what do you do when you write the title of a book in an essay

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Writing A Book Title In Your Essay – The Right Way

09 Mar 2022

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📃APA Style Essay: Book Titles

✒️APA Style: The Name of The Author

📒MLA Style: Citing a Book Title

✏️Chicago Style: Book Title

📑Various Types of Titles

🖊️Underline or Italicize Book Titles

When you are writing an academic essay , the book title and author's name should be written in italics. However, if the book title is part of a larger work (such as a journal article), it should be underlined instead. So, you're wondering how to write a book title in an essay?

Writing an essay with a book title can be tricky, particularly because each style guide has its own formatting rules for including titles in the main text. Whether you are using MLA, APA, Chicago, or Harvard referencing styles, you will need to consider how to properly format the book title. For more complicated literature-based assignments, seeking assistance from an admission essay writing service may be wise, as they specialize in writing essays that incorporate academic sources.

In this article, we will explore how to write both titles in an essay properly so that you avoid any mistakes!

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Writing essays

APA Style: How to Write Book Titles in Essays

When writing an essay, you must follow the style guide provided by your professor. Some teachers may require you to use APA style and others MLA style. There are some rules on how to quote a book title in an essay. You should use italics and quotation marks when writing book titles in essays. For example: " The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II. "

When writing a book title in APA Style, you should be aware of these rules:

Write the book title in italics and place it after the author's name, which is presented in reverse order (last name first).

Use quotation marks around the headline of a chapter or article.

Capitalize proper names that are not common nouns (names of people, places, organizations), but do not capitalize words such as "and," "or," "to," or "and/or."

Do not capitalize prepositions that appear at the beginning of titles if they are followed by an article (e.g., "A," "An"), but do capitalize prepositions at the beginning of titles if they are not followed by articles ("Of").

The first word of the headline should be capitalized, as well as any other words after a colon or hyphen. For example, "The Elements of Style: Grammar for Everyone"  or "Theories of Personality: Critical Perspectives."

Capitalize proper names and words derived from them (e.g., the names of people, places, organizations), except proper nouns used generically (e.g., 'a bed').

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APA Style Essay: Writing The Name of The Author

You should always use the full name and surname of the author in your APA essay because this will give proper credit to the writer. If you do not mention the author's full name, people may not know who wrote what and will think you copied it from somewhere else. This will cause lots of problems for you and your reputation as well.

Make sure that all authors' names appear in the same format in each entry. For example, if one person's surname is Smith and another's is Jones, both have first names starting with "J." It may seem like they are being cited as different people when they're actually written differently from each other on separate pages in your paper.

To write an APA essay without any issues , there are certain rules that you need to follow while writing an author's name in APA essay:

  • Use only one author's name in your paper unless there are multiple authors
  • If there are multiple authors, then use both their last names followed by the initials of their first names
  • Only use initials of first names when there are three or more authors; otherwise, use full names with their last names
Example: Johnson, M.C., Carlson, M., Smith, J. N., & Hanover, L. E.

MLA Style Essay: Citing a Book Title

Now let's discuss how to mention a book in an essay. The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th edition, published by the Modern Language Association (2014), contains detailed rules about how to cite a book title in an essay.

The following guidelines will instruct you on how to refer to a book in an essay in MLA style :

  • List your sources at the end of your paper, before the works cited page or bibliography.
  • Use italics for titles of books, magazines, and newspapers, but not for articles within those publications, which should be placed in quotation marks.
  • Include all relevant book information under two categories: "title" and "author." In the former category, include the work's title and its subtitle if there is one; do this even if neither appears on your title page (see below). In the latter category, include only primary authors who have written or edited an entire book; if there are multiple contributors, you should cite them separately under each.

The general format for citing the title of the book in an essay is as follows:

Author's last name, first initial (Date). Title of Book with Subtitle if there is one. Publisher Name/Location of Publisher; Year Published

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Chicago style essay: writing the book title.

One of the most important things to remember when writing in Chicago style is how to write the title of a book in an essay. To write a good book title in an essay, you should follow these steps:

  • Write it at the beginning of your sentence.
  • Capitalize it just like any other noun or proper noun.
  • Put a comma after the title unless it's an introductory clause or phrase. For example: "The Firm," by John Grisham (not "by") and "The Catcher in the Rye," by J.D Salinger (not "and").
  • In addition to the book's name, punctuation marks should also be italicized.
For example: Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince: Children's Edition

Writing Various Types of Titles

Now that we covered how to write a book title and author in an essay, it's time to look at some different types of titles. When you write a book title in an essay, several things must be considered. Whether it's a book, series, chapter title, editor's name, or author's name, how you write it depends on where it appears in your paper.

Here are some key rules for writing headings for novels:

  •  Use capital letters to write the title of the novel. For example,  The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett .
  • Use italics and capital letters to write the name of the author and his/her other works mentioned in a book title—for example,  Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice (1813) .

You should use quotation marks when writing headings of short title poems, articles, and stories.

However, before deciding which format to use, it is important to understand the main idea you want to express in your essay. Additionally, you could use essay papers for sale to help you accomplish your goal of writing an essay effectively.

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Should We Underline or Italicize Book Titles?

It depends on which style guide you use. The Modern Language Association and Chicago Manual of Style both suggest using italics, while the American Psychological Association suggests using quotation marks with a few exceptions.

The way you write the title of a book in an essay is different depending on the instructions you were given. For example, if you're writing an essay in APA style, use quotation marks around the book's name. If you're writing for MLA or Chicago style , however, italicize the book's name instead. If you're writing a handwritten essay instead of using a computer, capitalize and underline the book's name.

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How to Write a Book Name in an Essay

Last Updated: January 27, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by wikiHow staff writer, Danielle Blinka, MA, MPA . Danielle Blinka is a Writer, Editor, Podcaster, Improv Performer, and Artist currently living in Houston, TX. She also has experience teaching English and writing to others. Danielle holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Master of Arts in English with a concentration in writing, and Master of Public Administration from Lamar University. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 56,802 times. Learn more...

When you’re writing an essay that includes a book title, it can be confusing to write the title correctly. However, it’s really easy once you know the rules. How you write the title will vary a little bit depending on the style your instructor assigns and if you are typing or handwriting the essay. Luckily, it's easy to follow the rules for writing a book name in an essay.

Writing Help

what do you do when you write the title of a book in an essay

Typing an Essay in MLA or Chicago Style Format

Step 1 Capitalize the first letter of all nouns, verbs, and adjectives in the book name.

  • For example, you would write To Kill a Mockingbird , The Lord of the Rings , or Wuthering Heights .

Step 2 Avoid capitalizing articles, prepositions, or coordinating conjunctions.

  • If you have the book name in front of you, you can just copy it down as it is printed.
  • Articles include a, an, and the.
  • Prepositions include at, in, on, of, about, since, from, for, until, during, over, above, under, underneath, below, beneath, near, by, next to, between, among, and opposite.
  • Coordinating conjunctions include the FANBOYS, which are for, and, not, but, or, yet, and

Step 3 Include punctuation in the italics if it’s part of the title.

  • For example, you would write the name of William Faulkner’s novel Absalom, Absalom! with both the comma and the exclamation point in italics.

Step 4 Highlight the book name.

  • If the highlight bar goes away, try again, making sure that you don’t click anywhere on the page after you highlight the book name.

Step 5 Click the italicize icon to format the title.

  • Alternatively, you can press the italicize icon before you type the title.
  • If you’re using Microsoft Word to type your essay, the italicize key may appear if you hover over the highlighted book name.

Step 6 Left click your mouse on another area of the document.

  • If the next word after your title appears italicized when you resume typing, simply highlight it and click the italicize icon to remove the formatting.

Step 7 Use quotation marks instead of italics if the book is part of an anthology.

  • For example, The Lord of the Rings trilogy is sometimes published in one volume. In this case, you could write the name of the first novel as "The Fellowship of the Ring" when citing it in an essay.

Typing an Essay in APA Format

Step 1 Capitalize the first word and all words longer than 4 letters.

  • Capitalize the first letter of the words, not the entire word.
  • If the word is a two-part hyphenated word in the title, you should capitalize both words. For example, you would write Blue River: The Trial of a Mayor-Elect .
  • If there is a dash or colon in the title, you should capitalize the word after the punctuation, regardless of how long the word is. As above, you would write Blue River: The Trial of a Mayor-Elect .

Step 2 Include any punctuation in the italics if it’s part of the book name.

  • For example, you would write Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? with the question mark italicized.

Step 3 Highlight the title.

  • If the book name is not highlighted, left click and drag your cursor again, making sure that you don’t click again anywhere on the page.

Step 4 Click the italicize icon to change the format of the title.

  • If you are using Microsoft Word, the italics icon may appear when you hover over the highlighted book title. It’s okay to click this key.

Step 5 Move your cursor off of the title.

Handwriting an Essay

Step 1 Capitalize the words according to the style format you are using.

  • For MLA and Chicago style essays, capitalize the first word of the book name and every word other than articles, prepositions, or coordinating conjunctions. For example, write The Lord of the Rings .
  • If you’re using APA style, capitalize the first word and all words longer than 4 letters. [9] X Research source This means you would write Public Policy in Local Government .

Step 2 Underline the complete title.

  • If you’re writing on lined paper, it may help to follow along the line of the paper. However, make sure your line is dark enough so that your instructor will see that you properly underlined the book name.

Step 3 Underline punctuation if it’s part of the title.

  • For example, you would write Judy Blume’s Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by underlining the punctuation marks as well as the words.
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_general_format.html
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/subject_specific_writing/writing_in_literature/writing_about_literature/formatting.html
  • ↑ https://www.grammarly.com/blog/underline-or-italicize-book-titles/
  • ↑ https://askus.library.wwu.edu/faq/116757
  • ↑ https://libguides.up.edu/apa/books_ebooks
  • ↑ https://apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines/italics-quotations/italics

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How To Write Book Titles The Proper Way: A Complete Guide For Writers

  • February 10, 2022

Book titles within essays or papers can be tricky. There are specific rules that are given for how to include a book title in a way that sets it apart from the content of your writing given by the Modern Language Association. However, as with many other things in life, there are exceptions to the rules. This article will guide you through the rules of the writing style guides so that you can include a book’s title in your paper or essay correctly.

How to write book titles:

Style guides and book titles.

When it comes to book titles within text, there are a few different style guides that have rules you can follow, depending on your writing type. The three types that you will encounter most often are; MLA style, Chicago manual of style, and APA. A writing instructor will usually tell you what style guide you are expected to use for a particular essay or paper.

MLA Style Guide

The MLA handbook states that you should always italicize book titles when styling book titles within your text. The exception to this rule are religious texts. You would not italicize the Holy Bible or the sacred books or titles of other religions. Note the following example.

Pam had stayed most of the summer indoors, re-reading her favorite book series. She was already up to  Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone , and she didn’t regret not being more active or going outside.

In the above example, the book title is italicized. Fiction titles and nonfiction titles alike must be in italics when within the text.

Series Titles in MLA

In the above example, a book from a series was used. But what if the text had not specified which book from the series Pam was reading? Would it still need to be in italics? The answer is: in this case, yes. In other cases, sometimes.

It’s really not as confusing as it seems. When you are talking about a book series but don’t want or need to include the complete series titles for the purposes of your work, you only have to put words in italics that also appear in the book titles. So, because  Harry Potter  is part of the title of all of the books in the series, you would italicize his name every time you mention the book.

However, if you were talking about Katniss Everdeen, you would not have to do this, as the book series she is featured in doesn’t use her name in the titles of  The Hunger Games  series. The same would be true of books like the Nancy Drew books.

Quotation Marks

There are instances in which titles should be placed inside of quotation marks within a paper or essay. This is done when you cite the titles of poems , a chapter title, short stories, articles, or blogs.

How To Write Book Titles

So, for example, if you were to write a paper that featured a poem from a book, you would put the book title in italics and the poems cited in quotation marks.

An example of an enduring love poem is “Annabel Lee” from  The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe. 

Chapter Title

Another time that quotation marks should be used is when using the title of a chapter. If you are citing a specific chapter of a book, you would enclose the title of the chapter in quotation marks, and the title of the book should be in italics.

The desperation and sadness of a man on death row can be seen in the “Wild Wind Blowing” chapter of Norman Mailer’s  The Executioner’s Song. 

Short Stories

Short stories are another case. Much like the title of a chapter or poem, in which the title is placed in quotation marks, while the title of the book or collection it is found in is italics. The same can be said for sections, stories, or chapters cited within a literary journal.

Stepping away from his norm of horror and gore, Stephen King writes of trust, love, and regret in his story “The Last Rung on the Ladder,” which can be found in his short story collection  Night Shift. 

Punctuation Marks

If you are citing a story or title that includes question marks, you need to make sure to italicize the question mark when citing. Keep all punctuation, such as a question mark, comma, ellipses, colon, or exclamation mark, as it is in the original individual books.

If you want a funny and irreverent read, you’ve got to try  Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea.  Chelsea Handler has done a phenomenal job of being vulgar, relatable, and explaining life from her viewpoint in this hilarious and memorable book.

The Digital Age: Are Book Titles Underlined Anymore?

MLA style used to dictate that a book title should either be in italics or underlined. However, that is no longer the case. As computers started to take over as the major tool used in writing, it became unpopular to underline book titles. Therefore, this rule was dropped from the style guides.

However, it should be mentioned that when handwriting an essay or research paper, many instructors prefer that you underline book titles, as it’s relatively difficult to handwrite italics. If you are in a writing course or a class that is heavy on handwritten work, be sure to ask your instructor or teacher which method they prefer for citing a book title.

How To Write Book Titles

How to Come Up with Book Title Ideas

Now that quotation marks, italics, and style guides have been discussed, let’s move on to how you can come up with your own book title. If you’d like a title for your book that sounds interesting and will get a reader’s attention, you may find this article helpful.

Coming up with a good title for your book is a challenging yet essential marketing decision . The right title can make your target audience choose your new book off of the shelf instead of another writer’s work. Your book cover and your book title are quite possibly the most important marketing decisions you will make.

How to Choose a Good Book Title

Certain criteria should be met if you want to have a good book title , and there are specific steps involved in getting there. You may have assumed up until now that titles of books were just spur of the moment decisions made by authors or publishers, but a lot of work goes into writing good titles.

Grab the Reader’s Attention

As a general rule, you want your reader to remember your title and to sound interesting, even without the reader having seen the cover. There are several ways to do this. You can be a little dark with your title, be controversial, provoke the reader, or even be funny.

There are many examples of such works that use memorable and attention-seeking titles. The following are some different titles that are effective and would most likely provoke a reader to grab them from a shelf for closer inspection.

