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    « Your Search for Meaning in Memoir or Family History | Main | Photos for Your Memoir or Family History Book »

    Give Your Memoir a Great Title

    Bill Clinton did fine calling his memoir My Life. But since the rest of us aren’t ex-presidents we’d do well to look for a bit more interesting title for our memoirs or family history books.

    If you want to attract your target audience to read your book a more expressive title is important. Augusten Burroughs’ Running With Scissors and Dorothy Alison’s Two or Three Things I Know for Sure used interesting titles to draw readers to them.

    To create an interesting and memorable title for your memoir or family history there are several things you should consider: First some broad guidelines.

    Good titles are generally:

      • Unique

      • Concise and Clear

      • Descriptive

        Next consider how your title will pique the reader’s interest.

        • It should draw the reader’s attention. Titles like LouAnne Johnson’s Dangerous Minds or John McGaher All Will Be Well both cause the reader to ask, “Why?” and want to read them to find out. It should make the reader ask, “What is this book about?” David Sedaris’ Me Talk Pretty Some Day and Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking are good examples of tantalizing, intriguing titles.

        A good way to develop such interesting titles is to ask yourself questions:

        • Why would someone want to read my story?

        • What makes it interesting?

        • What are the key elements of the story?

        Try to answer each of your questions with a title. You will come up with a good list of ideas of possibilities.

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