Monday, June 16, 2014

Finding the Perfect Title

Writers often struggle to create the perfect title for their work. Whether you write fiction, articles, or blog posts you will need to give your work a title. The title is the first thing that your reader will see and can be an effective marketing tool. Try these easy tips to help create a great title for your latest writing.

Write Titles Last

Many writers try to create a title to their story or article before they even begin writing. However, drafts often grow and change as they are written. Save the title until last and you will have a better understanding of your work's true meaning. Your title may come to you during the writing process without having to think about it at all. If you feel like you have to call your work something while you are writing, use the name of a main character (or the subject matter if you are writing nonfiction).

Find an Important Phrase

Is there a significant image or message hidden within your manuscript? Using an important concept from your piece in the title can help strengthen the message. Even the name of a pivotal character may be an effective title, so long as they have a unique and powerful name. The significant phrase may be found near the end of the book, causing your readers to wonder why you selected it until everything comes together.

Offer Intrigue

When your reader sees your title for the first time, they should want to know more. Don't give away everything with your title. Pose more questions than answers and you will gain more readers. What is the significant event that brings about the climax of your work? If the point of the title is not revealed until late in the writing, your audience may be propelled to keep reading and find out what it means.

Study Other Titles

All it takes is a trip to the bookstore to begin studying other titles in your genre. Head to your favorite section and see which books catch your attention. What do you want to pick up? Why is that title so special? If you write for magazines, newspapers, or the internet, it is also simple to research. Study the market and see what is out there. Gather five or six of your favorite titles and take the time to analyze why they work for you.


Take fifteen minutes and make a list of as many possible titles as you can come up with for your work. Don't think too hard or overanalyze what you write. They may not all be usable, but by having a wide selection you will increase your chances of finding the perfect title for your work. If you already have beta readers, you can try having a brainstorming session with them and bounce ideas off each other.

Think About Keywords

If you write for blogs, websites, or ezines, you want to make sure that your work has the best search engine optimization possible. When giving your work a title, consider possible keywords that people would search for. Many websites are available to track hot keywords. Using those searchable phrases in your URL and title are two of the fastest ways to improve your rank in search results.

Use a Subtitle if Needed

Don't feel limited to just a few words if you have the option to include a subtitle. You can add a few more details to help your reader understand what you will be writing about. If your title is especially oblique, a subtitle can clarify the exact subject of your manuscript. Subtitles are also a great idea for web writing, because you can include an entirely different set of keywords from the ones used in your title.

Eliminate Weak Words

Create your title out of powerful words. Eliminate any weak or unnecessary choices. Do you really need to start your piece with "The" or is the title stronger without it? Use descriptive words that evoke specific images in the mind of your reader. Try slashing any unnecessary words from your title and see if it doesn't become stronger and more interesting.

Let choosing a title for your writing be a fun part of the process. It does not have to be stressful. Be patient if the perfect option does not come to you right away. Step away from your manuscript and a great title just might emerge. Let these tips help your title become an organic part of the manuscript.

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