  • Burn After Writing (Sharon Jones)
  • Love in the Time of Cholera (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
  • Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (Mindy Kaling)
  • Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea (Chelsea Handler)
  • The Devil Wears Prada (Lauren Weisberger)
  • Chicken Soup for the Soul (various authors)
  • God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian (Kurt Vonnegut)

Shorter Titles

If your full title for your book is long, you may end up boring a reader or creating a situation where a reader tries to remember the title of your book, but it’s too long and ends up getting it confused with another book. Although you should always do your best to make sure that there aren’t books by other authors that share a title or have a title similar to your book (more on that in a minute), you don’t want a person to get confused and get the wrong book instead.

Research Your Title Ideas

It’s a good idea to take the titles you have considered for your book and make a list. Then, do your homework. You can use tools like Google Adwords to test out your title to see if there are others like it, or you can simply use any search engine and plug your title ideas into the search bar and see what similar or exact titles of the same words pop up.

Readers are generally busy people. They don’t have the time or the energy to ensure that writers get a title right. They’ll look for the book they are interested in, and if it proves to be too difficult, or if there are other books written that have the same title, they’ll move on to something else.

A writer really has to make sure that they have a title that isn’t going to be ignored, is interesting, isn’t too long, and isn’t too similar to other works.

The same goes for titles of short works within a larger body of work. Short works, like poems or stories, need to have unique titles as well when included in a larger body of work, such as a collection. If stories are similar in nature, be sure to title them differently so that readers will be able to tell them apart, as well.

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How to Write a Book Title in an Essay (MLA, APA etc.)

Formatting your essay correctly ensures that you get full recognition for the hard work you put into it. Wondering what to do? There are two scenarios that lead you to the question of “how to write a book title in an essay”:

  • You have not been required to use a particular style guide, in which case consistency remains important.
  • You have been instructed to use a particular style guide. You now simply need to ensure that you are familiar with its rules.

Regardless of which of these scenarios holds true for you, this guide is here to help.

How to Write a Book Title in an Essay

Many style manuals call on writers use title case and italics to format a book title. Title case rules vary slightly from one style guide to the next, but generally capitalize all important words — nouns, pronouns, verbs, and adverbs. Conjunctions and prepositions are not capitalized unless they are very long (generally more than four letters) or they appear at the beginning or end of a book title.

Writers who are not required to work with a specific style manual can’t go wrong if they stick to this style. Some examples would be:

  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • The Gift of Fear and Other Survival Signals That Protect us From Violence by Gavin de Becker
  • The Cat With a Feathery Tail and Other Stories by Enid Blyton

If, on the other hand, you’re required to use a style guide, it will likely be one of these:

  • MLA, commonly used in disciplines relating to literature and social sciences.
  • APA, commonly used in psychology and other sciences.
  • Chicago, often used in the publishing industry.
  • Harvard style, commonly used in philosophy and social sciences.

These are certainly not the only “big players” in the style guide world, but they’re ones it’s good to be familiar with. There is overlap between these styles, but there are also major differences — so knowing one definitely does not mean you know the others, too.

Guidelines for Writing a Book Title in an Essay

Looking for a short and sharp answer, so you can get on with the rest of your essay? This is it.

This quick guide will help you reference the book title of your choosing in the body of your essay, but what about your Works Cited pages? Each style guide offers different rules, and we’ll use the same book as an example to illustrate the differences.

  • MLA uses the following format: Author Last Name, First Name. Title of Book . City of Publication, Publisher, Publication Year. Example: Card, Orson Scott. Ender’s Game. Tor Books, 1985. (You only have to detail the city of publication if the book was published before 1900, the publisher has offices in many localities, or the publisher is not known in the US.)
  • APA uses the following format: Author Last Name, First Name. (Year of Publication). Title of book. Example: Card, Orson Scott. (1985). Ender’s game.
  • Chicago style uses the following format: Author Last Name, First Name. Book Title: Subtitle . Place of publication: Publisher, Year. Example: Card, Orson Scott. Ender’s Game . Tor Books, 1985.
  • Harvard uses the following format: Author Last Name, First Initial. (Publication Year). Title . ed. City: Publisher. Example: Card, O. (1985). Ender’s Game. Tor Books.

If, after researching, you cannot find relevant information about publication years, publishers, or the city in which a book was published, you may omit it. For a full guide, it is always best to have a physical copy of the latest edition of the style manual you are using. You can, however, get by without this if you need to.

Should you still not know what to do, it will be helpful for you to know that you can “generate” citations for a particular style manual with the help of online tools like Cite Me . These are not always accurate, so if you decide to use one, always check the citation manually.

Why Is Proper Formatting Important?

All of the well-known style manuals ultimately serve the very same set of purposes, although they were each developed for a particular niche. The goals of these style manuals are both explicit and implicit:

  • Following a style guide ensures consistency throughout a document, in this case an essay.
  • Consistency ensures that reader’s understand precisely what the writer is talking about, without exerting any effort on figuring that out. Clarity is especially important in academic writing.
  • By using a style guide within a certain discipline, you show that you understand the rules within that discipline. This adds credibility to your voice as a writer. You have done your homework, have ideally bought the style manual, and are part of the “in group”.
  • Sticking to a certain style guide makes it easier for relevant parties to check your references, which they can then use to perform further research.

Students are increasingly asked to refer to style guides at all levels, including in high school. In this case, formatting your essay correctly, in accordance with the right style manual, serves two additional purposes:

  • You’ll lose points if you don’t do it right, offering you an additional reason to do your research.
  • Getting used to these formats prepares you for further education. If you are in high school, it prepares you for college-level writing. If you are an undergraduate student, it prepares you for academic work at the graduate and post-graduate levels.

Can you start an essay with a book title?

Yes, you can start an essay with a book title. This is a valid stylistic choice, but you will always want to consider your introduction carefully.

How do you write a book title in handwriting?

Students sometimes ask whether it is acceptable to underline book titles instead of italicizing them. This practice indeed stems from a time in which most students wrote their essays by hand. Although it has largely fallen out of practice now, you can still underline a book title if you are handwriting your essay.

How do you write a book title and chapter in an essay?

You should mention the chapter title first: “Rat” from Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Consult the relevant style manual to ensure you get the formatting right.

Can you shorten a book title in an essay?

Yes, you can. Reference the full title the first time you mention it (for example: Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things ). The next time you mention the book, you may simply refer to Furiously Happy .

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How to Write Book Titles in Your Essays

How to Write Book Titles in Your Essays

3-minute read

  • 26th May 2023

When writing an essay, you’re likely to mention other authors’ works, such as books, papers, and articles. Formatting the titles of these works usually involves using quotation marks or italics.

So how do you write a book title in an essay? Most style guides have a standard for this – be sure to check that first. If you’re unsure, though, check out our guide below.

Italics or Quotation Marks?

As a general rule, you should set titles of longer works in italics , and titles of shorter works go in quotation marks . Longer works include books, journals, TV shows, albums, plays, etc. Here’s an example of a book mention:

Shorter works include poems, articles, chapters of books, episodes of TV shows, songs, etc. If it’s a piece that’s part of a biggHow to Write Book Titles in Your Essayser work, the piece considered a short work:

Exceptions to the Rule

The rule for writing book titles in italics applies specifically to running text . If the book title is standing on its own, as in a heading, there’s no need to italicize it.

Additionally, if the book is part of a larger series and you’re mentioning both the title of the series and that of the individual book, you can consider the book a shorter work. You would set the title of the series in italics and place the book title in quotation marks:

Punctuation in Book Titles

Do you need to apply italics to the punctuation in a book title? The short answer is yes – but only if the punctuation is part of the title:

If the punctuation isn’t part of the title (i.e., the punctuation is part of the sentence containing the title), you shouldn’t include in the italics:

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Summary: Writing Book Titles in Essays

We hope you’ll now feel confident when you’re writing and formatting book titles in your essays. Generally, you should set the title in italics when it’s in running text. Remember, though, to check your style guide. While the standards we’ve covered are the most common, some style guides have different requirements.

And once you finish writing your paper, make sure you send it our way! We’ll make sure any titles are formatted correctly as well as checking your work for grammar, spelling, punctuation, referencing, and more. Submit a free sample to try our service today.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you write the title of a book in a sentence.

Set the title of the book in italics unless the book is part of a larger work (e.g., a book that’s part of a series):

When do you use quotation marks for titles?

Place titles of shorter works or pieces that are contained in a larger work in quotation marks:

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How to Write a Book Title in an Essay

what do you do when you write the title of a book in an essay

Underline? Quotation marks? Punctuation? Something else? What is the proper solution for writing the title of a book in an essay? Does it really exist? And what rule should we stick to? We’re going to answer these and many more questions in the following article. So, make yourself comfortable and keep reading!

title of the book

Proper Ways to Write Book Titles in The Essays

As time goes by the rules of writing are gradually changing. Things, which were acceptable and correct many years ago, are considered to be outdated today. The rules of writing and formatting have also changed a lot. For example, book titles. We can’t simply write a book title in our college essay if we don’t know principle rules and standards. This can be new to students, but not to their teachers, instructors, or any professional coursework writing service. So, let’s dip into the secrets and grammar rules of writing the titles of the books in your papers properly.

Professional educational associations and organizations recommend students use italics to write the titles of the books. This rule applies to magazines and newspapers as well. For example, The Sun Also Rises  by Ernest Hemingway,  One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest  by Ken Kesey,  Fahrenheit 451  by Ray Bradbury, etc.

Quotation Marks

Other style guides allow using double quotation marks for the title of the books. For example, “The House of the Seven Gables” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, “The Stranger” by Albert Camus, “The Great Gatsby” by Francis Scott Fitzgerald, etc. In this case, we do not use italics anymore. Only quotation marks.

Though there are different thoughts on how to write the title of the books properly, the main thing is to be consistent with one style throughout the whole essay. You can’t change italics in the first paragraph to double quotation marks in the second paragraph in the same essay. Just pick one of them.

book titles


Each word in the title of the book should be written with a capitalized letter, except for prepositions like at, of, in, on, etc. For example, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” by Truman Capote, “To the Lighthouse” by Virginia Woolf, “A River Runs Through It and Other Stories” by Norman Maclean, “Lord of the Flies” by William Gerald Golding, etc.

Generally, the capitalization rule is a must. But italics and double quotation marks depend on your personal or your teachers’ personal preference. However, some sources recommend using double quotation marks instead of italics if the book is a part of a larger work (story or poem collection). At the same time, they recommend using italics for independent works.

As we can see, each style guide has its own preference and advice depending on the type and style of writing. It is always better to consult with your instructor or professor to make the right decision and to get the best possible result.

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what do you do when you write the title of a book in an essay

How Do You Write the Title of a Book in MLA Style?


Have you read “ Italics and Underlining: Titles of Books ,” an article we published on TheWordCounter.com in May? 

Take a look at the previous sentence. In it, we’ve made use of the Modern Language Association’s guidelines for writing titles. Because the article is a part of a whole, meaning it’s a small part of a larger website , its title should be put in quotation marks. The larger work, the website, must be italicized. 

To take a step back, it’s important to understand that many different style guides exist, and they all give advice about how to format your writing, address grammar concerns, and provide information about the source material you use. Within the context of academic writing, often a teacher will give an assignment and specify which style guide you should use. Similarly—if you’re planning to publish your writing—journals, publishing companies, and editors may have strong preferences about formatting. At other times, you may be able to select a style guide based on your own preferences. 

For the purpose of this article, let’s assume that you’ve been assigned (or have chosen to write) a short essay in MLA format. If that’s the case, what do you need to know about writing titles?

what do you do when you write the title of a book in an essay

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Works Cited

To begin, you’ll need to include a Works Cited section for your essay, as long as you have source material that you’re planning to quote or paraphrase. Let’s begin by looking at a standard citation for a book in MLA format. 

Last Name, First Name. Title of Book . Publisher, Publication Date. 

Notice that the title of the book is italicized. 

You would also use italics for other forms of media cited in their entirety: 

  • News publications
  • Anthologies

When you write the title, remember that the rules for capitalizing can be tricky. For MLA, title case requires that you capitalize the first word of the title and any subtitles, capitalize all principal words (nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and pronouns), and capitalize all the words that contain four letters or more. If you use a hyphenated word, be sure to capitalize the second part that comes after the hyphen. When the title has a subtitle, be sure to include a colon and a space between the main title and the subtitle. 

To review, here are a few fictional titles, along with the proper title case for MLA style:

  • New York in the Spring: A Guide to Snacking
  • Hot-Headedness and Anger From a Toddler’s Perspective
  • The Unofficial Grammar Bible

what do you do when you write the title of a book in an essay

In-Text Citations

For an in-text citation, you would simply follow your quotation or paraphrase with a parenthetical notation. Provide the reader with the author’s last name and the page number. This way, if the reader wants to review the source material that you used, he or she can find the book in the Works Cited section of your essay, and then look at the referenced page directly. 

When you use a parenthetical citation in this manner, you do not necessarily need to write the title of the book in your prose. That said, it is common to include the title of the book in your research paper or essay, especially the first time you refer to the book, in order to provide additional context for the quotation or paraphrase. If you include the author’s name in your prose, there is no need to repeat it in the in-text citation. 

Here are examples of both styles of in-text citation. 

  • As Rick Hawthorne explains in Coordinating Conjunctions for Fun , “Grammar can be amazing” (75).
  • According to a prominent linguistics professor, “Grammar can be amazing” (Hawthorne 75). 

In the examples above, you can see that including the title of the book may add context, but it is not necessary when you provide the in-text citation. If you choose to include the title, you should use the same title case and formatting that you use in the Works Cited section of your paper. 

What Titles Need Quotation Marks?

As a general rule, the titles that require quotation marks involve a partial work. For example, a chapter in a book only makes up part of a larger work. 

Based on the MLA handbook, we’ve created a list of media that fits into the “part of a whole” classification. Next to those titles, we’ve listed examples of the complete works, written in all capital letters. 

  • Book chapters | BOOK TITLE
  • Web pages | WEBSITE NAME
  • News, magazine, and journal articles | NEWSPAPER, MAGAZINE, or JOURNAL TITLE
  • TV episodes | TV SHOW TITLE
  • Songs | ALBUM TITLE
  • Short stories | ANTHOLOGY TITLE
  • Online videos | WEBSITE NAME

Of the items in the list above, the first set of titles should be written within a pair of quotation marks. The capitalized set of titles should be written with italics. 

Special Circumstances

There are a few situations that necessitate special rules. 

