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:
• 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!