• John Lim

MF 238 : Basics on book titles, subtitles and social media branding

Updated: Apr 14, 2021

On this episode, I cover the basics on book titles, subtitles, and social media branding. More at www.bemovingforward.com.

Moving Forward is also available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, Google Play, iHeartRadio, and Spotify.

Part 1: Summer cleaning and pruning social media

The past few weeks I’ve been doing a careful audit on my social media accounts as well as my professional and social commitments. Calling back to my 2019 goals that I set at the end of last year, I wanted to spend this year focused on my priorities and several big-ticket task. Moreover, I felt that I said “yes” to too much over the past two years. Recently, I noticed this crept into my social media accounts. A week or two ago, I scrolled through my Facebook feed, seeing lot of updates and posts from people that I was connected to but don’t actually know. Most were second or third degree connections. This got me thinking. Why am I on Facebook and why am I am accepting invitations to connect from people I don’t know? I’m not an influencer and increasing the number of connections on there isn’t my goal. I’m primarily on Facebook to stay connected with friends and family. That’s when I decided to do a summer cleaning, pruning out connections that weren’t personal or meaningful.

If you want to connect with me for networking purposes, Twitter and LinkedIn are better places to do.

I’d love to hear what you do to maintain the proper balance with your connections, both in your social media and real life.

Part 2: The basics on book titles, subtitles, and social media branding

As we’re moving into July, it’s time to cover the later-half of getting your book done and published. I realize many of you are still in the writing stage and this may keep you in “tunnel vision” for the next few months but even so, it’s not a bad idea to look ahead towards the wrap-up, which includes packaging and marketing your book.

I’m going to jump a little ahead since we’re not going to cover marketing until much later in this series but I recently had a conversation with a friend who is finishing up the ideation stage and transitioning into the first draft. He’s also retained Megan as his editor for when he finishes the manuscript in the fall and I’m super excited for him.

I advised him to start thinking about a title for his book. He has a working title but isn’t yet fully committed to it. You may be in that netherworld too or maybe you haven’t conceived of a title yet. Or perhaps, you have one set in stone and that is the first thing you thought of. Truth is, I don’t have a specific prescription for this because I believe it’s personal for each author and book.

For Making Fake Star Trek, the title didn’t gel until well into the writing process and we didn’t finalize it until we were deep into the editing stage. Andy and I had batted around titles from the beginning. We knew that it would have to encapsulate the idea of two actors who are Star Trek fans that got to act in a weird but not quite real Star Trek production. Most of our early titles were descriptive such as “The True Story of the Making of a Star Trek Fan Film” or some variation of that.

Andy eventually suggested we incorporate the “fake” into the title; a word that nowadays provokes a strong reaction. We continued on this road, first considering “Making Fake Trek” until we decided to go all in and call it “Making Fake Star Trek.”

It was a bold move on our part. We knew the title was edgy, a bit controversial, and would provoke some strong reactions, especially from people who were involved in the production. At first, we were a little hesitant to go with this title but that just confirmed to us that this was the right choice.


I can’t tell you what you should call your book or really how to go about finding the perfect title. You’ll have to do some deep soul searching on that. But I can tell you what was behind our final title selection. Here are some important factors that led us to our title:

We wanted something that:

  1. Captured the essence of the story.

  2. Something controversial.

  3. Something edgy.

  4. Something eye-catching.


  1. Something that was a head fake.

When you see the cover and title, it may seem salacious, even negative. And while we don’t hold back in our deep dive into this world and our experiences, we mostly have fond reverence for that period in our lives. Thus, the title serves to provoke one reaction while surprising the reader once they read the entire book. Judging by the reaction, comments, and reviews, I think we succeeded in our goal.


We also came up with a subtitle: “The True Story of Making a Star Trek Fan Film with the Real Walter Koenig.”

The subtitle serves as a fuller, more robust description of the story. It also helps with search engine optimization (SEO). Notice how we incorporate the keywords that are relevant to the story and our potential reader base: “Star Trek,” “fan film,” “Walter Koenig” (the real one no less!).

Social media branding consistency

As you finalize your title, think ahead and prepare your marketing strategy. Once you come up with that perfect title, grab a domain that matches closely to it. Don’t panic if the “perfect” .com is taken. You can find a variation that works or use a different dot ending. There are even newer vanity ones like .book which cost a little more but may help you stand out. I also recommend reserving the social media handles and accounts that fit your titles' branding. Even if you don’t plan on using all of these social media channels (we’ll cover this more later), it’s a good idea to reserve them just in case you decide to use them later.


Start thinking about your book’s title and subtitle. What do you want your title to do? What kind of reaction do you want to elicit from someone who sees it on a bookshelf or on Amazon. In addition to the title, start thinking about a descriptive subtitle that uses keywords tied to your subject. Finally, as you narrow down your title, grab a domain and social media handles that align with your title.

Part 3: What I’m reading / read

I’m still in the middle of my current book so will have a thorough review next week. In the meantime, I highly recommend The Good Neighbor by Maxwell King (*****) which I read last fall. If you enjoyed the documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, this book is the perfect companion and follow-up to learn more about Mister Fred Rogers. The book covers his childhood and family life to his later years in public television and more. It’s a thorough examination of an extraordinary life filled with difficulties and triumphs. The book is a fantastic read and a fascinating look at Mister Rogers that goes beyond the film.


Scrivener (available for Mac, Win, IOS) is a book writing program that auto formats for self-publishing on Amazon’s KDP and other platforms. It’s a great tool with rich features that allow co-writers to collaborate through Dropbox. Scrivener has a bit of a learning curve but I’ve been a fan since 2017 and have talked to many authors who use it as their go-to. If you’re interested in Scrivener, you can use the coupon code MOVINGFORWARD to get 20% off your purchase (for Mac or Win). It’s a one-time license fee and available for Mac, Win, IOS.

Note: this section contains affiliate links and coupon codes for which the author may receive some compensation.

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