Spiderman Could Destroy Superman in a Fight

5 May

superman imageLet’s open with a question. Why would I give a post on The Writing Corp’s page a title like that? Spiderman has nothing to do with writing. Neither does Superman. How are they related?
Good question. The thing is, though, it’s not about two random superheroes, each of which either could or could not hypothetically take each other in a fight. It’s about the title itself. (And, anyways, Spiderman doesn’t really stand a chance against Superman, we all know that. What’s he going to do, shoot web at him?)
Let’s talk about titles.
Why are titles important? They’re just a way of telling stories or books apart from each other, aren’t they? Well, no. Titles are much more than that. A title is to a short story what a face is to a person. Whether you’re writing a short story, a novel, an article – even a blog post – the title is always the part people will see. Whether the title is good will determine if the title is just the first part that people will see of your work, or the only part.
I’m sure you’ve heard it said “don’t judge a book by its cover”. That saying is patently false. You should always, completely and absolutely, judge a book by its cover. The cover is what the author chooses to show you as an illustration for his book. An author makes an informed choice about his cover art and design in order to pull in potential readers. The cover is there so that you can judge the book. And the same rule holds true for titles.
So when you write something, whatever it is, make sure that the face of your work is the best part. Make the title engaging, informative, or even provocative. Don’t forget – people are choosing whether to read your writing based on those few words which you choose for your title. So make it good. Steal the stage. Provoke. Dare. Intrigue. Inspire.
And absolutely never, ever, forget, that Superman would beat Spiderman any day of the week.
To read more words by Nesher Ehrman, pay a visit to his appropriately titled website at nesherehrman.wordpress.com/


6 Responses to “Spiderman Could Destroy Superman in a Fight”

  1. Darcy May 5, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

    I totally fell for this, I was expecting some debate over superheroes, titles are indeed important.
    Thanks for this post.

    P.S; Superman would definitely beat Spiderman.

  2. Sahm King May 5, 2013 at 1:32 pm #

    Reblogged this on The Arkside of Thought and commented:
    Well made points.

  3. Sahm King May 5, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

    Very well played, and point taken. The title you chose for this post was, indeed, provocative. I was ready to argue about why Superman would crush Spiderman unless Spiderman happened to acquire Kryptonite laced webbing.

    That makes sense, and this is a perspective changing post, one which has added to my particular views on “judgment”. That is, what you say, that one should judge a book by its cover. Very informative. Thank you for this post!

  4. MishaBurnett May 5, 2013 at 7:38 am #

    Peter Parker is a photographer, while Clark Kent is a journalist, and we all know that a picture is worth a thousand words. So Spiderman could actually beat Superman.

    But to address your main point, yes titles and covers are important, they are the part of the book that makes a first impression on the reader, the rest of the book is actually judged by how well it delivers on the promise made by the front cover.

    Recently I was asked to critique a self-published book and I told the author that his cover was so bad that I wouldn’t buy the book. He got offended that I didn’t look past the cover to read what was inside, and I replied that he asked for a critique of the book as a whole, and the cover is an integral part of the book.

    • hilarycustancegreen May 10, 2013 at 4:49 pm #

      While it is true that a self-published author chooses their own cover, this is clearly not true for mainstream-published authors. In today’s Guardian there is an article about women writers complaining about the soppy covers publishers insist on giving their books. There are some great pictures of re-imagined covers for well known male-authored books.

    • MishaBurnett May 10, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

      I read that article, actually, and I think it made some good points. Having been married to a musician, I can say that male and female musicians are definitely treated differently by booking agents and venues.

      Another reason to self-publish, in my opinion. I doubt that a traditional publisher would have permitted the cover I chose for Catskinner’s Book–they probably would have wanted to go with an action shot. The cover I chose is a black and white photograph of my hands holding a flower, because it means something to me, and it has gotten a lot of praise from readers.

      Also, the book that I was referring to was self-published, the author had made his own cover and defended it by saying that he couldn’t afford better.

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