaged and re-titled to stand out in the crowded business
genre. Gregg agreed to our suggestions, and the end result was 'The Last Link: Closing the Gap That is Sabotaging
Your Business' which was published in March, 2007 by Greenleaf Book Group Press and became our first New York
Many of the authors with whom I work do not subtitle their book which is a big mistake. A subtitle allows for a
book title to contain more searchable terms which, in this day of search engine optimization, is a major consideration.
Remember that people use Google, Bing and Yahoo! to search for information they need immediately - help that fills
their needs, wants and desires. You want to be their Answer.
Authors should always be open to suggestions made by editors and publishers. You may love your title but the publishing
company that makes millions of dollars each year selling books knows a lot more about titles that sell than you
So be ready to rename your book if that new title will attract more readers and sell more books. If in doubt, ask
Margaret Mitchell, or J.K. Rowling, or Ernest Hemingway, or George Orwell or .... Want to rename your book? Bounce
an idea off me at: [email protected].
About the Author
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. He's handled publicity for books by CEOs, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors,
Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC
Nightly News, The New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Family Circle,
Woman's World, & Howard Stern to name a few. Learn more about Westwind Communications'
book marketing approach at
www.book-marketing-expert.com or contact Lorenz at
[email protected] or
by phone at 734-667-2090.