Writing Tips: Choosing a Title

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
Need help with a story title? Welcome.

Submitted: June 06, 2013

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Submitted: June 06, 2013



A lot of people don’t realize this, but the title of the book is almost as important as the body of the book. The title gives the audience an insight as to what they’re about to read. It gives them an idea of whether they’d be interested in such a book. Newspaper headlines, for example, are witty and attention-grabbing—if they weren’t nobody would buy the newspaper. If newspapers sell thousands of millions of copies every day because of their appealing, brown-nosing titles, why shouldn’t your book?

Okay, so obviously you don’t want a title that turns readers away. Nobody would read it. What if your book was about a vampire or something, and the title was "The Uses of Garlic"? People would think, "Why is there a cookbook in the young adult fiction section?" and promptly put it back on the shelf without a second glance. It’s important to consider your audience before you name the book!

Naming a book or poem is analogous to naming a child. You don’t just give birth and name the kid the first word that pops into your head! There’d be eight million Ow’s and Agh’s and Bleep’s and God’s and Push’s and I-Hate-You’s walking around. Most people pick the names out weeks before the kid is born, and some before the kid is even conceived!

Let’s be honest here. Most people are drawn towards titles that sound scandalous and intriguing—why else would they buy a newspaper? There’s a book on the market called "I Shot the President" and people immediately became interested in it. There were portraits of a couple of presidents on the cover of the book, so they had to know who killed the presidents! In actuality, the word "Shot" was referring to the verb pertaining to photography and shoots. But the book sold millions and had great reviews. So why not do the same for your story title?

Be creative with your titles, but try not to use more than three words. This prompts the audience to give the book a second look, but the title doesn’t give away too much. You want this reaction: "Why is it entitled ‘Full Moon’? Why is this book called ‘Silver Tongue’? Why ‘The Lovely Bones’? ‘I Am Slave’?"

These kinds of well-planned titles will certainly draw in readers. Experiment with titles by making a list of possibilities. Choose the one that seems to have the most impact, or even conduct a survey asking people which sounds like something they might glance at twice. Knowing how to use this to your advantage will lead to a successful writing experience.

I wish you could see that thumbs-up I just the computer. It made me feel stupid. Anyway, thanks for reading! If you have any questions, feel free to ask and I will do my best to help you out!

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