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Subtitles for a PB?

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I've exhausted all of my resources, so I'm hoping for some guidance here.

I love my PB's title and its relevance to the refrain in my manuscript, however, it does not indicate what the story is about. Relevant cover art should help my potential audience understand what my PB is about, but my concern is with listing my book online. For example, I would like my listing to appear when a consumer searches "sloth children's book", although none of these words are in my title. I was hoping including a subtitle (only in the listing title, not on the cover itself) would solve my dilemma.

Is a subtitle acceptable in PB's? Is it a bad idea to have it only in the listing title? If acceptable, what direction should I go when coming up with a subtitle?

Thanks!
#1 - March 30, 2019, 09:46 AM
"Say farewell to the day,
Blow a kiss to the moon.
Sweet dreams my love,
My littlest spoon."

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Are you self-publishing?
#2 - March 30, 2019, 01:57 PM
VAMPIRINA BALLERINA series (Disney-Hyperion)
SUNNY'S TOW TRUCK SAVES THE DAY (Abrams)
GROUNDHUG DAY (Disney-Hyperion, 2017)
among others

Are you self-publishing?

Ah, yes...sorry I forgot to clarify! I intend to self publish.
#3 - March 30, 2019, 02:15 PM
"Say farewell to the day,
Blow a kiss to the moon.
Sweet dreams my love,
My littlest spoon."

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I think if you self-pub, you can do what you want, but I have no actual experience with this. Maybe search for picture books with subtitles online and see what comes up. If you don't see any recent ones, be more cautious, but it's not always bad to be the first. You could also add a blurb to the back cover that mentions sloths.
#4 - March 30, 2019, 06:27 PM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
Twitter: @dvilardi1

I think if you self-pub, you can do what you want, but I have no actual experience with this. Maybe search for picture books with subtitles online and see what comes up. If you don't see any recent ones, be more cautious, but it's not always bad to be the first. You could also add a blurb to the back cover that mentions sloths.

That's so helpful, thanks Debbie!

#5 - March 30, 2019, 07:06 PM
"Say farewell to the day,
Blow a kiss to the moon.
Sweet dreams my love,
My littlest spoon."

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A subtitle isn't necessary to be found with keyword searches.  When you self-publish, the listing will include a summary of the story (same thing that's normally on the back cover or the inside jacket flap), keywords, and categories.  Those will enable your title to be found by people using relevant keywords. 

Of course, you can do a subtitle if you want, but you don't have to. 

Also, your ebook can have cover art just like your printed book.  Often the eBook cover is a simplified version of the print cover. 
#6 - March 31, 2019, 09:29 AM
Karen B. Jones

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My instinct is to recommend that you try harder to get the word "sloth" in your title somewhere, even if it's in a subtitle. I don't write PBs, but I did self-publish a poetry book that I sell online. The title and the cover are what the potential reader/buyer pays attention to. If you don't draw them in with those two things, they won't ever get to the description on the back cover or the key words.
#7 - March 31, 2019, 10:43 AM
ANTIQUE PIANO & OTHER SOUR NOTES
http://decoowlpress.com

Barb  :owl

Website: http://barbaraetlin.com
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A subtitle isn't necessary to be found with keyword searches.  When you self-publish, the listing will include a summary of the story (same thing that's normally on the back cover or the inside jacket flap), keywords, and categories.  Those will enable your title to be found by people using relevant keywords. 

Of course, you can do a subtitle if you want, but you don't have to. 

Also, your ebook can have cover art just like your printed book.  Often the eBook cover is a simplified version of the print cover. 

Ah okay, I understand! I didn't realize that was all relevant in the search too! Thank you for your insight!
#8 - March 31, 2019, 06:58 PM
"Say farewell to the day,
Blow a kiss to the moon.
Sweet dreams my love,
My littlest spoon."

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Hi! I’m a first time poster but long time lurker (sorry) and had a similar question. I’ve written a series of picture books with a series title but each book has individual titles. When I’m writing letters to editors but only submitting one book manuscript at a time what do you guys think about differentiating between titles.

Sorry if that doesn’t make sense. I have night-shift brain :)

#9 - April 02, 2019, 11:46 PM

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:welcome Alexandra. When submitting a book at a time, I only mention the series potential in my cover letter. Good luck with your submissions!
#10 - April 03, 2019, 05:36 AM
BOUND (Bodach Books, 2018)
TEN EASTER EGGS (Scholastic, 2015)
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Author of over 60 books and 60 magazine pieces

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Sub the first book and mention the potential for a series.
#11 - April 03, 2019, 07:02 PM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
Twitter: @dvilardi1

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Thank you guys!!
#12 - April 03, 2019, 08:38 PM

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