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The Subtitle: Offer an Additional Benefit

Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.

An online devotional for writers

A Word From The Word

Wise words bring many benefits, and hard work brings rewards. (Proverbs 12:14, NLT)

A Word For Writers

The Subtitle: a #devotional for writers based on Prov 12:14 with Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter #WritingTips #WritingABook

A good title offers a benefit. A subtitle offers an additional one.

A subtitle is a subordinate heading, added after a title, that gives additional information about the content of the book or article.

Take for example, Gary Chapman’s bestseller, The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts. The title explains that you’ll read about five ways to communicate love. That’s beneficial for anyone who wants to build a healthy marriage. 

The subtitle adds on another benefit.  It shows that speaking those languages can offer long-lasting love. 

Few books and chapters of the Bible have subtitles. The Psalms are the exception. Many of the psalms have subtitles. These extra pieces of information show us who wrote the psalms or when to use them or how they should be used in worship. For instance, some of the subtitles …

  • Indicate the author:  a psalm of David. A psalm of Solomon. A psalm of Asaph. 
  • Indicate the psalm’s genre: a song of contemplation (Psalm 78) or a lament (Psalm 7)
  • Indicate a tune to be used with the psalm: The Hind of the Dawn (Psalm 22) or The Suffering of Affliction (Psalm 88)
  • Indicate an occasion when the psalm was to be sung: in a memorial offering (Psalm 70) or a song of ascent (Psalms 120-134)

A psalm’s subtitle shows us the context in which it was written or indicates how the content it contains can benefit the reader. 

And a book or article subtitle does the same. The extra bit of information in a subtitle reveals an extra benefit.

A Wise Word

Write a subtitle that indicates an extra benefit to the reader.

A Word To Pray

Loving Father,

You give me information that I need. Thank you for the details offered in the Psalms’ subtitles. Show me how to write titles and subtitles that offer a benefit to the reader so she will keep reading.

In Jesus’s name, Amen.

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