In publishing, when your book gets presented to the editorial team as a real candidate for selling, your story will be reduced to a single page of to-the-point information known as the title information sheet (also known as title information page). This piece of paper is the marketing pitch for your book, and contains important printing details the publisher will need to know for pricing reasons, among other things. So what goes into a title information sheet?
What goes into a title information page?
Anyone trying to sell anything needs to do some marketing. If you’re reading this blog and think you’re not going to be part of a sales plan for your book (whether you’re traditionally publishing or not), think again. No matter who you are, you have to sell your book to someone—even if that’s just the publisher. And I say ‘just’ with a good amount of salt. So, knowing your book and speaking the language of book selling is going to help you out big time when looking for a home for your work.
Normally the title information sheet is prepared by an agent or acquisitions editor pitching a finished book to a publishing house. Many, many authors never see the title information page for their own books—but you’re going to learn how to make your own today and start thinking about positioning your book for market.
Do you need to fill in every item of the list below? Nope. You might not have all the information right now, and that’s okay. If you’re self-publishing, however, you should eventually be able to fill out all these fields yourself. As always, give as much information as is useful to you but do try to be concise. If you’re not going the self-publishing route, this is a great addition to your pitch package to a literary agent.
Your title information page should include the following:
- Title, including subtitle
- Author name
- Illustrator (or designer)
- Publishing season (spring, summer, fall, winter)
- Material designed for schools typically publishes right before new semesters; holiday-themed books sell best near their ‘themesake’ (yes, I made that up).
- Publication date
- Specific month you’d like to publish in, or date you already published if shopping for a home for your book.
- ISBN if already registered
- Based on: Length (for PPB—paper, print, and binding costs), type of illustrations and extra material (colour or black and white, glossy photo inserts, etc.), whether hardcover or softcover, and how much you want to earn off each book.
- Price shop books in your genre, especially ones that are roughly your book’s length, and see what the range is. Brand carries weight, but sales and discounts will also skew the spectrum. However, by the end of it, you’ll generally see a ~$5 spread.
- Notably, ebooks are often priced quite cheaply. Keep that in mind as well. You can change their pricing pretty easily, however, so the price on this page is usually just for the book’s print version (whether hardcover or soft).
- Trim size (how big is your book?)
- Paperback, hard cover, non-consumable, consumable? If a book is consumable, it means you can tear pages out or make other permanent changes. This is hard to make appealing to schools and libraries, for example, if the books get reused.
- Describe the type of pictures you want in your book (or which are already there). Are they in colour? Are there a lot? Are there pictures as well as illustrations? Graphs?
- Category (genre or niche—how would a librarian shelf your book?)
- You don’t have to know for sure, but it’s good to make suggestions. Kindle Direct Publishing has a pretty good breakdown of some of the categories, though I suggest you do some comparison research.
- Target audience (be specific, and give a why)
- Sales handle
- This is your quippy one-liner about the book.
- Key sales points
- Bulleted list of the main reasons you believe this book will sell. Does it touch on current events? Is it riding the tail of a pop culture reference? Do you have a large audience or following to pull from and drum up sales? What major themes does your book promote that have proven track records?
- Author bio
- Author’s previous work (or relevant achievements)
- Comparative titles
- Yes, there are books out there like yours.
- Yes, you want to show them there are books out there like yours.
- Then you want to show how well a few (the most similar) did, thereby creating a link with your own work.
- Nice mentions that stroke your ego, sure, but they also make you look like someone worth investing in. You need to establish credibility and authority.
- Been in a write-up? Has an established colleague or foundation said something nice about you or the work you do?
- Rights available
- Do you own all the rights to the material and what rights are you willing to give away during publication?
- Special markets
- You know the general target audience, so where will you find them? These are your special markets.
I know that’s a lot to follow, so I put together a sample long-form title information sheet for you to download here: