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OK, boomer. You’ve written a memoir with valuable advice for younger generations. How do you know your book title will make them want to read it?

That’s the question this author took to PickFu in a split test of two potential titles. The author asked a target audience of women between the ages of 18 and 34, “Which book title would you rather read and why?”

The titles were: Advice from the Bottom of a Boomer’s Heart and Back Away from the Cookies: And Other Advice to My Younger Self.

Can you guess which one won?

And the winner is…Option B, Back Away from the Cookies: And Other Advice to My Younger Self, with 37 of 50 votes.

Respondents overwhelmingly preferred the more light-hearted title. Let’s find out why.

Boomer is a loaded word

A surprising number of respondents said they don’t care for the word boomer or the generation it describes — that is, those born between 1946 and 1964.

Here’s a sampling of their comments:

  • “I hate the boomer term. It makes me think of a bitter old person.”
  • “I don’t want advice from a boomer.”
  • “Boomer has a negative stereotype attached to it, so I think that would push people away from picking up this title. For me, it definitely did.”
  • “I hate the title of Option A, it’s actually a turn-off. I don’t want to listen to a self-proclaimed boomer.”

Interestingly, more than half of the votes for Option B, the winning title, included an anti-boomer sentiment, which some respondents said has only grown among their peers in recent years.

One woman summed it up like this: “Enough advice has been given by the older generation.”

“Everyone loves cookies and hates Boomers,” wrote another.

Ouch.

That’s not to say baby boomers don’t have valuable advice to share. But if you’re writing for a younger demographic, avoid using boomer in the title. You should also think carefully about how you present the advice in your book.

Humor is always appealing

Respondents had positive things to say about the humor in Option B.

“[Option B] is definitely more clever and made me laugh when I looked at it,” said one respondent.

“[Option B] is a little playful and it seems like heartwarming or caring advice will come from the title,” an 18- to 24-year-old said. “I like reading about people reflecting on things personally, so it appeals to me more.”

In short, Option B’s title exudes warmth and humor — although one respondent pointed out that she was “tired of being told not to eat cookies.”

Key takeaways

If you’re writing a book geared toward a younger audience, make it more of a memoir and less of an advice or self-help tome. Don’t use the word boomer or, for that matter, any generational nickname in the title, which readers might feel is condescending.

Head to PickFu for more on how — and why — to split test your book titles, covers, and more. Creating a poll is quick and easy, and you’ll get detailed feedback in as little as 15 minutes.

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Laura Melchor

Laura Ojeda Melchor (she/her) is freelance writer whose work has appeared in Parents.com, Mom.com, Gardener’s Path, and of course, PickFu. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her debut middle grade novel, Missing Okalee, comes out from Shadow Mountain Publishing in the fall of 2021. Find her online at lauraojedamelchor.com.

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