Sunday, July 12, 2009

Snappy Titles

Today, I'm taking a break from reviewing and interviewing and offering some quick tips on how to pick a successful title. Some writers start with a title, while others find it as they create their article or story. Still others struggle and hope their editor will come up with something with zing. Having a title which grabs an editor's attention is one of the starting places to nailing a submission.

One sure fire article title includes numbers. For example, 10 ways to Organize Your Closet," or "15 New Tricks for Removing Stains."

Add a little mystery to your title by offering a "tease" in the wording, such as "Sleep No More," or "If Johnny Jumped Over a Cliff."

Make a promise. Offer your readers, "How to Make Paper Roses," or "Make a Centerpiece for the Holidays."

Use a play on words such as "Flower Cents," or "Reigning Cats and Dogs."

Try for immediacy with a title such as "The Last Days of Summer," or "Fit in 48 Hours."

Contradictions in a title can draw in a reader. Try something like "Sit to Lose Weight," or "Eating Your Way to a Slimmer You." Think of classics like "War and Peace."

Alliteration is always an eye catcher. Use catchy titles like "Double Duty Dishes," or "Green Garden Grapes."

If you're writing for an inspirational publication, miracles mentioned in your title are an option. "The Miracle of John Doe," or "A Child's Miracle."

If your piece has a humorous slant bring that out in your title. Look to successful humor writers for ideas. Try something like "Stinkers," or "Poo Patrol."

Action titles work well if your manuscript is in a genre that would fit. "Gone With the Wind" is an action title that still speaks to readers decades after it was written.

Clearly, you will need more than a snappy title to make a sale, but it may be what you need to keep your editor reading past the first line of your query.


  1. Mike, thanks for stopping in. Nice to see you found this so long after it was posted.

  2. Very helpful in starting the creative juices, thanks!

  3. Anonymous, glad you found it helpful.

  4. that's nice for non of your help