Titles Create Curiosity
The three legs of the tripod that will give your novel, novella, or story collection a fighting chance to connect with readers are:
Title — Presents the way that your story meets your reader’s need in just a handful of words
Cover — Shows your reader some element of what he needs in graphical form
Copy — Drags your reader directly into your story and makes him have to find out what happens next
In general, a random reader searching a bookstore or website will find your fiction in the following matter.
1. See the cover, and have a moment of connection
2. Read the title, and experience curiosity or interest in the contents 3. Read your cover copy, and have to know what happens next
You do not build titles or cover art or story copy for your existing readers.
These folks can be a little benefit to all three, but folks who already know your name will find you by searching for your name.
You build titles and cover art and cover copy exclusively to introduce your work to people who have never heard of you, have not been recommended to you, and who would otherwise never find you.
This is an enormous, essential point.
These three elements—title, cover, and copy—are the ONLY way you will ever reach readers outside the circle of people who like your work and recommend it to others.
Readers talk about how resistant they are to work by new writers, how rarely they look outside the paths they already know and the writers they already read.
You need to build a network of people who love your work and who become book-pushers for you, telling everyone they know how wonderful your stories are.
But before you can get that network, you have to take every tiny opportunity you can to reach the people who have never heard of you. And you’re going to do it one reader at a time, and one book at a time.
A bad title will kill your story. A great title will give it wings.
Building a great title is as critical a process for your book as writing a great story—because without a great title, no one will get far enough to read the great story inside.
So this first part of the workshop deals with getting your best possible title. Let’s get started…
(continued in the class)
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