Testing Titles – A PMA Roundtable

October 2005
by PMA Roundtable

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No pricey focus groups. No
broad-scale surveys. No cookie-cutter market research. Instead—as the
accounts below show—PMA members who responded to emailed questions about
book titles devise affordable, common-sense procedures for determining which
set of words is likely to work best.

—Judith
Appelbaum

In a Tightly Targeted Market

When I began my title search, I
was, fortunately, contributing to an online community board for partners of
people with borderline personality disorder (BPD). They had walked (and some
were still walking) the journey of the on-again, off-again abusive love
relationship. So I had a ready source of potential readers to test my titles
on.

Initially, I tested my title on
personal friends who were in BPD relationships; then I tested it with
mental-health professionals in terms of what their clients would relate to; and
finally, I took my title to the online support group, eventually honing that
group down to five seasoned writers.

I’ve learned that good titles
don’t just appear magically—or quickly. They take time and a considerable
amount of projecting into the minds and hearts of targeted readers. What words
capture their imaginations? Which title grabs their attention and speaks to th

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