Friday, Oct 19, 2012

Friday Fix (Craft): What’s in a Title?

How important is the title of your story? What would you say on a scale of one to ten, with ten being extremely important?

On my scale, I would choose a ten. A title is extremely important. Why? Here are some reasons: 

1) A title is generally the reader’s first introduction to your story. Many a bookstore browser has chosen not to remove a book off the shelf because of its title. Many a browser has chosen to remove a book off the shelf because of its title.

2) A title should suit the book. For example, you wouldn’t entitle a romance novel A Scientific Treatise on the Stone Age.

3) A title should give the reader a clue as to what the story is about. For example, Moby Dick is about a whale by that name.

4) A title should be easy to remember. The rule of thumb in publishing is that a title should be no longer than five words, although this rule is sometimes broken. Readers remember shorter titles better than longer ones.

5) A title should hook your reader. Like the first sentence or the first paragraph of your story, your story’s title should capture the reader’s attention and draw her in.

Remember that an editor often will change your title. But if you make it a snappy one, your chances of retaining your original title will skyrocket. 

What are some of your favorite book titles of books you’ve read? What are some of your favorite titles of books you’ve written?


Photo Source: Microsoft Clipart

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