Poorly Written Headlines #3

Time for another poorly written headline! For a refresher on good headline writing, check out my tips.

Now onto the bad headline!

What this headline does right:

  • Clear and concise
  • Gives us the genre
  • Tells us the imprint that published it

What this headline does wrong:

  • Everything, including the above

This headline is quite concise, so much so that it is bland and completely uninformative. Telling us the imprint upfront might be helpful for any readers who are actually familiar with that specific imprint. Go ahead an name ten imprints off the top of your head. You’ll probably get the Big 5 and some of their subsidiaries, probably Tor if you’re into fantasy, and maybe a lesser known one for hardcore genre fans like the Black Library.

Other than that, I’m betting no one recognizes whatever imprint that is. Maybe the imprint name can hint at what genre they typically publish, but even that is hit or miss. 

We also know what genre this book falls into, but unless someone is specifically into Historical Fiction/Political novels, without knowing anything else, this headline probably isn’t attracting many eyes.

What could be done differently:

Get rid of the imprint name. Unless it’s a recognized brand, it’s not making waves among general readers. Then, give us a little flare to excite us about reading this press release–and ideally the book!

Try this:

New Historical Fiction/Political Novel Digs into the Dark Underbelly of Post-War Detroit

I have no idea if that’s what this book was about, but I’m immediately way more interested. At the very least, I’d read the blurb. Rather than saying Generic Author Releases Generic Genre Novel, we get a little insight into the What, the Where, and the When of this story.

The implied Why  then becomes: because you’re interested in these types of stories, but the rest of the press release would hopefully provide even more reasons for us to read.

Which headline are you more likely to read?

Steve D

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