Understanding the Inner Workings of a Reference Book: The Importance of Book and Chapter Titles

By Jared Peterman on Apr 22, 2019
eContent Pro
Understanding the Inner Workings of a Reference Book: The Importance of Book and Chapter Titles

Researchers compile their academic life’s work into scholarly publications, but many may not fully understand each of the components needed to create a viable reference book project. eContent Pro® presents the blog series “Understanding the Inner Workings of a Reference Book” to explain the importance of each part of a reference book and some tips on how to effectively secure them. The blog series will include pieces on Titles, Front Matter, Keywords, Abstracts, Citations, Figures, Indices, and Back Cover Text. To discover the importance of title selection on both the book and chapter level, read the following article.

Staring at a blank page or screen can be intimidating. So, what do most authors do to make themselves feel accomplished? Jot down a general title of course. Whether an author is writing a full book or a single chapter, titles are extremely important in the publishing world. Titles are the first thing the reader sees, and they give a first impression of what the book or chapter will be about. A title is the essential message of the book and can be the difference in whether a book or chapter piques interest and is read or sits and collects dust on the bookshelf.

How can authors create a concise and engaging book or chapter title that will attract readers and ensure that the content coverage is accurately represented? Here’s how:

Concise Titles

When creating a title, authors must ensure that it is short and concise. A perfect title grabs the prospective reader’s attention in only a matter of seconds and makes them want to learn more about the book or chapter. Authors will want to have a scholarly tone in their title to ensure the reputation of their research is respected. In the academic publishing world, a strong title is about 10-15 words and should represent the whole research work.

Include Keywords

This isn’t the 1960s. Many audiences will consume academic research online, which is why including keywords in a title is maybe the most important thing an author can do. Search engines like Google hunt for keywords and provide the best results for them. If an author uses keywords that are relevant to their research and often searched, they can help their work be easily found. Popular indexing databases like Scopus® also use keywords for researchers to conveniently find relevant research. An author will not want to clutter the title with a bunch of keywords though as a strong title includes 2-3 main keywords from the research.

Accurately Describe the Research

Creating click-bait or catchy titles that gain attention can be easy for authors to do, but it’s vital to an author’s reputation to never do this. When creating a title for academic research, the author must accurately describe their research in the title. This will showcase to the intended audience what the book or chapter encompasses. By including an accurate description of the research, it also creates an expectation for the reader and can lead to a wider audience.

Use Subtitles

Subtitles can help authors create an effective title by avoiding redundant expressions. Subtitles are a little helping hand to authors who are struggling with perfectly crafting a concise title while still including the importance of their research. They also improve the overall flow and readability of the title. An example would be: “Effect of Steroids Use and Depression Among High School Athletes: A Randomized Trial.”

Based on these important factors, a title can make or break an author’s success with their research. A title requires a lot of information in a short amount of words to gain the audience’s attention, so authors must remember to always be concise and accurate in their descriptions of their research. eContent Pro® will continue this series on Understanding the Inner Workings of a Reference Book with a piece on front matter, specifically regarding the composition of a preface, foreword, acknowledgment, and dedication.

eContent Pro’s scientific and scholarly editing service can help authors examine the strengths and weaknesses of their book, article, or chapter as well as ensure their title is appropriate and accurate given the research focus.

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