Today I'm going to talk about headlines. Why? Because we Indie Authors use headlines for promo Tweets, for a book's short description or just to introduce the long product description in an eye-catching manner. Most people will read a headline even if they don't read the article behind it. By writing an effective headline, you can get the click-through (i.e., to your book's sales page). Click through my jump-break to learn more now.
Tip #1 - Keep it Short
Whether you're using it for promotion on Twitter or just to title your book's description, a headline should stay under 100 characters. In fact, under 80 is better and 50 characters is idea. That's characters, not words. If you're a novelist like me, your eyes are wide at the mere thought of communicating a complete message in 80 characters or less! It's do-able. See Tip #2 for more.
Tip #2 - Keep it Readable
People cannot read headlines that make no sense. It should contain a subject (using "you" is popular) and an active verb and then have some announcement or message following the verb. The message is the "meat" of the headline, the plot point or twist you're using as a hook. I prefer to use the imperative form of a verb (e.g., Learn how... Get this... Want to know....) but write in your own style. Your headlines should be as branded as your books and your promo tweets.
Tip #3 - Edit it Carefully
Your headline should be in "Title Case." That is, using initial capital letters, NOT ALL CAPS LIKE THIS, and it should be correctly punctuated. It's not a sentence, but if you need a comma, use one. Don't put a period at the end, however. Spell-check it. Because it's short and not correctly structured grammatically, misspellings and typos will glare at the casual reader. Don't use more than one or two sentences (see Tip #1 above), and plan on readers who might skim it. Yep, even though it's 1-2 sentences, a mere 80 +/- characters, there will still be people who'll skim your headline. Make sure your message has a hook. Don't bury the lead ^)^
Tomorrow's Tuesday Tip will be an update of news from Smashwords. If you haven't been keeping up with all the news of Apple and Amazon and the digital publishing world, I'll have a roundup of the biggest and most-notable news for you tomorrow.
Next week, I'll give you some Nanowrimo tips because Nanowrimo starts in two (2) days on Thursday, November, 1st. If you weren't following my blog last year, check out my NanoTips from 2011 now, before you get started.
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