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What is the first thing you notice about anything you read? The title. That is most likely why you are reading this article now, you noticed my title. The title is easily one of the most important aspects of writing, whether it is fiction or nonfiction.

You only have one chance to make a first impression. A good title will entice the reader, play upon their curiosity and make them want to read your work. A bad title, well, you might as well not have written anything at all. The reader will pass by your work without a second look.

Take for example, Leo Tolstoy's classic novel War and Peace. What would have happened if Tolstoy gave it a different title? What if Tolstoy called it War: What Is It Good For? Do you think it would have found its way into canon of classic literature? Perhaps not.

Nowhere is the title more important than for authors who write for online markets such as Themestream.com or ezines. In these forums the audience often skims through a listing of several different articles and chooses what to read based solely on the titles and a brief summary.

Having a good title can mean the difference between having your article read, and having your article passed by. And since the more people that read your article, the more money you get, it literally pays to improve your titles.

Here are some tips on how you can improve your titles:

Make your titles powerful. They should be declarative and should make a bold statement. Implicit in the title should be the reason why your audience should read your article. Think of your article as a tangible object. What statement would you put in a newspaper if you were trying to sell this object? Your title should be formed in the same way. Cater your title to your potential audience. Who is your audience? What would they need to hear to make them want to read your writing? A bold statement or claim is a good way to get your audience's attention.

Make your title simple and clear. Titles that are too long, no matter how witty and clever, get passed over. When a reader skims through a list of titles and sees a bunch of long ones, and one shorter one, which one do you think they will read first? Laziness is human nature. We are attracted, at least initially, to the easy way, the shorter title. Shorter titles that are direct and to the point. They catch the eye and the reader.

And lastly, use tricks. Put part of your title in bold. Italicize things you want to stand out. Make your title look different than all the others. Don't be afraid of exclamation points. Whatever you can do to draw attention to your title, will make reader's take notice.

Follow these suggestions, and any others you can think of to make your titles more attractive. The better the title, the more interest you will attract and the more people who will read your writing.