Whether you’re writing a book, an article, or business correspondence, your title plays an important  role. To be effective, titles should:

• project your work’s image (humorous, educational, personal story)

• state your work’s purpose (if even in a roundabout way)

• grab your audience’s attention as quickly as possible

If you’re writing a book, especially non-fiction, it’s helpful to check other titles already published on your topic. How did publishers approach the subject in titling? Direct, catchy, with subtitles?

For non-fiction and even some business writing, the following are effective phrases to include in your titles:

• numbers

• qualifiers (most, best, greatest)

• “How to…”

• “Keys to,” “tips for,” “success”  (think “10 Keys to Successful Weight Loss”)

• “simple,” “easy,” “quick”

For fiction, you’re more interested in trying to create mood and tone with your titles. Match your genre, be it mystery, historical fiction, or sci-fi. Your title could also play off your main character in some way, especially if you’re writing a series.

Take time to title your work appropriately. Make sure it reflects what you’ve written and that it will make someone pull it off the shelf in a bookstore or off their cluttered desk at work to read it. Just keep in mind that if you’re working with an editor, she will probably end up changing it anyway!

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