  • When a work has no author, the title should be used in the place of the author’s last name for the in-text citation. Do not include subtitles in the in-text citation. If the full title is long, you may abbreviate it by dropping articles and prepositions, but you must maintain the first word as it’s alphabetized in your Works Cited. 
  • When you quote or paraphrase from a chapter in an anthology or reference book, be sure to include the chapter title in your Works Cited list, between the author’s name and the name of the full work. 
  • Add the English translation of a foreign-language title in brackets in your Works Cited, and add it in parentheses in your prose.
  •  Although the following words and phrases describe parts of a work, they should not be confused with unique titles: preface, introduction, works cited, appendix, scene, stanza, chapter, bibliography, act, index. Since they are not titles, section names do not need to be put in quotations. 
  • Musical compositions, laws, and religious scripture do not receive the same treatment as other titles. When in doubt, refer to the Modern Language Association for special exceptions. 
  • When you come across a title within a title, use quotation marks or italics as normal. Quotes within quotes employ single quotes, and italics within italics revert back to non-italicized text. For example, if you have the title of a poem that appears within the title of a chapter, you would use single quotation marks within double quotation marks: “Understanding Whitman’s ‘Song of Myself'”. 
  • For a title that ends in a question mark, there’s no need to add a colon before the subtitle. 
  • According to the 8th edition of the MLA guidelines, you no longer need to include the city of publication for books published after 1900. For an older book, your citation should include that information.
  • https://irsc.libguides.com/mla/intextexamples#
  • https://www.scribbr.com/mla/titles/
  • https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_general_format.html
  • https://www.mla.org/MLA-Style
  • ​ https://libguides.css.edu/c.php?g=41682&p=265033


Kari Lisa Johnson

I’m an award-winning playwright with a penchant for wordplay. After earning a perfect score on the Writing SAT, I worked my way through Brown University by moonlighting as a Kaplan Test Prep tutor. I received a BA with honors in Literary Arts (Playwriting)—which gave me the opportunity to study under Pulitzer Prize-winner Paula Vogel. In my previous roles as new media producer with Rosetta Stone, director of marketing for global ventures with The Juilliard School, and vice president of digital strategy with Up & Coming Media, I helped develop the voice for international brands. From my home office in Maui, Hawaii, I currently work on freelance and ghostwriting projects.

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Essay Writing Guide

How To Title An Essay

Nova A.

How to Title an Essay - A Step-by-Step Guide

10 min read

Published on: Nov 19, 2017

Last updated on: Oct 24, 2023

how to title an essay

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A title is the first thing that your readers will interact with. So, it should be something interesting and worth paying attention to.  

Coming up with an interesting title while writing an essay can be the most difficult and sometimes frustrating task. The best essay titles are those that are both creative and informative.

If you have no idea what are the most eye-catching ideas for an essay, this article will help you. Here, we will discuss the key elements for titling your essay and some example essay titles for your help.  

So, let’s start with the blog!

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Why is it Important to Have a Good Essay Title?

A great essay title is very important, and it can make or break the overall quality of your essay. 

The reason is pretty simple: the title you choose for your essay is the first thing that will decide if your readers will continue reading your paper or not. 

That’s why the choice of words and how you create a title is very important. If you are thinking the content of your essay is what matters, then you are wrong. To get a good grade and impress your teacher, every part of the paper plays an important role. 

Creating a title that convinces people to read your essay also allows you to showcase your knowledge and writing skills. 

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What are the Basic Components of an Essay Title?

There are different types of essays , and each essay has a specific structure that can be followed for writing a well-written paper. Creating an essay title has it is own method, too. 

Below, you can find the main components of an essay title. 

  • The Catchy Hook: It introduces the topic in the most interesting and creative way. 
  • Topic Keywords: It is the ‘what’ question of your essay. This component of an essay title identifies the concept that you will discuss in your essay. 
  • Focus Keywords: It is the ‘when’ and ‘where’ question of your essay. It provides more information about the headline and makes it more professional. 

How To Make A Good Title For An Essay?

There are a few principles that you should keep in mind when titling an essay.  

Write Essay First, Title in the Last

One effective approach is to complete your entire essay first and then tackle the title last. This method allows you to gain a comprehensive understanding of what would resonate with your readers.

Utilize Your Thesis

Your thesis statement , typically found in your essay's introductory paragraph, can be a goldmine for title inspiration. Reworking it can lead to a compelling and relevant essay title.

Take into Account the Tone of Your Paper

Consider the tone of your essay, as it significantly influences the title's choice. For serious topics, maintain a serious and appropriate tone in your title.

Use Relevant Keywords

Incorporate two to three relevant keywords within your title. These keywords should reflect the core themes of your essay and help potential readers find your work.

Get Help from Online Tools

Exploring online title generator tools can provide valuable insights into crafting an effective essay title. These tools can spark creativity and suggest suitable phrases that resonate with your essay's content.

Essay Titles in Different Formats

When titling an essay in different formats, it's important to follow the specific guidelines and formatting requirements of the style guide you are using. Below, you can find the basic guidelines for titling an essay for different formats:

Essay Title APA Format

Let's see what an APA title should include: 

  • The title should be centered but not in bold or italics.
  • Use title case for the title.
  • Capitalize the first word of the title and any subtitles, as well as any major words within the title (e.g., The Psychology of Motivation: Understanding Human Behavior).
  • Use a 12-point Times New Roman or Arial font.

The Impact of Climate Change on Global Biodiversity

Essay Title MLA Format

Here is what an MLA paper title should include: 

  • Title should be centered.
  • Use title case, which means capitalizing the first and last words of the title and all major words in between (e.g., The Art of Writing: Crafting Engaging Essays).
  • Do not underline, italicize, or use quotation marks for the title.
  • It's common to use a 12-point Times New Roman font.

Exploring the Themes in Shakespeare's Sonnets: Love, Time, and Beauty

Essay Title Chicago Format

Chicago style offers two options for formatting titles: headline-style and sentence-style.

  • Headline style: The title is in the title case and is centered. Major words are capitalized.

Example: The Decline of the Roman Empire: A Historical Analysis

  • Sentence style: The title is in sentence case (only the first word and proper nouns are capitalized). It is also centered. Use a 12-point Times New Roman or similar font.

Example: The decline of the Roman Empire: a historical analysis

MLA Format for a Book or Film Title Within the Essay

So, how to write a book title in an essay? If your essay discusses a book or film title, you would follow MLA formatting for titles within the essay. Enclose the title in double quotation marks.

Example: "The Catcher in the Rye": A Study of Adolescent Alienation

AMA Format (American Medical Association)

  • The title should be centered.
  • Use title case, with the first letter of major words capitalized (e.g., The Role of Genetics in Disease Prevention).
  • Do not use bold, italics, or quotation marks.
  • Use a 12-point Times New Roman font.

Example: The Impact of Nutrition on Cardiovascular Health

What are the Characteristics of a Good Essay Title?

A good essay title serves as a preview of the essay's content and should be engaging and informative. Here are the characteristics of a good essay title:

  • Clarity: The title should clearly convey the topic or subject matter of the essay. It should give the reader a sense of what to expect when they read the essay.
  • Relevance: The title should be directly relevant to the content of the essay. It should not mislead the reader by promising something that the essay does not deliver.
  • Conciseness: A good title is concise and to the point. It should be relatively short and avoid unnecessary words or phrases. Brevity is key.
  • Engagement: An effective title should be attention-grabbing and stimulate readers' interest. It should make them want to read the essay. This can be achieved through the use of intriguing language, a question, or a thought-provoking statement.
  • Originality: Aim for a title that is unique and original. Avoid clichés or overly generic titles that don't distinguish your essay from others on the same topic.
  • Balance: A good title strikes a balance between being descriptive and not giving away the entire essay. It should provide a sense of the topic without revealing all the details.
  • Appropriateness: Consider the context in which the essay will be read. The title should be appropriate for the intended audience and purpose of the essay.
  • Grammar and Style: The title should adhere to the rules of grammar and style for the chosen writing format (e.g., title case, sentence case) and should not contain errors.
  • Keywords: If relevant, include keywords or terms that are important to the subject matter. This can help with searchability and SEO if the essay is published online.
  • Readability: Ensure that the title is easy to read and understand. Avoid overly complex or jargon-filled titles unless the audience is well-versed in the subject matter.
  • Tone: The tone of the title should match the tone of the essay. For example, if the essay is serious and academic, the title should reflect that tone.
  • Memorability: A memorable title is more likely to stick in the reader's mind. If it's clever, thought-provoking, or evocative, it can make a lasting impression.

Additional Rules To Create a Good Essay Title

Here are additional rules and tips for creating a good title, summarized and rewritten in simpler language:

  • Title Each Section: Give every part of your writing a clear title. This helps organize your text and make it more understandable.
  • Reflect the Theme: Make sure your title reflects the main idea of your essay. It should give readers a good idea of what your essay is about.
  • Use Title Case: Capitalize the first letter of every word in your title, except for small words like pronouns (e.g., "it," "they"), articles (e.g., "a," "an," "the"), prepositions (e.g., "in," "on," "at"), and conjunctions (e.g., "and," "but"). These small words are not capitalized unless they are the first word in the title.
  • Avoid Underlining: Don't underline your title. Bold text is usually sufficient to emphasize the title. Some experts suggest that if you really want to underline it, don't bold it at the same time to avoid overemphasis.
  • Review and Edit: Always review the final version of your title. Check for grammar, structure, spelling, and overall quality. Re-read it to make sure it effectively represents your essay's topic and captures your reader's attention.
  • Using a Colon: If you decide to use a colon in your title, remember to follow the rules. A colon is used to separate two interesting parts of the title.
  • Simplify and Keep It Short: Rewrite your title in simple words and try to keep it short. Concise titles are often more effective.

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Some Interesting Example Essay Titles

If you are struggling to come up with a good essay title, refer to the following section. Here, you will find some interesting title examples for different kinds of essays. 

How to Title an Essay About Yourself - Examples

  • Things that make you happy
  • The significance of personal growth 
  • Your definition of feminism 
  • Why is volunteering important?
  • The importance of a healthy lifestyle 
  • Your favorite memory 
  • Your proudest moment 
  • Your secret talent 
  • A place you’d want to go
  • Your most unfortunate day 

How to Title an Essay for College - Examples

  • Poop, animals, and the environment
  • From homeschooling to the football field
  • The civil rights movement and its effects
  • Internet Influence on Kids
  • The popularity of Sports in the United States
  • A book that sparks your love for literature 
  • The steps you took to fix an error in coding a program 
  • A serious illness you battled
  • A talent you have had since you were young 
  • A documentary that made you aware of a particular issue

Example Argumentative Essay Titles

  • Should animal testing be banned? 
  • Is healthcare a basic human right?
  • Why does homework not improve learning?
  • Should video games be considered a sport?
  • Should teachers be paid more?
  • Is standardized testing effective? 
  • Is space travel a waste of money?
  • Effects of video games on children
  • Is cloning ethical?
  • Is globalization good or bad?

How to title an essay examples - MyPerfectWords.com

Example Research Paper Titles

  • How does a search engine work? Attention deficit disorder Limitations of the media What are the gender issues in education? What are the pros and cons of school uniforms? Discrimination in education Education and funding  Disadvantages of homeschooling  How can eating disorders be treated?  Interracial marriage

Example Descriptive Essay Titles

  • The most beautiful place on earth The beauty of the starry sky A perfect companion for me The best concert I attended Why I like my smartphone An unusual room Your favorite food A favorite photograph  An accident scene  Your favorite car

Hopefully, now you understand how to title an essay in the best way possible. Refer to the above guidelines before you begin the writing process.

However, you can also get help from our essay writing service if you don’t know how to title an essay. Professional essay writers at MyPerfectWords.com can help you write a creative title or even the whole essay from scratch for you.

Feel free to contact our paper writer online anytime and get the best essay writing help.

Nova A. (Literature, Marketing)

Nova Allison is a Digital Content Strategist with over eight years of experience. Nova has also worked as a technical and scientific writer. She is majorly involved in developing and reviewing online content plans that engage and resonate with audiences. Nova has a passion for writing that engages and informs her readers.

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Frequently asked questions

How do you write a book title in mla.

In MLA style , book titles appear in italics, with all major words capitalized. If there is a subtitle, separate it from the main title with a colon and a space (even if no colon appears in the source). For example:

The format is the same in the Works Cited list and in the text itself. However, when you mention the book title in the text, you don’t have to include the subtitle.

The title of a part of a book—such as a chapter, or a short story or poem in a collection—is not italicized, but instead placed in quotation marks.

Frequently asked questions: MLA Style

In MLA style , footnotes or endnotes can be used to provide additional information that would interrupt the flow of your text.

This can be further examples or developments of ideas you only briefly discuss in the text. You can also use notes to provide additional sources or explain your citation practice.

You don’t have to use any notes at all; only use them to provide relevant information that complements your arguments or helps the reader to understand them.

No, you should use parenthetical MLA in-text citations to cite sources. Footnotes or endnotes can be used to add extra information that doesn’t fit into your main text, but they’re not needed for citations.

If you need to cite a lot of sources at the same point in the text, though, placing these citations in a note can be a good way to avoid cluttering your text.

According to MLA format guidelines, the Works Cited page(s) should look like this:

  • Running head containing your surname and the page number.
  • The title, Works Cited, centered and in plain text.
  • List of sources alphabetized by the author’s surname.
  • Left-aligned.
  • Double-spaced.
  • 1-inch margins.
  • Hanging indent applied to all entries.

The MLA Works Cited lists every source that you cited in your paper. Each entry contains the author , title , and publication details of the source.

No, in an MLA annotated bibliography , you can write short phrases instead of full sentences to keep your annotations concise. You can still choose to use full sentences instead, though.

Use full sentences in your annotations if your instructor requires you to, and always use full sentences in the main text of your paper .

If you’re working on a group project and therefore need to list multiple authors for your paper , MLA recommends against including a normal header . Instead, create a separate title page .

On the title page, list each author on a separate line, followed by the other usual information from the header: Instructor, course name and number, and submission date. Then write the title halfway down the page, centered, and start the text of the paper itself on the next page.

Usually, no title page is needed in an MLA paper . A header is generally included at the top of the first page instead. The exceptions are when:

  • Your instructor requires one, or
  • Your paper is a group project

In those cases, you should use a title page instead of a header, listing the same information but on a separate page.

When an online source (e.g. web page , blog post) doesn’t list a publication date , you should instead list an access date .

Unlike a publication date, this appears at the end of your MLA Works Cited entry, after the URL, e.g. “A Complete Guide to MLA Style.” Scribbr , www.scribbr.com/category/mla/. Accessed 28 Mar. 2021 .

For offline sources with no publication date shown, don’t use an access date—just leave out the date.

The level of detail you provide in a publication date in your Works Cited list depends on the type of source and the information available. Generally, follow the lead of the source—if it gives the full date, give the full date; if it gives just the year, so should you.

