Just in Time for the Holidays, a Great Gift for any Writer
The author of 38 books including Design to Sell and The One Minute Designer, as well as many books on desktop publishing software, Roger C. Parker also runs the Published&Profitable daily writers blog. His books have sold over 1.6 million copies. Here Parker has turned his attention to the practical need writers have to come up with titles.
His book is called, appropriately enough, #Book Title Tweet: 140 Bite-Sized Ideas for Compelling Article, Book, and Event Titles. It’s obvious from the beginning that the author has adopted the hashtag (#Book) and 140-character limit of Twitter to frame his book on titles. And it turns out to be a good decision.
Roger’s books are known for being down to earth and eminently practical. He knows how to present technical and design ideas in easy to understand ways, and that’s one of the big reasons his books have sold so well over the years.
What Writers Need
When you write you need titles: for books, articles, blog posts, even Tweets. As Brian Clark points out on Copyblogger:
On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest. This is the secret to the power of your title, and why it so highly determines the effectiveness of the entire piece.
However, many writers fail to give titles their due, or just don’t have a good way to approach writing titles.
Roger C. Parker has taken the idea of the 140-character limit that Twitter imposes on its status updates—Tweets—and used it in a unique way to give a lesson in headline writing.
Lots of Advice, Help and Examples
In 10 main sections of this small book, Parker covers the characteristics of successful titles, gives examples and provides templates to use to come up with your own titles. I particularly liked the many examples throughout the book. You never have to wonder what the author is getting at, because he shows you.
He also gives you tips on research, encourages you to survey your readers, and supplies resources to explore further.
At first I thought the format—making each item like a Tweet, and putting them into ornamental boxes on the page—might be off-putting. But I soon got used to it, and admired the way the author could communicate so much information in such a small number of words. Here are some examples:
- 20: When possible, use words of equal length, e.g., ‘Words That Work.’
- 128: Ask yourself if your proposed title contains the keywords you’ve found to attract the most qualified web traffic.
- 105: ____ Steps to ____ (solve problem or achieve goal), e.g., ‘Six Steps to Free Publicity’ or ’7 Steps to a Pain-Free Life.’
Here’s a page with a couple of more examples. The idea of forcing your title into 140 characters is a simple and brilliant one. Nothing helps a writer more than concision, and Roger gives a master class in concise writing in this book:
A Great Way to Learn Titles and Headlines
Whether you’re an author, a blogger, an article writer or just someone who wants others to notice and read what you’re writing, this book can be a big help. Paying attention to headlines and putting in even a small amount of work on them often pays big dividends. Roger C. Parker’s #Book Title Tweet is a great resource to help you produce attention-grabbing headlines. I’m glad I have it.
Note: All Amazon links in this article are affiliate links.