Friday, May 7, 2021

Boring Headlines Kill Books! Are You A Killer?


Look at this blog post’s headline. Did it draw you in and lure you to me? Of course it does. That is why you are reading this.

But I wrestled with a few options before settling on a headline. The runner-ups included these:

* Authors Make Headlines By Writing Great Ones
* You Better Read This Post — Or Else!
* How Authors Can Write Great Headlines
* Authors: Why Do Your Headlines Bore Me?

You need to seduce others with powerful headlines— otherwise they won’t read your blog, email pitch, or social media post.

Exactly how do you plan to do this?

Tell me. Show me. I’m waiting.

Being timid, shy, or reserved won’t cut it. Being good enough is not good enough.

Headlines need to grab one’s attention. The best ones make us want to read more because they provoke or intrigue us. They say enough to keep us riveted, but not enough to tell us the whole story.

The best headlines may:

* Ask a thought-provoking question

* Declare something profound or powerful

* Say something controversial

* Inspire or motivate us

* React to things in the news

* Instill rage and hate

* Respond to a problem

* Call attention to an issue

* Bring us to fears and tears

* Make us laugh or use sarcasm

* Look to rally or unite us

* Revolve around a celebrity or known entity

* Tie into a trend

* Comment on legislation, trials, or campaign promises

* Highlight what is new, unique, first, or different

* Point out a tragedy or an injustice

* Expose a fraud, reveal a secret, or challenge a norm

* Link to a holiday/anniversary/honorary day

* Contradict popular thought or expectation

* Confront taboos, prejudices, and beliefs

* Debunk myths or false assumptions

* Spread rumors

* Address push-button areas: sex, politics, religion

* Link to kids, beauty, nature, or travel

* Focus on wealth, health, or relationships

* Zero in on life-death matters

* Stir up a competition or rivalry

* Make a bold prediction

* Reveal a shocking statistic

* Deliver powerful poll or survey results

Headlines generally can or should:

* be short
* use small words
* play on words
* explore alliteration
* violate punctuation
* play fast with spelling rules
* lean on idioms
* use abbreviations
* do not spell numbers out
* be in a pro-active tense
* experiment with rhymes
* use Ebonics, Yiddish, Spanglish, or reference other commonly used words
* serve up blue language with some letters blocked out

Headlines are basically something to bait us. They excite us. They hold promise. They are the shiny, colorful, and new toy that we desire. Craft your best headline idea. Then edit it. Or trash it for a better one. You can't be lazy about this. The headline is king.  

Just as one judges another by his or her looks, or a book by its cover, so too do people make a determination on whether to read a post, an email, or a story pitch by the headline presented. 

Why write a book of 60,000 or 80,0000 or more words and fall flat on your ass because you couldn't string together 3-10 words for a decent headline? That is like spending a million bucks for a home -- and then cheaping out on its interior decoration. Or it's like cooking a great meal but serving it on a dirty plate. Or it's like dressing up a hot body with ugly, ill-fitting clothes. Come on, what were you thinking?  

Ok, so how do you write strong headlines? 

Practice. Write out 5 10, or 30 options. See which ones resonate more. Take an idea or theme and look up stronger, more colorful words to express it. Take the words and put them together, and like a soup or puzzle. mix the ingredients or pieces around into different combinations until you find the secret recipe or solution. Don't wuss out on me. Tax your brain a little and think like a marketer. Rise to the occasion or your efforts to get people to read your media pitch, blog post, or email will just fall flat. 

Look, if you really need to make a good headline, consider killing someone, saying something racist, or posing nude. Those typically get the most attention. 


Contact Brian For Marketing Help!!

Brian Feinblum, the founder of this award-winning blog, can be reached at He is available to help authors promote their story, sell their book, and grow their brand.

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About Brian Feinblum

Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2021. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America. For more information, please consult: 

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