Books usually list the year, whereas web pages tend to give a full date. For journal articles , give the year, month and year, or season and year, depending on what information is available. Check our citation examples if you’re unsure about a particular source type.

In an MLA Works Cited list , the names of months with five or more letters are abbreviated to the first three letters, followed by a period. For example, abbreviate Feb., Mar., Apr., but not June, July.

In the main text, month names should never be abbreviated.

In your MLA Works Cited list , dates are always written in day-month-year order, with the month abbreviated if it’s five or more letters long, e.g. 5 Mar. 2018.

In the main text, you’re free to use either day-month-year or month-day-year order, as long as you use one or the other consistently. Don’t abbreviate months in the main text, and use numerals for dates, e.g. 5 March 2018 or March 5, 2018.

In most standard dictionaries , no author is given for either the overall dictionary or the individual entries, so no author should be listed in your MLA citations.

Instead, start your Works Cited entry and your MLA in-text citation with the title of the entry you’re citing (i.e. the word that’s being defined), in quotation marks.

If you cite a specialist dictionary that does list an author and/or overall editor, these should be listed in the same way as they would for other citations of books or book chapters .

Some source types, such as books and journal articles , may contain footnotes (or endnotes) with additional information. The following rules apply when citing information from a note in an MLA in-text citation :

  • To cite information from a single numbered note, write “n” after the page number, and then write the note number, e.g. (Smith 105n2)
  • To cite information from multiple numbered notes, write “nn” and include a range, e.g. (Smith 77nn1–2)
  • To cite information from an unnumbered note, write “un” after the page number, with a space in between, e.g. (Jones 250 un)

If you cite multiple Shakespeare plays throughout your paper, the MLA in-text citation begins with an abbreviated version of the title (as shown here ), e.g. ( Oth. 1.2.4). Each play should have its own  Works Cited entry (even if they all come from the same collection).

If you cite only one Shakespeare play in your paper, you should include a Works Cited entry for that play, and your in-text citations should start with the author’s name , e.g. (Shakespeare 1.1.4).

No, do not use page numbers in your MLA in-text citations of Shakespeare plays . Instead, specify the act, scene, and line numbers of the quoted material, separated by periods, e.g. (Shakespeare 3.2.20–25).

This makes it easier for the reader to find the relevant passage in any edition of the text.

When an article (e.g. in a newspaper ) appears on non-consecutive pages (e.g. starting on page 1 and continuing on page 6), you should use “pp.” in your Works Cited entry, since it’s on multiple pages, but MLA recommends just listing the first page followed by a plus sign, e.g. pp. 1+.

In an MLA style Works Cited entry for a newspaper , you can cite a local newspaper in the same way as you would a national one, except that you may have to add the name of the city in square brackets to clarify what newspaper you mean, e.g. The Gazette [Montreal].

Do not add the city name in brackets if it’s already part of the newspaper’s name, e.g. Dallas Observer .

MLA doesn’t require you to list an author for a TV show . If your citation doesn’t focus on a particular contributor, just start your Works Cited entry with the title of the episode or series, and use this (shortened if necessary) in your MLA in-text citation .

If you focus on a particular contributor (e.g. the writer or director, a particular actor), you can list them in the author position , along with a label identifying their role.

It’s standard to list the podcast’s host in the author position , accompanied by the label “host,” in an MLA Works Cited entry. It’s sometimes more appropriate to use the label “narrator,” when the podcast just tells a story without any guests.

If your citation of the podcast focuses more on the contribution of someone else (e.g. a guest, the producer), they can be listed in the author position instead, with an appropriate label.

MLA recommends citing the original source wherever possible, rather than the source in which it is quoted or reproduced.

If this isn’t possible, cite the secondary source and use “qtd. in” (quoted in) in your MLA in-text citation . For example: (qtd. in Smith 233)

If a source is reproduced in full within another source (e.g. an image within a PowerPoint  or a poem in an article ), give details of the original source first, then include details of the secondary source as a container. For example:

When you want to cite a PowerPoint or lecture notes from a lecture you viewed in person in MLA , check whether they can also be accessed online ; if so, this is the best version to cite, as it allows the reader to access the source.

If the material is not available online, use the details of where and when the presentation took place.

In an MLA song citation , you need to give some sort of container to indicate how you accessed the song. If this is a physical or downloaded album, the Works Cited entry should list the album name, distributor, year, and format.

However, if you listened to the song on a streaming service, you can just list the site as a container, including a URL. In this case, including the album details is optional; you may add this information if it is relevant to your discussion or if it will help the reader access the song.

When citing a song in MLA style , the author is usually the main artist or group that released the song.

However, if your discussion focuses on the contributions of a specific performer, e.g. a guitarist or singer, you may list them as author, even if they are not the main artist. If you’re discussing the lyrics or composition, you may cite the songwriter or composer rather than a performer.

When a source has no title , this part of your MLA reference is replaced with a description of the source, in plain text (no italics or quotation marks, sentence-case capitalization).

Whenever you refer to an image created by someone else in your text, you should include a citation leading the reader to the image you’re discussing.

If you include the image directly in your text as a figure , the details of the source appear in the figure’s caption. If you don’t, just include an MLA in-text citation wherever you mention the image, and an entry in the Works Cited list giving full details.

In MLA Style , you should cite a specific chapter or work within a book in two situations:

  • When each of the book’s chapters is written by a different author.
  • When the book is a collection of self-contained works (such as poems , plays , or short stories ), even if they are all written by the same author.

If you cite multiple chapters or works from the same book, include a separate Works Cited entry for each chapter.

If a source has no author, start the MLA Works Cited entry with the source title . Use a shortened version of the title in your MLA in-text citation .

If a source has no page numbers, you can use an alternative locator (e.g. a chapter number, or a timestamp for a video or audio source) to identify the relevant passage in your in-text citation. If the source has no numbered divisions, cite only the author’s name (or the title).

If you already named the author or title in your sentence, and there is no locator available, you don’t need a parenthetical citation:

  • Rajaram  argues that representations of migration are shaped by “cultural, political, and ideological interests.”
  • The homepage of The Correspondent describes it as “a movement for radically different news.”

If a source has two authors, name both authors in your MLA in-text citation and Works Cited entry. If there are three or more authors, name only the first author, followed by et al.

You must include an MLA in-text citation every time you quote or paraphrase from a source (e.g. a book , movie , website , or article ).

MLA Style  is the second most used citation style (after APA ). It is mainly used by students and researchers in humanities fields such as literature, languages, and philosophy.

If information about your source is not available, you can either leave it out of the MLA citation or replace it with something else, depending on the type of information.

  • No author : Start with the source title.
  • No title : Provide a description of the source.
  • No date : Provide an access date for online sources; omit for other sources.

A standard MLA Works Cited entry  is structured as follows:

Only include information that is available for and relevant to your source.

Yes. MLA style uses title case, which means that all principal words (nouns, pronouns , verbs, adjectives , adverbs , and some conjunctions ) are capitalized.

This applies to titles of sources as well as the title of, and subheadings in, your paper. Use MLA capitalization style even when the original source title uses different capitalization .

The title of an article is not italicized in MLA style , but placed in quotation marks. This applies to articles from journals , newspapers , websites , or any other publication. Use italics for the title of the source where the article was published. For example:

Use the same formatting in the Works Cited entry and when referring to the article in the text itself.

In MLA style citations , format a DOI as a link, including “https://doi.org/” at the start and then the unique numerical code of the article.

DOIs are used mainly when citing journal articles in MLA .

The MLA Handbook is currently in its 9th edition , published in 2021.

This quick guide to MLA style  explains the latest guidelines for citing sources and formatting papers according to MLA.

The fastest and most accurate way to create MLA citations is by using Scribbr’s MLA Citation Generator .

Search by book title, page URL, or journal DOI to automatically generate flawless citations, or cite manually using the simple citation forms.

MLA recommends using 12-point Times New Roman , since it’s easy to read and installed on every computer. Other standard fonts such as Arial or Georgia are also acceptable. If in doubt, check with your supervisor which font you should be using.

To create a correctly formatted block quote in Microsoft Word, follow these steps:

  • Hit Enter at the beginning and end of the quote.
  • Highlight the quote and select the Layout menu.
  • On the Indent tab, change the left indent to 0.5″.

Do not put quotation marks around the quote, and make sure to include an MLA in-text citation after the period at the end.

To format a block quote in MLA:

  • Introduce the quote with a colon and set it on a new line.
  • Indent the whole quote 0.5 inches from the left margin.
  • Place the MLA in-text citation after the period at the end of the block quote.

Then continue your text on a new line (not indented).

In MLA style , if you quote more than four lines from a source, use MLA block quote formatting .

If you are quoting poetry , use block quote formatting for any quote longer than three lines.

An MLA in-text citation should always include the author’s last name, either in the introductory text or in parentheses after a quote .

If line numbers or page numbers are included in the original source, add these to the citation.

If you are discussing multiple poems by the same author, make sure to also mention the title of the poem (shortened if necessary). The title goes in quotation marks .

In the list of Works Cited , start with the poet’s name and the poem’s title in quotation marks. The rest of the citation depends on where the poem was published.

If you read the poem in a book or anthology, follow the format of an MLA book chapter citation . If you accessed the poem online, follow the format of an MLA website citation .

Only use line numbers in an MLA in-text citation if the lines are numbered in the original source. If so, write “lines” in the first citation of the poem , and only the numbers in subsequent citations.

If there are no line numbers in the source, you can use page numbers instead. If the poem appears on only one page of a book (or on a website ), don’t include a number in the citation.

To quote poetry in MLA style , introduce the quote and use quotation marks as you would for any other source quotation .

If the quote includes line breaks, mark these using a forward slash with a space on either side. Use two slashes to indicate a stanza break.

If the quote is longer than three lines, set them off from the main text as an MLA block quote . Reproduce the line breaks, punctuation, and formatting of the original.

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what do you do when you write the title of a book in an essay

Best Tips on How to Title an Essay

what do you do when you write the title of a book in an essay

How to Make a Good Title for an Essay

The success of an essay heavily depends on its title. This may not come as a surprise given that the essay title is the first aspect to provide the reader with a sneak peek into the text. It piques our interest to read the paper in the first place and gives us a preview of what to expect from the author.

Our research paper writing help prepared a thorough guide on how to title an essay. Here you may find tips and tricks for developing an effective APA or MLA essay title. So, let's dive straight into the article for more exciting details!

Essay Title Format

During your essay writing process, ensure you know the stylistic requirements before beginning an essay. Knowing the format you need to employ is crucial because different style manuals may have varying requirements. Mostly, you could have used an APA or MLA essay title format. Our service, where you can buy essay online , explains these two in more detail below.

Essay Title MLA

If you're required to create an essay title MLA format, check whether your instructor wants you to make a separate cover page. If not, put a heading at the beginning of your work that includes your name, the name of your professor, the course ID, and, lastly, the date.

On the other hand, if you must present a cover page for your essay title MLA, then you need to include the following:

  • The name of the college
  • The title of your paper
  • The subtitle of your paper, if applicable
  • Your first and last name
  • Your teacher or professor's name
  • The class name or course number
  • The date the paper is due

The formatting instructions are as follows:

  • Double-spaced
  • Times New Roman font
  • Size 12 font
  • Apart from very short terms, each word's initial letter should be capitalized. The initial word, however, must always be uppercase.
  • The title page shouldn't include a header with the page numbers.

Essay Title APA

Having discussed the MLA format essay title, let's explore what the APA student title page includes:

  • The paper title
  • Author names
  • Institutional affiliation where the author carried out the study
  • Name and number of the course
  • Professor name
  • Page number

The title of an essay format instructions:

  • double-spaced
  • 1" margins
  • 12-point Times New Roman
  • According to APA, your title should be targeted and brief, without unnecessary words or abbreviations

How to Choose a Good Title for an Essay: Important Qualities

Nobody will read a dull headline. Your title should grab your audience's attention and encourage them to read the rest of the work. As it is one of the initial things readers see, having a strong attention grabber is essential when writing an essay from scratch. To fully understand how to come up with a title for essay that is strong and exciting, let's consider a few following factors:

Employ a Catchy Hook - Usually, the title of essay format follows a similar basic structure, especially if they are used for an academic article. The hook serves as a unique component that attracts the reader. It's a captivating statement informing others about the topic of the essay. You can also explore several types of sentences with examples that can help you develop the ideal hook structure.

Consider Topic Keywords - These are essential terms or expressions pertinent to your subject and help your reader understand the focus and body of your article. These focus keywords should serve as a brief, one- to two-word article summary. You can choose some terms from the research topic your instructor gave you, but after your thesis statement is formed, this is where you should hunt for ideas.

Use a Colon - A colon is frequently used in academic titles to separate concepts and sentences. The standard procedure is to place a clever remark or brief quotation before the colon. Although these beginning words offer flavor, they can be overdone. Because of this, some individuals find using the colon to be repugnant. Therefore be careful not to misuse this method.

Ask a Question - To write essay title that is strong, consider asking a question. But, use it with caution because posing a question will make your tone less formal. As long as the question is suitably phrased to meet the subject of your essay, feel free to employ it. Always check to see if the title question still applies to your points in the essay's body. The thesis statement should be appropriately reflected as well.

Find Inspirational Quotes - There is no formula for selecting essay titles from the textual content. You may get playful and choose any quotation, proverb, or catchphrase that applies to your particular publication and works as a title. You may also create a great essay title using well-known expressions or idioms. Doing so will help your readers relate to and feel more comfortable discussing your subject.

How to Title an Essay headline

Here are other rules for how to create a good title:

  • Title every section of writing: In the process of writing, create interesting subheadings to give your paragraphs an identity. Also, they make your text look ordered and clear. 
  • The title must bear the theme of the text: choose a title that summarizes the essay. 
  • Capitalize all words with certain exceptions: Capitalize the first letter of every word in the title, but do not capitalize pronouns, articles, prepositions, and conjunctions.
  • Avoid underlining the title: Since topics come in boldface, underlining it will amount to overemphasis. Some authorities say that if you must underline it, do not bolden it.
  • Review the final version of the title: Do not forget to do a quick review of the final version of the title—check for grammar, structure, spelling and so on. Re-read it to determine if the title has given justice to the essay. Confirm if the topic is catchy enough to attract your reader’s attention. 
  • When using a colon in your title, follow the rules: Since we are dealing with punctuation rules here, let us talk about the colon – when you have two eye-catching topics, separate them with a colon.

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Student’s guide on how to come up with a title for an essay.

Titling an essay can be easy, but there are a few core principles to be taken into account. The following tips will help you stay on track and avoid any common pitfalls.

