I was looking at some of my older blog posts this past week, when something jumped out at me.
Nine months ago I wrote a blog titled, “Is your manuscript ready for submission?” It didn’t get much attention, as a matter of fact only 5 people viewed the blog and 2 of those liked it. Needless to say, I was pretty disappointed. It was a great blog.
Five months later I was busy and didn’t have time to research and write a quality blog. I decided to repost, “Is your manuscript ready for submission?” I made a few changes to some of the sentences, so they reflected the new time period, but other than that, the blog read word for word.
I also did one other thing; I changed the title. It was the same blog, only it’s new title was, “Edit, Edit or Edit?” The blog did exceptionally well for someone who has been blogging less than a year. It had 99 views, 50 likes and 3 or 4 reblogs.
I shared this story to make a point. Your title really does matter. It’s the first thing your reader sees or hears about your book/blog/poem. Your title creates anticipation and expectation, or perhaps disinterest like my previous one. Often your title determines whether or not someone reads your work.
A good title should have the following attributes:
- Attention grabbing
- Informative (gives idea of what book is about)
- Easy to say
- Not embarrassing or problematic for a person to say aloud to their friends.
Another thing to keep in mind, that title you started with may not be the title you end up with. Getting the title right, may be the most important book marketing decision you make. Many well known authors have had their titles changed by publishers and editors before print. Here are a few you may recognize:
F. Scott Fitzgerald/ The Great Gatsby — Trimalchio in West Egg, On the Road to West Egg, Among Ash-heaps and Millionaires, Under the Red, White, and Blue, Gold-hatted Gatsby, or The High Bouncing Lover. I think he made the right choice 🙂
George Orwell/ 1984 — The Last Man in Europe
Ayn Rand/ Atlas Shrugged –The Strike
Harper Lee/ To Kill a Mockingbird — Atticus
Jane Austin/ Pride and Prejudice — First Impressions.
Frances Hodgson Burnett/ The Secret Garden — Mistress Mary
The title matters!!! Get it right!!!
Just a side note. This blog is a repost, but I made some minor revisions and changed the title 🙂 It was originally, “The Title Of Your Book Is What?” We’ll see how this plays out 🙂