Sometimes having the right title can be half the battle in getting your work read. Think about how often you initially pick up a book because the title draws you in.

When businesses are marketing a new product they often use split testing to determine the best headline, price, layout and design for a sales page or product packaging. Also known as A/B testing, split testing entails putting two variable options into action to find out which is more marketable.

Marketing your book is very much a business and using split testing when you have several title ideas can be very beneficial. Think of it as a scientific way to answer the arbitrary question: which title is “better”? Rather than guessing, acquire some concrete evidence as to which title will bring in the most readers.

The difference between the two options can be just a couple of words. Dr. Seuss could have very well weighed the possibility of The Cat in the Striped Top Hat over The Cat in the Hat. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime probably proved to be more intriguing than The Dog Incident. The simple difference between The Life and Times of John Smith and John Smith’s Life can have a huge impact and it is sometimes best to let outside eyes determine for you.

Distributing the test can be as simple as reaching out to your Twitter followers or Facebook fans, or sending out an email blast. Create an online survey through a free site like surveymonkey.com and send it to your audience. (Note: It helps to have an established platform when using this strategy.)

This technique isn’t limited to title selection. Just as businesses use split testing to choose packaging, you can also use it to pick the right cover for your book.

About the author

Rachel Rachel Brownlow is founder and CEO of Your Written Word LLC, a ghostwriting company that helps successful and aspiring business leaders take their ideas from conception to publication. She has written, edited, proofread, consulted and/or created publishing proposals for more than a dozen nonfiction books. She also contributes to a variety of magazines and publications, including the Austin Business Journal, Austin Monthly, NSIDE Magazine and Georgetown View Magazine. You can find more of her work at rachelbrownlow.com/portfolio.