Never start with a title! If you write it before the rest of the text, it will be based on it, and it should be vice versa. Writing an essay before choosing a heading will give you a clear understanding of what should make sense to the reader. Re-read the finished paper several times to decide on the title. The last thing to create is a title - such strategy will give more time to spend on crafting an essay outline, conducting research, or writing the paper itself.

How to Title an Essay, Complete Guide 2

What are you writing about? What is the style of your paper, and is it an academic essay or a free-form essay like a narrative essay? If the topic of your essay is “Do people who commit heinous crimes deserve the death penalty?” your title should not be humorous; it should be strict and to the point.

If your topic is “Why do people like watching funny cat videos?”, feel free to craft a funny title. Determine the tone of your essay and base your title on it—in consideration with the essay’s topic.

The tone can be:

  • Serious - “The implications of global warming”
  • Funny - “How cats and dogs love their masters”
  • Amiable - “Ways to fight depression”
  • Persuasive - “Why positive thinking is a must have skill for every person”
  • Informative - “Ten rules for creating a chemical at home”

The main goal of a title is to name its paper. There is no need to tell an entire story in the title, or provide any useless details. Sum up your paper in a few words! Another way to do this is to sum up your thesis statement, as it represents the main idea of your essay. Take your thesis and squeeze it into 3-4 words. Imagine that you are creating a title for your favourite newspaper or a slogan for Coca-Cola.

Don’t use fancy words! Take 2-3 main words (keywords), put them together, and stop wasting your time. Avoid jargon and abbreviations.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is something that can help any student and young writer reap benefits. While working on a title, detect the words related to the central idea of the paper. Type the words into the search field of Google and add the word “quote.” A search engine will show numerous web pages with in-text quotations that could be useful. Select the fragment you like. It is possible to learn how to make a creative title for an essay in this way.

Discover several more tips from experts:

  • Never forget the “What,” “Who,” “When,” “How,” “Why,” and “Where” questions (if you start with one of these questions, your title has a chance of getting noticed);
  • Come up with an unexpected image not related to the selected topic;
  • Sometimes, starting with a lie increases the chances of a title being able to catch an eye;
  • Review our catchy essay title examples.

Need Some Help With Your Essay's Title?

Feel free to contact EssayPro and we will provide you with a writing help at a moment’s notice. With the years of essay writing experience, titling becomes second nature, so you no longer need to worry about having a catchy headline on your paper.

Essay Title Examples: Bad vs Good

The strongest essay titles condense lengthy essays into concise statements. When wondering how to make an essay title, think carefully about your stylistic choices and essay format to produce an excellent one. Our dissertation help has provided essay title examples to let you understand the difference between good and bad ones more vividly.

bad good essay titles

Bad Essay Title Examples

As we discussed how to create an essay title and the specific elements that go into it, you should have a clear idea of how important it is to craft a strong title. In contrast, first, look at weak essay title ideas that can break your paper. This should serve as an example of why your heading should not be like this:

Ex 1: ' How Television Has Changed Our World ' - too vast and not informative

Ex 2: 'The Ara Pacis Augustae' - unclear for those who don't know Latin

Ex 3: 'The Most Poisonous Frog' - does not provide any insight

Ex 4: 'A Brief History of Subcultures and How They Manifest Themselves in a Constantly Changing Socio-Economic Environment' - too long and complicated

Ex 5: 'The Little Mermaid 29 Years Later: Selling a Harmful Sexist Message Through a Naughty Image' - inappropriate language

Good Essay Title Examples

Now that you know what a bad essay title looks like, let's explore good essay title examples as their substitutes. Examine the following essay title format styles that will give you a clear understanding.

Ex 1: ' The Electronic Babysitter: A Social History of Uses of the Television' - gives an exact description of what the essay will be about

Ex 2: ' The Modern Historical Significance of the Ara Pacis Augustae to the City of Rome' - here, the reader can understand what they will be reading about

Ex 3: ' A Deadly Beauty: The Evolution of Skin Coloration and Toxicity of the Poisonous Dart Frog' - clear, informative, and on-point.

Ex 4: 'Reconsidering Counterculture in Contemporary Society' - informative enough and brief

Ex 5: 'The Projection of Gender Stereotypes in The Little Mermaid' - employs appropriate language

Catchy Essay Title Ideas

You now understand that long, complicated headlines do not accurately convey the paper's main idea. Take ample time to consider the word choice before tilting your work. How do you create good essay titles? Think creatively and with common sense. But meanwhile, for your convenience, we compiled title ideas for essays you may use as inspiration.

Persuasive Essay Titles

  • Why Receiving College Education is Important: Examining Long-term Benefits
  • Face-to-Face Courses Cannot Be Replaced by Online Learning
  • An MBA Does Not Ensure Corporate Success.
  • Every Company Should Adopt a Green Strategy.
  • Energy Drinks Represent a Lucrative Market Segment.
  • Aircraft, Excess Weight Charges, Need to be Prohibited.
  • Patients' Life Shouldn't be Put to Death by Nurses.
  • Google Glasses May Increase the Number of Auto Accidents.
  • All of the Conventional Malls Will Soon be Replaced By Online Shopping
  • How Do Team-building Exercises Contribute to the Development of Inventions?
  • Illegal immigrants are entitled to remain in the US.

Academic Essay Titles

  • Several English Dialects: The Link Between Various Cultures
  • Instagram: A social media innovation
  • Is it possible to reverse drug-induced brain damage, and if so, how?
  • What the Future Holds for Humans in the Light of Artificial Intelligence
  • The Story of Two Nations after Decades of Conflict: North and South Korea
  • Video Games and Their Learning Context in Schools
  • Free Wi-Fi: Strategies for Enhancing the City's Economy

Strong Research Paper Titles

  • Digital World Cybersecurity
  • E-business to Provide New Paths for Booksellers
  • Outsourcing for Large Businesses
  • Preparing for College Costs for High School Students
  • What News Reporters Should Do in the Digital Age and How to Do It: Examples
  • The Transformative Power of Music: How Heavy Metal Impacted My Life

Best Essay Titles for College Students

  • The Possible Benefits and Risks of Artificial Intelligence for Humans
  • The Potential for Time Travel in Virtual Reality
  • What Role Has Mathematics Played in Human History?
  • How to Succeed in the Real Estate Industry
  • E-Commerce: An Empire of Virtual Businesses Worth Millions of Dollars
  • How to Achieve Financial Independence in the Digital Age Without Opening a Real Business

More Creative Titles for Essays

  • When getting rewarded for their grades, would kids do better left alone?
  • How Does Fake News Impact the Mainstream press?
  • Homelessness in Contemporary Society: A Dilemma
  • What News Reporters' Best Job Is in the Digital Age and How to Uphold It
  • Elon Musk: Brilliant Mind or Insane Person?
  • Positives and Negatives of Employing a Smoker
  • Do We Employ the Appropriate Student Success Metrics?

Professional Academic Help

Now that you know how to make a good title for an essay, you should also understand that you should approach the task as a process. While composing your essay title, you must condense your whole thesis and point of discussion into a single, concise, yet powerful sentence. If you have time before your deadline, give it some thought and don't hurry.

Don't forget that you can always rely on our professional academic assistance, whether you need a reflection paper , ideas for a strong essay title, or any other academic papers. Consider the following words - write my essay for me - magic keywords for delegating your most complex tasks to our skilled writers!

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Posted on Jun 27, 2018

How to Title a Book: What Do Good Book Titles Have In Common?

So you’ve (finally) finished your book, only to find one last question standing between you and the bestsellers list: how to title your book. Maybe you don’t like the working title you’ve been using these past few months. Perhaps you’ve come up with a title you love — but everyone else says that it might hurt your market potential.

So what makes for a truly good book title? Luckily, there’s a short, simple, 4-point checklist that will help you choose a book title that’s guaranteed to catch a reader’s roving eye. Only joking! Although that would be nice, wouldn’t it? While there’s no sure-fire method for formulating the perfect title, this post will give you ideas for devising a title that enhances your book and gives it the best chance of success.

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We recommend downloading this actual free book title checklist to follow along while you read this post. Otherwise, let's get started!

what do you do when you write the title of a book in an essay


Book Title Checklist

Create a title that stands out — and sells.

Why do book titles matter?

book cover design ideas - one idea

Without a book title, your book can't exist. Having a title in place before you start writing can help inform or reinforce your themes and motifs  as you plan your novel. To learn more about the planning process, go here for a  complete guide and a free book outline template. Secondly, if you don’t already think of the title of your book as a marketing decision, start now. Your book title might be the single most important marketing choice you make. The title plays a key part in creating a first impression — possibly even more so than your book cover design . Think about the last time you browsed Amazon or looked at a bestsellers list. Chances are that what caught your eye was the:

  • The book cover design, and

Now, a good title won’t magically make a book sell, but a bad one will hinder sales at best and, at worst, alienate its core readership. With that in mind, let’s start making some good decisions!

What do good titles for books have in common?

Like we said earlier, there are no hard-and-fast rules for crafting the perfect title. There are, however, some patterns and similarities between good titles that may help you choose your own.

They intrigue and entice the reader

how to title a book

Think along the lines of: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?  by Philip K. Dick.

They match the book to its genre

how to title a book

Think along the lines of: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie .

They are (normally) of a sensible length

The aim is for your readers to have some idea what’s going on, without revealing too much or having a paragraph on the front cover. Long titles can work — just think of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer — so long as people can recall just enough of it to find it on Amazon (or by asking a bookseller in a store).

how to title a book

Think along the lines of: The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson and Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov.

They help readers discover the book

how to title a book

Think along the lines of: Beekeeping for Dummies or Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker.

Things to watch out for

Whilst there aren't things you  need  to do, and so there aren't things you need to  not do when choosing a book title, there are certain things that are best given a wide berth.

Overly complex language

Even books about a specialist subject can have a simple, accessible title, like Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. Remember that a title is there to intrigue and entice — not repel and frighten off readers by making them think that your book is going to read like a thesaurus.

One-word titles

If you title your non-fiction book “Bottles,” it’s going to be very difficult to rank as the first search result: you’d be competing against people selling hot water bottles, books on the ecological impact of plastic water bottles, and research on bluebottle flies. Avoid confusion by striking the balance between cryptic titles and ones that attempt to summarize the entire book on the front cover. (The exception is flash fiction , where the brevity of one-word titles matches the brevity of the story itself.)

Potential confusion

Don’t get caught out — be careful not to choose a title that might be offensive in certain regions, or that might have an unintended double meaning. Equally, if your book title relies on a reference that is extremely local, or perhaps a little niche, it might be an idea to reconsider and aim for something more universal.

How to title a book: a couple of methods

There really are no bad ideas when you’re coming up with potential titles — just ones that are better than others. Try to write down anything that comes to mind.

Start free writing

Write absolutely anything that comes into your head: words, phrases, names, places, adjectives — the works. You’ll be surprised how much workable content comes out from such a strange exercise.

Look for formulas or set phrases

Obviously, we’re not advocating plagiarism, but try playing around with formats like:

“The _____ of _______”
“______ and the _____”

These will work for certain genres, though they are by no means the only patterns you can play around with. Have you noticed how many blockbuster thrillers these days feature the word “woman” or “ girl” somewhere in the title?

Use characters as inspiration

If your central character has a quirky name or a title (like Doctor or Detective) you can definitely incorporate this into your book title. Just look at Jane Eyre , Percy Jackson , or Harry Potter , for instance —  working with one or more or your characters’ names is a surefire way to get some title ideas down. Equally, you can add a little detail, like Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure , to add a little color to a name and make it title-worthy.

Do the same for setting

Is your book set somewhere particularly interesting or significant? Even if your title isn’t just where the action takes place (like Middlemarch by George Eliot), it’s something to have in the back of your mind. You can include other details, like The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum or Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay, to give your readers a sense of action and character, as well as setting (which tend to be linked).

Is there a particular phrase or idea you can work with?

Think Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird here — this is a central symbol and significant piece of dialogue in the novel. It’s enigmatic (what does it even mean? Is it a warning? An instruction?) and makes us really sit up when these words appear in the text itself. Try and think of your inspiration for writing your book or sum up your central theme in a few words, and see if these inspire anything.

Find inspiration from other works

You might be surprised at how many books refer to other works in their titles ( The Fault in Our Stars by John Green comes from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar , and Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men takes its inspiration from a Robert Burns poem). Going this route allows authors to use an already beautiful and poetic turn of phrase that alludes to a theme in their own book. From Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls to Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials , so many books have used this technique that might also work for you.

To subtitle, or not to subtitle?

In non-fiction publishing, there’s a trend of evocative or abstract titles, followed by a subtitle that communicates the content (and is packed with delicious keywords that the Amazon search engine can’t resist). This is also another way to get around long titles — and to add a little panache to an otherwise dry subject matter. In the United States, it’s also quite common to have “A Novel” as a subtitle (if, you know, it’s a novel). In the United Kingdom, this practice is much rarer.

Start with a generated title!

If you’ve gone through all of the above and are still wringing out your brain trying to come up with the golden formula — fear not! There are other ways to get the cogs whirring and inspiration brewing, such as title generators .

What are the rules for choosing a book title?

There are no actual rules when it comes to naming your book. Editors and agents might have their own rules of thumb. But hey, it’s your book and you can call it what you want to. That being said, each retailer has its own particular rules and standards for titles — rules you’ll need to adhere to if you intend to publish there. Let’s take a look at Amazon’s guidelines. Not permitted in Amazon book titles:

  • Unauthorized reference to other titles or authors – so don’t think you can get away with titling your book “Stephen King’s Dreams.”
  • Unauthorized reference to a trademarked term.
  • Reference to sales rank (e.g., "bestselling") – even if it is a bestselling book.
  • Reference to advertisements or promotions (e.g., "free") –  a lot of people search for ‘Free books’, which is why Amazon doesn’t want you to call it that.
  • The title field should contain only the actual title of your book as it appears on your book cover.
  • Foul, vulgar, or obscene language – as Jeff Wheeland , author of  There's More to Life than a Shitty Cubicle found out, you can't advertise your book on Amazon if you swear in the title.

Whilst Amazon doesn’t always effectively police their own rules, if you want to build a reputation as an author, you’ll naturally want to avoid underhand practices.

Test your book title

Congrats! If you’ve got this far, it’s time to test your title. Thought you were done? Oh, no. Even if you are 110% certain that you’ve hit upon the next Harry Potter title-equivalent, a little market research won’t hurt and could be the crucial difference between an okay and a bestselling title.

Target Audience Facebook: How to title a book

Here are some ways you can check if your title floats in the real world and in the heads of your audience who, after all, are the most important people in this process . It’s vital to remember that book titles are ultimately for readers.

Start local

Begin with your family and friends, but remember that if you just poll inside your immediate circle for feedback, chances are it will be biased towards the positive and not totally objective. While this may be great for the ego, at this stage in the game you need some genuinely constructive criticism. Distinguish who your target audience is (they might not be your friends), and try to get some feedback from these people.

Facebook groups

Like many things, there is a Facebook group for this exact purpose. Just searching for ‘book title review’ or ‘test book title’ will yield some preliminary results. All it takes is to put up a post asking people to choose between two or three, and some real-life (probably literary-headed) people will give their honest opinions. If you're looking for a group to help you out, why not check out The Street Team , a book marketing group moderated by Reedsy?


In a similar vein, gain the opinion of people slightly further out of your inner circle by making a survey on SurveyMonkey and share the link with as many people as you can. Obviously, this will start amongst friends and family, but if you encourage them to share it the ripple effect should kick in and you’ll be getting some valued feedback from all sorts of participants in no time. Nothing beats genuine, honest opinions, and it’s even better the wider you can cast your feedback — people are less likely to be clouded by personal bias if they don’t know you.

Not a fan of SurveyMonkey, or want to try different survey methods? Check out this list of useful SurveyMonkey alternatives .

Run an Adwords campaign

Depending on your technological capabilities (although it sounds more complex than it is in practice) you can A/B test your title, provided you have a final two, via an Adwords campaign . This way, success is measured by clicks, and you have in-depth analysis to work off. This will require a bit more work than the others, maybe involving creating ads that have people sign up to for a free sample or free chapter of your book. But, like most things that take more effort, the results will be worth it.

Unbiased surveys

We were recently introduced to Pickfu — a testing service that allows authors to ask strangers their opinion. Their tagline is ‘optimize without an audience,’ shouting loud and clear how they’re going to help you test your book title, even if you don’t have hundreds of willing participants that you know personally. Getting the opinions of strangers is just as (if not more) useful than polling those you know personally — they are sometimes going to be more like your target audience than those closest to you.

Now it’s your turn

Your book title is the foundation that your book will stand on once it’s published, and will be a key part of convincing readers (or publishers!) to take a chance on your book. Hopefully, all this will get the ball rolling on your book title, and we’d love to hear the results!  Once you've got a title you're happy with, double check you're capitalizing it properly by reading through title capitalization rules . You can't be too careful.

3 responses

Tom Chmielewski says:

27/06/2018 – 18:51

I use basically the same tactic that I used writing headlines for newspapers and magazines I've worked for. I search out a phrase that hits at some core idea in my novel. In my first novel, "Lunar Dust, Martian Sands," I took from a prayer at a Martian memorial service for a crew who died when their tug exploded, and partly quoted the prayer on the back cover. "We travel beyoond Earth on Moon dust, and build our homes from the sands of Mars." The Moon dust is the Heiium-3 found in the dust to fuel the fusion drives for the interplanatery tugs. The Martian sand is the raw materialls on the planet colonists use to build their homes and other structures. Martian Sands is also the name I'm using for the book series.

Esbe van Heerden says:

19/12/2018 – 05:13

These are amazing tips on book titling, wow! This blog in general is sooo helpful. Something I’ve seen work for nonfiction authors, in particular, is a really simple formula: 1. The defining main title 2. The informative subtitle 📚The Defining Main Title📚 Make sure your main title is short (around 5 words or less) so that it is easy to remember, and specific. It needs to be easy to say when you talk about your book, and something you wouldn’t be embarrassed saying over and over again at a formal event. It could be something to do with your brand (Start With Why—part of Simon Sinek's brand), a movement in your industry (Deep Work—a focus-based movement in the entrepreneurial industry) or something else related to your book's theme that's catchy. 📚The informative subtitle📚 Make sure the subtitle gives context—it can be longer, more SEO-friendly, and descriptive. This is especially important when your main title is catchy or based on a brand, because that means the main title isn’t necessarily a good indicator for a fresh reader as to what the book is about. So the subtitle needs to give a new reader this context. When brainstorming subtitle ideas, here are three quick tips:
 1. Don't be a stuck record player! Avoid writing a subtitle that informs the reader about something they can already glean from the main title—don’t repeat ideas from your main title.
 2. Become a keyword master. Amazon is the biggest search engine after Google and YouTube and your subtitle should include a few key keywords. In saying that, don’t overdo it—it still needs to make sense and sound genuine to potential readers.
 3. Be clear and concise. Don’t let people get bored before they even finish reading the title of your book! And once you’ve come up with a few potentials, always ask yourself: What does the title I’m considering sound like when I say it out loud to new acquaintances at a party? If you are embarrassed to say it or can’t remember it—you’re in trouble. If people get what your book will be about after hearing your title—you’re onto a winner.

ginger northcutt says:

20/02/2020 – 12:16

i have become a great fan of reedsy this year. just like this one on titling, all the articles, how-to breakdowns, the courses (& much more still to explore), they all have been super-informative & offered w/ clarity & then more resources are given. you will be seeing me hanging around reedsy's place more often, for sure!

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Ultimate Guide | How to Write A Book Title In An Essay

“ A good title is the title of a successful book”- Raymond Chandler .

A well said by Mr. Raymond Chandler, who gives importance to the title of the book. A title can play an essential part in the success of a book and essay too. Therefore, it becomes necessary to give the title carefully to the essay.

In this blog, we will give you some suggestions on how to write a book title in an essay by which you can get good marks in your academics. Even, the further you get any trouble regarding the book title, then you can take the help of our team expert.

Table of Contents

The element of essay title

  • It must be of the good hook: If you will provide a good title to your essay, it immediately draws the attention of the reader. This will help you to create the interest of the people for reading it.

For example,“ Shadow of the Titanic: The Extraordinary Stories of those who survived” this title grab the attention to the stories of people who saw a huge ship sank into the deep water of the sea. This title indicates that people have the interest to know what happens to the ship and the people who were on that ship.

  • Focus on keyword: The title should be somehow revealing the answers of the following words ‘when?’ ‘where?’ and ‘what?’. By which it will attain the information of the essay and keep it simple as “Simplicity at its best.”

Different styles and standards of writing a title:

As we have mentioned above, there are different styles in the title of books. We will give you the rules for each of the styles in detail, and you can write it down as per your reference style, which are MLA, APA, or Chicago.

How to write a book title in an essay in APA style

The rules of MLA and Chicago style differ from APA style.

How to write a book title in an essay in APA style:

  • APA title page capitalization is required for the first word and the words which have more than three letters.
  • Title capitalization is also required for hyphen words and colon words. 
  • Try to not write italics and catalogs instead of this use quotation symbol.

As per the rules of APA’s Publication Manual (2010), there are certain book titles which could be used in italics with APA citation form such as

  • Movies 
  • Television shows
  • Journal 
  • Magazines and Newspaper

How to write a book title in an essay in MLA style :

  • The complete letters of book name must be in Italics pursue by a period of its publication.
  • If the book’s name has subtitles, it must follow the title and can be split with the use of a colon.
  • If the most work is an integral part of the source that is used, then the title must be represented in Quotation symbols, and title will be pursued by the year in the end. The longer work will be shown in italics, and the comma symbol must be at the end.

How to write a book title in an essay in Chicago style:

There is a similarity in the format style of Chicago and MLA book title.

Rules are as follows:

  • Capitalization of the initial letter of all the parts of speech is required. But avoid capitalizing coordinating conjunctions, articles, or prepositions.
  • The name must be in italics, and punctuation symbols in the name of the book must be italics style.
  • An anthology or the short text of smaller work should be in quotation symbol rather than in italics style with or without MLA citation.

How to write the legible heading:

“Your words reflect your character, write accordingly.”

Making a legible title could be an exciting but still horrify task. There are some protocols to create your title innovatively. Here are few methods on for book titles generator:-

  • Title must be delivered the text’s theme: This is the most important protocol which has to be strictly followed that selects a heading which is concluding your essay. Do not misguide the essay’s reader if you want to stand in your essay writing.
  • Give headings to paragraphs: If it is possible for you to give a heading to each paragraph, so that by which the reader can identify the details of the paragraphs. 
  • Capitalize the words which are required: Whatever the rule of capitalization is mentioned above, you have to capitalize according to those rules. Do not try to underline the book title if it is not required. If underline needs by some institute, then you can do so.
  • Try examples of some international authors: Take proofreading of some great authors and check out there writing style, ideas, or methods and use them according to your preferences.
  • Review your title: Check the keyword that is bringing the message to the reader. Find out all the grammar errors, spelling errors, and other errors to avoid your silly mistakes. 

Things to avoid while writing the title of the essay:  

The protocols as mentioned above for title essay should be helpful for you, but there are certain things which have to be avoided during your writing, such as:

  • Do not write negative stuff: The negativity of your past should not be mentioned in your writing. If it taught you some lessons, then you can add them but try to avoid detailing it. Also, being a student, you are supposed not to write a negative subject which belongs to the severe issue such as murder, prostitution, so on.
  • Try to avoid asking incorrect questions: If you are not able to inquire about the correct question related to your subject, then there is a risk of selecting the incorrect topic. If you need help, then you can ask for mentors by which you can save your time too.
  • Keep the title professional: Do not mention your personal information as the reader is not fascinating about your own life. Therefore, keep it simple and straight.

Example of essay title:

As we have discussed how to write a book title in an essay, now take some examples on the title of an essay by the help of  which you can create your titles:

  • A technology’s future: Artificial Intelligence.
  • Ancient problems solved by modern technology.
  • Managing business as a business tycoon.
  • The situation of North and South Korea after a clash.
  • The stand of mathematics in the past of mankind.

Follow the tips mentioned above and protocol on how to write a book title in an essay even if you find any difficulty, then contact our expert team for help. Our team experts have tremendous writing skills, which can be helpful for you to get good marks. 

“ The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it”- Moliere.

So, just contact us and we will help you to cross the hurdle that comes while writing the book title. Our team is available to you 24*7, and it will work out according to your convinces. if you are still facing a problem so you can take help from our essay writing help experts.

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The Correct Way to Write an Article Title in a Paper

It is a cardinal rule to cite scholarly sources when writing a paper. Most professors will specify the approximate number of sources for a paper, essay, or assignment. A well-written academic paper is objective and has references or works cited page where you list the references used. However, how do you write the title of an article when writing a paper?

When you mention an online or magazine article in your essay, do not just do it as you please. There is a formula you need to follow depending on the referencing style. This post looks at how to title an article in an essay following the APA, Harvard, MLA, and Chicago.

Let’s commence.

How to Title an Article in APA

APA stands for American Psychological Association. The association published the first APA stylebook in the late 1920s. Over the years, the stylebook has been widely adopted beyond psychology. It has also been updated many times. The stylebook meticulously describes how to format every aspect of your essay.

Whenever you mention the name of a source in an APA essay, there are rules you need to follow. This is true for all sources, including articles, books, webpages, reports, chapters, etc.

The rules you need to follow depend on the type of source (standalone source or part of a greater thing). For some sources, you simply capitalize and italicize the main words; for others, you have to capitalize the main words and put them in double quotation marks.

You need to italicize and capitalize their names when you mention standalone sources. Standalone sources include a podcast, a TV series, a dissertation, a movie, and an e-book.

Examples showing how to write larger works in APA

  • Morbid: A True Crime Podcast (podcast title)
  • The Last of Us (TV series title)
  • Canadian Legal System Versus US Legal System: A Comparative Study (dissertation title)
  • The Pirates of the Caribbean (movie title)
  • For a Dollar and a Dream: State Lotteries in Modern America (e-book title)

On the other hand, when you mention sources that are part of a greater work, you need to capitalize them and put them in double quotation marks. Examples of these sources include a magazine article, a newspaper article, a blog post, and a journal article. This means mentioning any article must capitalize its title and put it in double quotations.

Examples showing how to write article titles in APA

  • “Study of Correlation between Criminality and Population” (journal article title)
  • “Effective Active Ingredients Obtained through Biotechnology” (journal article title)
  • “Doping in Cycling: Everything You Need to Know” (magazine article title)
  • “Do you know what is in Your Cosmetics?” (newspaper article title)
  • “35 Best Ways to Make Money Online in 2023” (blog post title)

Titling an article in a Harvard Style Format Paper or Essay

The Harvard referencing system was invented late in the nineteenth century by a Harvard University professor. The system has been widely adopted beyond the lecture halls of Harvard. It is popularly used to reference various works in the following fields: philosophy, behavioral sciences, and humanities.

When you name or mention an article in a Harvard essay, there are rules you must follow. There are rules you need to follow when you mention any work in a Harvard essay.

The rules you need to follow depend mainly on the size of the work. The titles of large works are formatted differently compared to the titles of small works.

Large works include books and journals. When you mention a book or journal in a Harvard essay, you must italicize the entire title and capitalize the major words.

Examples showing how to write large works in Harvard

  • The Lucifer Effect (book title)
  • Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us (book title)
  • Games People Play (book title)
  • Comparative Studies in Society and History (journal title)
  • Journal of American History (journal title)

The titles of smaller works are written differently in contrast to the title of large works. They are written by putting them inside single quotation marks.

Smaller works include journal articles, blog posts, web pages, web articles, etc. Whenever you mention these things in your essay, you must put them inside quotes.

Examples showing how to write smaller works in Harvard

  • ‘Sex, Military Brothels, and Gender Violence during the Italian Campaign in the USSR, 1941-3’ (journal article title)
  • ‘Hitler’s Worldview and the Interwar Kulturkamf’ (journal article title)
  • ’10 POC-Owned Advisory Businesses With Insanely Great Marketing’ (blog post title)
  • ‘How to Use Instagram for Your Financial Planning Business’ (blog post title)
  • ‘These 9 Decorative Accessory Trends Are About to Pop Off in Your Group Text’ (web page title)

How to Title an Article in MLA

MLA is an acronym for Modern Language Association. The association started in 1883 to promote the study of modern languages and literature. It published the first stylebook in 1953 and has made major updates to it a number of times. The MLA style is widely used in the following fields: cultural studies, comparative literature, literary criticism, foreign languages, and English studies. It is also used in humanities disciplines.

When you mention an article or any other source in MLA, there are rules you need to follow. The rules largely depend on the type of source you mention.

When you mention a large standalone work (a book, a film, a journal, a website, a magazine, or a movie), you must italicize it and then capitalize all major words. (You should capitalize articles in the middle of the title, prepositions, and coordinating conjunctions.

