You see this a lot in traditional pub books. Many top authors use chapter names, but others use simple chapter numbers.
At the end of the day, it's a style choice. I use chapter names to help define the chapters, but it's not required.
Personally, I like just numbers. Chapter titles in stories tend to annoy me more than anything. They either have spoilers, or are pointless. I skim past them when reading, but audio makes it hard to ignore them as completely as I'd prefer.
Whether they actually have an impact on readership, or if that's a myth, I have no idea.
Titles for your latest chapters always appear in the Latest Updates section, and some readers also look through story content before deciding if they want to read. A catchy chapter title can always win over a couple more readers.
Here is a post that also talks about chapter titles and their utility.
I think bigger numbers attract a lot more people to click. (Way harder to get readers to click on your Chapter 2)
HereBeTreasure Wrote: Each chapter name is a chance to click bait, it's important to make the names catchy
This is exactly right. My chapters with names like "Immortal Combat" and "Debts" both led to a substantial increase in views. While my less creative ones like "Onward to Cirros" are more generic and usually get fewer views.
And it gets a whole more complicated and interesting than that. Writers can mess around in the name of adding to the story. Using the previous example, you can mess with the order of the chapters. Instead of going to "File 0002" you decide to go to file "0005" which can help build an ambience of mystery for the readers, because they aren't getting the the missing files. I you want another example, I'll use my novel as an example. I cannot say which chapters because of spoilers, but a few of mine are meant to setup something for my readers. From setting up a line that will appear in the story, to foreshadowing for later part of the story, or even set the mood subtly for my audience through expectation, I use the chapter titles to give my readers an expectation or a payoff in the chapter they are abou to read.
Plus there's an added bonus for using chapter titles apart from what I previously mentioned. If you use titles correctly, you will cause a more permanent impact on your readers. It's more impactful to give your readers incentive even before they enter the chapter, because it will always spark curiosity. It's more impactful for readers to see a name drop in the title, specially a name that has been hinted at since the beginning of the story, because it gives readers a satisfying feeling. Heck, that last example can be even more impactful on a re-read, because a reader can notice the little details and foreshadowing involved in the chapter title, which a causes a new appreciation for your story.
So to conclude this overly long answer, here are the points I want to highlight from what I've mentioned before:
- Chapter titles give more character to a novel.
- Chapter titles can be a literal form of clickbait meant to pick at the reader's curiosity.
- Chapter titles can also help setting up a lot things, such as a specific mood, foreshadowing, callbacks, reveals, or even a subsequent line.
- Chapter titles can impact a reader through name droping, or if you play long game for some of your readers to notice things on a re-read.
- Chapter titles can be unique with the purpose to catch a reader's attention.
Thank you for coming to my ted talk, and I hope this helps anyone who reads this post.
Imagine a music album that had:
That would be weird.
I try to make chapter names relevant but not spoilers.
I think they could help here where chapters are listed in the updates list. But unless someone tells you they read your story because of a chapter name, there is no real way to know how effective they are.
Still, I like them.
Maybe I just sound like I'm up my own ass far enough that people are digging it. A "so-bad-it's-good" kinda deal.
I have no idea if others enjoy it, but it is enough that I do.