You Thought You Had 5 Seconds

When people repeat the same thing often enough it can enter the common psyche and be assumed to be true.

A good example might be an urban myth like the lemmings jumping off a cliff. It’s now equally well known (or thought as such) that this was a staged scene in a Walt Disney friendly critters-type movie. Perhaps this is just an urban myth derived from an urban myth.

It’s also become a bit of a myth that people spend 5 to 10 seconds on a web page before they decide if they like it or not.

The reality is that, in our increasingly connected world, we make our minds up about a web page in less than a second. If you are still reading this, that’s a testament to this in action. If you aren’t then this of course means I have not succeeded in my intention.

What’s worse still than my failure to get people to read this far is that before you came to this page, the title will have grabbed you or not. You may have seen a tweet or clicked a link in a newsletter.

If you did click the link and you have read this far, it’s worth pondering why and worth noting that there’s both an art and science to engaging with readers and getting their eyes to follow your copy down the page.

This is of course very important for authors seeking to entrance their readers with a page turner and, in this day and age, increasingly so for blogger and micro-bloggers.

It’s of course nothing new – consider these book titles which all became both best sellers and were subsequently made into successful films:

  • Trimalcio in West Egg
  • A Jewish Patient Begins His Analysis
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Would you have gone to see the film based on these titles or perhaps been more enamoured by their eventual titles of?

  • The Great Gatsby
  • Portnoy’s Complaint
  • Blade Runner

When I work with writers, I spend quite some time getting that perfect title which also includes some due diligence and market research. Sometimes the title is just something that gets the author going and sometimes it sees itself on the front cover of the book.

When you get it right, you’re on to a winner in many more ways than one!!

These themes and more are the subject of a new series of 1/2 day workshops I’m running with Nicky Kriel from the 1st November this year.

For more details, you now only have 1 second to decide to click this link …. or not