Examples showing how to write large works in MLA

  • Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies (book title)
  • Literary Theory: An Introduction (book title)
  • Fast Company (magazine title)
  • Library Philosophy and Practice (journal title)
  • Teens Dealing with Death; When Someone Dies: Understanding Grief (movie title)

When you mention a singular article (journal or otherwise) or any other smaller work, you must put it in double quotation marks. No italicizing as in the case of larger works. Examples of smaller works that need to be put in quotes include journal articles, web articles, news articles, book chapters, songs, short stories, TV episodes, magazine articles, and poems.

Examples showing how to write smaller works in MLA

  • “Collaborative writing among young EFL learners in a school context: product and process” (journal article title)
  • “Investigating cohort effects of early foreign language learning” (journal article title)
  • “Studying French is easy: 10 tips to learn French fast” (web article title)
  • “ChatGPT Gets Dartmouth Talking” (news article title)
  • “Do not go gentle into that good night” (poem title)

How to Title an Article in a Chicago Format Essay/Paper

Chicago format is an American English formatting style invented by the University of Chicago in 1906. It is widely used in many academic disciplines (fine arts, history, and business) and book publishing.

When writing an essay according to the Chicago stylebook, you must follow everything recommended in it. How you are supposed to write the title of a journal or a book is not the same way you are supposed to write the title of a journal article or a book chapter.

The Chicago Manual of Style requires you to italicize the title of all standalone works you mention in your essay. Standalone works that you must italicize include journals, books, plays, and so on.

Examples showing how to write the titles of standalone works in Chicago

  • Internal Journal of Art & Design Education (journal-title title)
  • Studies in Art Education (journal title)
  • Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (book title)
  • Rich Dad Poor Dad (book title)
  • Long Day’s Journey Into Night (play title)

The Chicago Manual requires you to enclose the title of short works in double quotation marks. Examples of short works that need to be enclosed include journal articles, magazine articles, news articles, book chapters, etc.

  • “Frank Gehry’s non-trivial drawings as gestures” drawdlings and kinaesthetic approach to architecture” (journal article title)
  • “The Saka ‘Animal Style’ in Context: Material, Technology, Form and Use” (journal article title)
  • “An Abandoned, Industrial Ruin Bursts With New Life in Delaware” (magazine article title)
  • “The Unfinished Business of International Business Tax Reform” (news article title)
  • “The Technologies Behind Bitcoin” (book chapter title)

On a Final Note!

You now know how to format standalone and shorter works in APA, MLA, Harvard, and Chicago. Therefore, when asked to write an essay following any of these formatting styles, you should be able to correctly mention or talk about any article or larger work in your essay.

Try our paper editing service if you need help editing your essay to conform to APA, MLA, Harvard, or Chicago standards. We offer essay editing services at affordable rates. We can edit any work to meet any academic requirements. Check out our other writing and homework help services .

Contact us today for fast and professional assistance.

what do you do when you write the title of a book in an essay

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How to Title an Essay?

Purpose and importance of essay title.

An essay title bears great importance, which is why a wrong headline choice can make or break the quality of the paper you submit. Why? The reason is simple. The title you choose has to intrigue your professor or other readers. It must make them want to start reading the whole thing to find out what you wrote and how you developed an argument. This is especially important for an argumentative essay topic . That is why the words you use are vital to the success of the entire work.

The title is, in fact, the first thing your professor, client, or other readers see and your job is to get the “This seems very interesting” reaction, rather than “Oh God, this will be boring.”

Some may assume that the text is the only thing that matters. Every part of your paper plays a huge role if you want to get positive feedback and a good grade. Choosing a title that encourages people to read your essay because they’re curious also allows you to find fertile ground to showcase your knowledge, wisdom, and writing skills simultaneously. This is particularly important for freelance writers whose success depends on the number of people who open and read their essays and articles.

What Are the Qualities of a Good Essay Title

Before you start writing a title for your essay, it is always useful to know more about the qualities that every headline should have. When you know all characteristics of good titles, you’re bound to make wise decisions and complete this part of the essay writing process successfully.

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Below we present the most important qualities for the title of your paper:

Eye-catching – think about it. Do you prefer reading content or academic papers with boring headlines, or you’re more inclined to opt for something with an interesting, eye-catching deadline? The answer is obvious

Credible – most students and freelance writers make mistakes by trying to make their titles catchy. In such a way, they stray from the truth, thus making the headline inaccurate or a complete, blatant lie. Nothing will anger your professor like a heading that doesn’t correspond to the truth

Easy to read – nobody likes complicated and tricky titles, not even your professor. Stay away from strange phrases, complex structures, and even some uncommon fonts when writing your headline

Active voice – if your heading contains verbs, always make sure they’re in active rather than passive voice. For instance, instead of “Is regression of society caused by celebrity culture”, you should write “How does celebrity culture contribute to the regression of society?”.

Brief – whenever you can, make an essay title concise. Long headlines are confusing and don’t demonstrate your skills for laconic writing

Accurate – regardless of the topic or niche and under no circumstances write an inaccurate essay title. It would help if you gave your readers a clear idea of what they will read in an essay. Never try to mislead. It can only harm the overall quality of the essay, and your professor will not appreciate it

What Are The Components of the Essay Title?

Our experts state that all types of essays have their outline formula you can use to write a high-quality paper. If you build your heading, you can create your formula too. Below are the main components of your essay’s title:

  • A catchy hook – introduces the paper in a creative way
  • Topic keywords – the “core” of your essay. This component identifies concepts you’ll be exploring
  • Focus keywords – the “where/when” of your essay. Together with topic keywords, these are vital for your headline and provide more info that makes it professional

Example: Buy Me a Date: Consumerization and Theories of Social Interaction in 21st Century Online Dating Sites

Let’s deduce:

  • Catchy hook – “buy me a date”
  • Topic keywords – “consumerism, social interaction, dating”
  • Focus keywords – “21st century”

checklist for writing a title for an essay

Stuck on How to Title an Essay?

Check out these example essay titles. Essay Topic Generator Look for topic View more

How to Create Essay Title

Now that you know the importance of essay titles and the qualities they should have, it’s time to learn how to create them. Don’t feel bad about yourself if you can’t make a good essay title on the spot. Even the most prolific writers experience writer’s block when choosing an ideal headline. The writer’s block isn’t the issue here. It matters how you overcome it and create the title. Here are a few ideas that you’ll find useful.

Write Essay First, Title Last

Creating the title and writing your essay may seem logical, but doing the opposite can be more beneficial. Most authors never start with the title. Of course, you may have some working headline in mind, allowing you to focus, develop an argument, and so on. But, writing your paper will give you a clear idea of what to use in your title. As you write and reread your essay, you’ll know what to say in the title and intrigue your reader. You’ll experience your “Aha; I’ll write this” moment.

Another benefit of creating a title is that you won’t waste too much time. It is not uncommon for students to spend hours just figuring out the proper title for their essays. That’s the time you could have spent researching, creating an outline, or writing. If you still feel confused, you can get professional   online writing help at Edusson.

Use Your Thesis

Here is yet another reason to leave the title for the end. Good titles offer your reader (or more of them) the reason for reading your paper. Therefore, the best place to find that reason is the thesis statement you’ve already written in the introduction. Try working the thesis statement, or at least a part of it, into a title.

Let’s say your thesis statement is this: “The American colonies rebelled against Great Britain because they were tired of being taxed, and they resented British military presence in their lives and homes.”

To create a title, you may use the alliteration “Tired of Taxes and Troops,” or you can opt for “Rebellion of American Colonies against British Rule: Taxes, Troops, and other factors.”

Use Popular Phrases and Clichés You Can Re-work

Popular catchphrases that apply to the essay’s topic make eye-catching titles, too, particularly when the phrase is amusing or creates an interesting pun. Besides popular phrases, you can also go for clichés and make some tweaks to re-work and adapt them to the topic of your essay and title itself. For instance: “Fit to be tried: The battle over gay marriage in the courts”.

Consider the Tone of Your Essay

Of course, the tone of your essay plays an important role in creating a perfect title. If you are writing about a serious topic, don’t be witty, silly, or off-the-wall with your headline. If your essay is a personal statement with some anecdotes, you can go for a sparkling yet intelligent title. Always make sure the tone of the title and essay match. Bear in mind that even in amusing titles, you should avoid using jargon. Don’t use abbreviations in your headlines as well.

Use Quote or Central Idea

This isn’t a general rule, but it is handy when applicable. Your title can feature a quote or a part of it taken from our similar interesting essay topics and ideas you’re writing about. If appropriate and relevant to the subject, even a part of a song lyric can serve the same purpose. You can take a fragment of a thought-provoking quote when your essay is about a book. For example: “Toil and trouble: Murder and intrigue in Macbeth”.

Sum Up Your Essay in THREE WORDS

This is a useful technique for creating essay titles. All you have to do is to sum up your entire essay or a thesis statement in three words and use them to build the headline, put a colon and then insert what your essay is all about.

what do you do when you write the title of a book in an essay

How to Punctuate an Essay Title

Many authors find it difficult to punctuate titles in essays. Properly punctuating titles may be tricky, because the standards aren’t always consistent. Here are some professional tips from our expert that used to write a college essay for students for appropriately punctuating titles using italics, capitalization, and quotation marks.

Although the criteria for proper title capitalization vary widely, here are a few guidelines. Except for articles and prepositions, capitalize the first and final word in a title and every other word in the title. Some people recommend capitalizing prepositions with five or more letters. Of course, just the initial letter is capitalized.

Use punctuation marks only when essential, not at random . Commas, colons, and semicolons are examples of punctuation marks that should be used when they are required. Quotation marks should be placed wherever one occurs in the text of an essay or on the works-cited page.

If your essay contains a subtitle, place a colon after the title and the subheading on the following line underneath it . Even if your headline and subtitle are very short, use two lines. Your work’s additional titles or headers should be bolded but not bigger than the text that follows them. Arrange them to the left and insert them either at the beginning of a section with a period or on their line without a period.

Self-sufficient works or collective essays are italicized . For example, the title of a newspaper might be placed in italics. The title of an article, a song from an album, and a TV episode would be in quotation marks.

Using italics instead of quotation marks consistently throughout your text is critical. The standards for capitalizing and punctuating titles differ in writing. Certain writing assignments need to use one writing handbook’s format over another. Therefore, it might be useful to consult your professor to choose the best guidebook to follow for academic work.

Examples of Good and Bad Titles for Essays

Unsurprisingly, the reader is drawn to an essay title immediately. Nobody loves lengthy and clumsy headlines that do not convey the paper’s main argument. Pay close attention to the word choice as you angle your work. Make use of your rational thinking and creativity. Our specialists that can gladly help you to write essays for money produced the sections below for further information.

It should be simple to read

Essay titles that are completed yet difficult to grasp will not aid you. As a result, it is better to avoid using difficult terms and ideas. Choose something that every level of the reader may read and understand.

Good: “Joseph Stalin vs. Winston Churchill”, “How to Deal with Depression”, “Pros and Cons of Freelance”.

Bad: “Employees Use Social Networking Rather Than Concentrating During Work Hours”, “When Should You Start Giving Your Baby Solid Foods”

It must be short

The title of your essay should not be overly lengthy. It should instead be succinct and straight to the point. Long essay headlines will mislead your readers and not highlight your writing abilities.

Good: “Best App for Writers”, “The Effect of Racism”.

Bad: “What Do School Shooting Survivors Do When They Return to School”

It must be captivating

If you write a good title, it might become an attention-grabbing aspect. Don’t pass up the opportunity to wow your audience right away.

Good: “Suppose This Happened on Your First School Day”, “Do You Engage in Any of These 10 Awkward Behaviors?”

Bad: “Everlasting Feelings”, “Recent Advances in Kidney Failure Treatment”

Mistakes to avoid

  • Avoid negative tone and sensitive problems
  • No dramatic and unclear titles
  • Don’t overuse fonts and punctuation
  • Be simple and avoid complicated language
  • Try to sound professional, don’t use filler words

25 Captivating Titles For An Essay

Do you want your essay to persuade your readers or professor? Start with the right words in the title. How your words sound matter more than how sensible they are. One of the greatest principles every student must adhere to is to create meaningful and persuasive papers. The first important step is choosing a catchy topic. If you feel lost, you can look up a list of argumentative topic examples from your field of study. A captivating subject can do a ton of wonderful things: increase the readers’ engagement, grab the professor’s attention, make your paper more interesting, and score higher marks.

What topic idea do you think would make someone start reading your paper immediately? Interesting, confident, creative, striking, bold are some of the words that describe the best essay titles.

Regardless of the paper, you handle, use the following steps on your way to crafting an interesting topic.

  • Find a creative hook, fact, or quote
  • Get the right words to describe your idea
  • Think about a statement that summarizes your paper

Are you stuck wondering how to title your essay? Don’t worry – we have a great selection of catchy college essay titles that will capture the reader’s attention. Our list is sure to help you make a lasting impression on your professor or any other reader. If you need further assistance, you can also take advantage of our literature review service for the best results.

Argumentative Essay Title Examples

  • Society Has The Responsibility Of Fighting Anorexia
  • Every Country Must Activate The Death Sentence
  • Is The US Education System Of Any Help To International Students?
  • The Most Corrupt Nations In The World
  • Is Politics A Practical Art Or An Inborn Talent?
  • Does Alcohol Destroy The Brain?
  • The Most Appropriate Age To Vote
  • Spanish Is Not The Easiest Language To Learn
  • Do Steroids Help Or Destroy Human Body?

Persuasive Essay Title Examples

  • Capitalism: The Perpetrator Of Social Development
  • Are Illegal Immigrants A Big Issue?
  • Alternative Medicine: Pros And Cons
  • What Role Do Guidance Counselors Play In The Mental Health Of Teenagers
  • TV As A Major Contributor To Violence In Society
  • How Would Superman Be In The Real World?
  • Horror Movies Must Be Banned For Kids’ Sake

Catchy Essay Title Examples

  • Team Games Should Be Played By Both Boys And Girls
  • Zoos Vs. Human Prisons
  • The Good Side Of  War
  • Marijuana Can Assist In Peacemaking
  • School Kids Should Stop Wearing Uniforms
  • The Use Of Filthy Language On The Internet
  • Technology Is Turning People Into Zombies
  • The Pros And Cons Of Globalization
  • Tsunami Is A Death Wave

Bottom line

The success of your essay doesn’t only depend on the argument you develop, research you do, the title matters as well. Most students struggle to find an ideal headline, but with a few easy tips and tricks from this post, you can forget about frustrations, save some time, and create a catchy and informative headline to intrigue readers. But if you have some doubts, why not try custom essay writing at Edusson and make sure you have everything in place for a successful essay?

FAQ About How to Title an Essay

Can an essay title be a question.

Yes, it can be a question. It should be related to the facts presented in the essay and should represent the thesis that the author intends to prove. But don’t overuse it. Sometimes it may add to your essay a less formal tone.

