Shortbread: How to Write Great Devotionals, Part 2--Titles
Friday—The Writer's Porch
Today I am at She Speaks!, scurrying around and loving every minute. Soon I will be evaluating speakers and teaching a class on Pathway to Publication. So let’s get started on our own pathway to devotional writing.
When editors examine a devo for possible publication they are looking for uniqueness. They want something that snags the reader right from the beginning. The best way to do this is to have a catchy title. Make it memorable. Now before I say this, please know that I love “the woman at the well.” I am the woman at the well, but don’t title your devo, “The Woman at the Well.” Why? Because it alerts the reader to what the meditation contains. If they’re not interested in the woman at the well, then you’ve lost the potential reader. You want your audience to look further than the title.
In my hand, I have a copy of The Upper Room, a daily devotional magazine. Its audience is estimated to be about 8-10 million. That’s a lot! They know what constitutes a great devotional. Here are a few of the titles that nabbed me.
Grumpy Old Men
Get Over It!
A few years ago, I wrote a devo with the title, “Peculiar Peter”; it received many responses and comments on the website. Another one titled “Woof” also intrigued readers. These types of titles spur the audience to read the entire devotional.
However, remember that the title must tie in with the body of the devotional. Don’t think up a great title and then mislead the reader by taking the shortbread in a completely different direction. A great devotional has only one direction and usually only one point, so make sure the title is memorable and ties in. Think "fishing line"—hook, line and the big catch. The title is the hook, the body of the devo is the line and the audience is the big catch.
And don't forget, at the end of this series I will have a contest for the best devo title. Put your thinking caps on and be original.