Titles... What is in the Title?

Titles.... The title is the very first impression the reader receives. It needs to be catchy, brief, and hook the reader immediately. Yes, your title is important. It is the thumbprint of what is to come.

The title to your article or book will let the reader know right away whether or not it is worth their time and effort to read on. Your title must capture the essence of what it is you want the reader to know so it is important to spend time developing your title.

List several title suggestions at the onset of writing your piece. As you write and develop the article or story, you title idea may change and that's fine too. Make certain that the title always portrays the exact idea or emotion you want the reader to feel. The title must relate someway to the story line, even if it is the twist at the end.

When you have the perfect title check to see if it does any of the following:

1. Catchy

2. Brief

3. Hits an emotional response

4. Clearly depicts a topic ( for nonfiction )

5. Introduces the reader to a character ( specific name the reader can relate to- " Sarah, Plain and Tall)

6. Captures for the reader what you as the author want the reader to see. ( Hook )

If your title does any of the above ideas for you, it will most likely reach the reader in the same way. It is important to give your title the same effort and skill you have given your story or article. But keep in mind and don't be disappointed when an editor still may want to make a change. Editors are experienced in making the most of a title so be open to their suggestions. It will lead to your success.

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  1. Titles are important-thanks for the tips.

  2. Hi, Terri,

    Good tips for titles. If you're writing a press release or a sales letter, often the title or headline can be the MOST important part of the piece.

    Thanks for the tips!

  3. I love how you give us ways to self-check our title choices! I'm printing out this list to refer to. One other thing to remember for a title is that it should have something concrete in it for someone who is searching on the Internet to find a book on that topic. For instance, I had a titleI think was, "Juba, Jazz, and Jubilee" but even though the editors liked it, the marketing changed it to the very practical title: A Kids' Guide to African American History.


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