How Long Should An Essay Title Be?

Excellent research paper titles include precise terms and phrases that appropriately reflect the article’s key topic. Come up with a title for essay that is brief yet contains enough keywords. This will allow others to locate it while searching related databases. A typical rule of thumb is 5 – 10 words.

Should An Essay Title Be Italicized?

If the source is independent, italicize the title. Write the titles of books, films, websites, and magazines in italics. If the paper belongs to a larger piece of work, add the quotation marks. Writers use them for articles, websites, essays, and songs .

Related posts:

  • Effective Ways to Improve Creativity

How to Write a Synthesis Essay

  • How to Use Sentence Starters for Essays
  • How to Write a Hook for your Essay or Paper [Examples Included]

Improve your writing with our guides

Writing a Great Research Summary and where to Get Help on it

Writing a Great Research Summary and where to Get Help on it

How to Write a Synthesis Essay

How To Write A Process Essay: Essay Outline, Tips, Topics and Essay Help

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what do you do when you write the title of a book in an essay

Jane Friedman

How to Turn an Essay into a Book Deal

Image: a black and white photo of a woman walking down a massive indoor staircase on which a quote from Anish Kapoor is painted in large letters spanning many of the stair risers: "All ideas grow out of other ideas."

Today’s post is by author  Catherine Baab-Muguira .

Getting a traditional, “Big 5” book deal is almost unbelievably difficult. Many will try. Few will succeed. What’s more, talent is cheap. Hard work, persistence, unchecked ambition-slash-megalomania? They’re cheap, too.

What  can  help you land a deal is “proof of concept.” Let me explain.

In marketing, “proof of concept” refers to the process of testing a new product or strategy to assess its sales potential and viability  before  you go all-in on a full-scale launch. It usually involves conducting a limited, real-world trial, the purpose of which is to gather evidence that will allow you to make a larger, grander case. I did 12 years’ hard labor in corporate marketing. That’s how I know.

When it comes to selling your book, proof of concept means demonstrating there’s a large, enthusiastic audience out there ready and willing to shell out $18 for your masterpiece. And a great way to do this is by publishing a nutshell version of your big, central idea in essay form.

How it worked for me

In the summer of 2017, after months of pitching with no luck, I finally found a home for the essay I was  dying to write. It was about how reading the work of Edgar Allan Poe during a deep depression had effectively saved my life. Restarted my creative drive. Renewed my hope for the future.

Numerous prestigious outlets, from the  Washington Post  to  The Atlantic , had rejected or ignored the pitch, so when the literary website The Millions agreed to run it and pay me a whopping $25 for the privilege, I was thrilled. My motivation came down to personal fulfillment and sharing an interesting experience with the world, not fame or money. The token compensation mattered not at all. What I hoped for was an audience, and in that, The Millions more than delivered.  My essay  went modestly viral in a literary world kind of way, racking up likes and shares on Facebook and Twitter, and became one of the site’s most popular articles of the year.

By this point in my freelance career, I’d grown accustomed to following my own work around the internet. It fascinated me to see Redditors discussing a piece, and to track which newspapers, magazines, and other outlets shared the piece on their socials was especially gratifying. Often these same outlets had rejected the pitch.

This time out felt no different, at least not at first. I googled the title of my article and discovered what readers were saying, a process that brings both pleasure and pain. Then I noticed something I hadn’t expected: my piece was being shared in  gigantic  Poe fan groups. For instance, by the official Edgar Allan Poe Facebook fan page, which has nearly 4 million members. I’d never realized so many Poe fans existed, or for that matter, that they gathered in dedicated online spaces.

I kept digging, and what I learned lit my brain up. Not only did my fellow fans number in the millions, many shared the same view of Poe as I did: He was their hero, too. A kindred spirit struggling with mental-health issues, and an inspiration to pursue their artistic work despite knowing it would almost certainly go unpublished and unappreciated.

It would be dishonest to say that, from this point, my book proposal wrote itself. Book proposals aren’t easy to write, hahahaha dear God no. But making the case for a self-help book based on the life and work of Edgar Allan Poe became much easier once I could point to the article’s success—and even share emails from readers responding to the piece.

I hadn’t meant to “pilot” my idea, but pilot it I had.

How it can work for you

How this advice applies to nonfiction is straightforward, but it can apply to fiction, too. You could pilot your big novel idea as a short story. You could also pilot it as an essay on your main topic or theme, or the autobiographical experience which inspired you to write the book.

Whatever genre you’re working in, the process remains simple—dare I say  easy .

Step 1: Write the pitch.

Begin by crafting a compelling pitch for your essay. This pitch should be a concise and engaging description of your idea, clearly conveying the core concept that you plan to explore. (For more on freelance pitching,  see here .)

Step 2: Pitch editors at relevant outlets.

Identify and research relevant online publications, magazines, or websites that cater to your target audience. Carefully tailor your pitch to these specific outlets, highlighting why your essay aligns with their readers’ interests, and referencing articles the outlet has recently published. Keep in mind you may have to pitch lots of outlets before finding a taker. Begin with your top choices and work down from there.

Step 3: Promote the hell out of your essay.

Do not bet on organic success. Instead, once your essay is published, do every last thing you can to maximize its reach. Share it across your socials, obviously, and don’t fail to beg your friends, family, and followers to do the same. Consider tapping into your professional network, too. For example, I belong to Study Hall, an online organization for freelancers with an active listserv, and once a year, members can ask each other to “boost” a particular piece. You may also belong to organizations in which you can ask for support from like-minded individuals, too, which can go a long way toward amplifying your essay’s reach.

Step 4: Gather data by stalking your work around the internet.

Keep a close eye on the performance of your essay. Google the headline in quote marks (as in “My essay title”) and see what Redditors are saying. Keep track of views, likes, shares, and comments. If notable people, organizations, or publications share your piece, make a note. This data will help you prove your concept resonates with a large audience, perhaps even a distinguished one.

Step 5: Belabor your essay’s success in your query and proposal.

What’s the point of all this? Making a big ol’ to-do about the success of your article. In other words, don’t bury the lede. Foreground that success in your  query letter  when approaching literary agents, and foreground it in your book proposal, too. You can and  should  mention its success in your Overview essay and in your Audience section.

Step 6: Maybe do all this in video form, not essay form. I don’t know. You tell me. It’s worth a thought.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge how much the internet has changed since 2017. The heyday of the “first-person industrial complex” appears to be behind us, with short-form video most definitely emerging as the tool du jour. That doesn’t mean you can’t effectively pilot your book idea. It means you should consider piloting your idea via video, if that’s a thing you’re into and a medium you like. And, frankly, even if it’s  not  a thing you’re into and  not  a medium you like. At the very least, consider doing both—piloting via essay and via video. Leigh Stein offers some  excellent advice  on the point.

Break a leg, friends! And go get that proof of concept.

what do you do when you write the title of a book in an essay

Catherine Baab-Muguira’s debut, Poe for Your Problems: Uncommon Advice from History’s Least Likely Self-Help Guru , was published by Hachette in September 2021. She also writes a free email newsletter called Poe Can Save Your Life, packed with darkly inspiring self-help tips for writers and other creatives. Check it out here .


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed .

Amran Gowani

Great stuff, Cat! As always.


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  1. 3 Simple Ways to Write Book Titles in MLA

    what do you do when you write the title of a book in an essay

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    what do you do when you write the title of a book in an essay

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    what do you do when you write the title of a book in an essay


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  1. How to Write a Book Title in Essay [Examples]

    When you are writing an academic essay, the book title and author's name should be written in italics. However, if the book title is part of a larger work (such as a journal article), it should be underlined instead. So, you're wondering how to write a book title in an essay?

  2. 4 Ways to Write a Book Name in an Essay

    1 Capitalize the first letter of all nouns, verbs, and adjectives in the book name. Most words in the book name will be capitalized. In addition to the first word, you'll capitalize every significant word. [1] For example, you would write To Kill a Mockingbird, The Lord of the Rings, or Wuthering Heights. 2

  3. How To Write Book Titles The Proper Way: A Complete Guide For Writers

    MLA Style Guide The MLA handbook states that you should always italicize book titles when styling book titles within your text. The exception to this rule are religious texts. You would not italicize the Holy Bible or the sacred books or titles of other religions. Note the following example. Example:

  4. How to Write a Book Title in an Essay (MLA, APA etc.)

    Many style manuals call on writers use title case and italics to format a book title. Title case rules vary slightly from one style guide to the next, but generally capitalize all important words — nouns, pronouns, verbs, and adverbs.

  5. How to Write Book Titles in Your Essays

    26th May 2023 How to Write Book Titles in Your Essays When writing an essay, you're likely to mention other authors' works, such as books, papers, and articles. Formatting the titles of these works usually involves using quotation marks or italics. So how do you write a book title in an essay?

  6. How to Write a Book Title in an Essay

    Each word in the title of the book should be written with a capitalized letter, except for prepositions like at, of, in, on, etc. For example, "Breakfast at Tiffany's" by Truman Capote, "To the Lighthouse" by Virginia Woolf, "A River Runs Through It and Other Stories" by Norman Maclean, "Lord of the Flies" by William Gerald Golding, etc.

  7. MLA Titles

    Italicize the title of a self-contained whole (e.g. a book, film, journal, or website). Use quotation marks around the title if it is part of a larger work (e.g. a chapter of a book, an article in a journal, or a page on a website). All major words in a title are capitalized. The same format is used in the Works Cited list and in the text itself.

  8. Italics and Underlining: Titles of Works

    If you have two titles in one sentence (for example, a book title and a chapter title), the title of the larger work should be italicized, and the smaller work should be in quotation marks. See the example below: In Little Women, Beth March dies in Chapter 40, "The Valley of the Shadow.".

  9. How Do You Write the Title of a Book in MLA Style?

    Let's begin by looking at a standard citation for a book in MLA format. Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Publisher, Publication Date. Notice that the title of the book is italicized. You would also use italics for other forms of media cited in their entirety: Books. Websites. News publications.

  10. How To Write Titles in Essays (With Tips)

    1. Know your format When writing an essay, make sure you understand the style guidelines you need to follow.

  11. How to Title an Essay, With Tips and Examples

    In MLA format, your essay's title should be in title case. That means every principle word— words that aren't articles, prepositions, coordinating conjunctions, or the word "to" paired with an infinitive—is capitalized. The only exception to this is when one of these words is the first or last word in the essay's title. Here's a quick example:

  12. Forging good titles in academic writing

    Writing effective headings. Although similar, headings are not the same as titles. Headings head paragraphs and help structure a document. Effective headings make your paper easily scannable. Common high level headings in dissertations and research papers are "Methods", "Research results", and "Discussion". Lower level headings are ...

  13. How to Title an Essay: Examples and Tips

    Creating an essay title has it is own method, too. Below, you can find the main components of an essay title. The Catchy Hook: It introduces the topic in the most interesting and creative way. Topic Keywords: It is the 'what' question of your essay. This component of an essay title identifies the concept that you will discuss in your essay.

  14. How do you write a book title in MLA?

    In MLA style, book titles appear in italics, with all major words capitalized. If there is a subtitle, separate it from the main title with a colon and a space (even if no colon appears in the source). For example: The format is the same in the Works Cited list and in the text itself. However, when you mention the book title in the text, you ...

  15. How to Title an Essay: Tips and Examples

    General Guides Best Tips on How to Title an Essay Written by John S. February 27, 2023 12 min read How to Make a Good Title for an Essay The success of an essay heavily depends on its title. This may not come as a surprise given that the essay title is the first aspect to provide the reader with a sneak peek into the text.

  16. How to Title a Book in 4 Simple Steps (With Free Checklist!)

    Create a title that stands out — and sells. Why do book titles matter? Without a book title, your book can't exist. Having a title in place before you start writing can help inform or reinforce your themes and motifs as you plan your novel. To learn more about the planning process, go here for a complete guide and a free book outline template.

  17. How to Write a Book: Complete Step-by-Step Guide

    How to Write a Book: Complete Step-by-Step Guide. Written by MasterClass. Last updated: Mar 2, 2022 • 5 min read. A step-by-step guide can help new authors overcome the intimidating parts of writing a book, allowing them to stay focused and maximize their creativity. A step-by-step guide can help new authors overcome the intimidating parts of ...

  18. Ultimate Guide

    How to write a book title in an essay in MLA style: The complete letters of book name must be in Italics pursue by a period of its publication. If the book's name has subtitles, it must follow the title and can be split with the use of a colon. If the most work is an integral part of the source that is used, then the title must be represented ...

  19. How to Title an Article in an Essay (A Comprehensive Guide)

    For some sources, you simply capitalize and italicize the main words; for others, you have to capitalize the main words and put them in double quotation marks. You need to italicize and capitalize their names when you mention standalone sources. Standalone sources include a podcast, a TV series, a dissertation, a movie, and an e-book.

  20. How to Write a Book: The Ultimate Guide

    6 Read with an eye for revision. Your first read of your manuscript should be from a high level. Don't focus too much on sentence-level corrections (if something reads as awkward, circle it, but don't spend too much time trying to diagnose what's wrong or you'll lose the pacing of your book as you read).

  21. How to Write the Best Title for Your Book

    2. A great book title is easy to say out loud. When choosing the title of your book, you should pay special attention to how the title sounds when spoken aloud. At the end of the day, people need to be able to talk about your book. Overly complicated long titles can make it hard for people to engage with the book. 3.

  22. How to Write an Essay on a Book [Full Guide]

    On a rough sheet of paper, sketch the phrases or words that first come to mind. Then they can be developed into a whole essay. So, think carefully about what you want to say about the topic. Then write down your thoughts on paper in a column. And then decide in what order you want to display these thoughts on paper.

  23. How to Title an Essay? The Complete Guide to Essay Title

    Don't feel bad about yourself if you can't make a good essay title on the spot. Even the most prolific writers experience writer's block when choosing an ideal headline. The writer's block isn't the issue here. It matters how you overcome it and create the title. Here are a few ideas that you'll find useful. Write Essay First, Title ...

  24. How to Turn an Essay into a Book Deal

    You could pilot your big novel idea as a short story. You could also pilot it as an essay on your main topic or theme, or the autobiographical experience which inspired you to write the book. Whatever genre you're working in, the process remains simple—dare I say easy. Step 1: Write the pitch. Begin by crafting a compelling pitch for your ...

  25. Privately owned vehicle (POV) mileage reimbursement rates

    GSA has adjusted all POV mileage reimbursement rates effective January 1, 2023. Modes of transportation. Effective/Applicability date. Rate per mile. Airplane*. January 1, 2023. $1.74. If use of privately owned automobile is authorized or if no Government-furnished automobile is available. January 1, 2023.