It’s been creeping up on me for a while now, and I’m starting to wonder is it just me, or does anyone else think the same way?
I’m not sure exactly when the trend began, but what I have noticed is it’s becoming more and more prevalent. And I guess I’ve made you wait long enough to discover exactly what on earth I’m talking about, haven’t I?
Or, to demonstrate what I mean: Book titles (a story of love and lust in the American deep south – Book 1 of The Deep South trilogy).
When did writers feel a simple, descriptive title wasn’t enough, but they had to give us an entire synopsis – sometimes the whole prolog, it seems – in the actual title?
I know titles are important. I’ve been posting on a couple of LinkedIn groups recently about the subject, and there I stated my reasons for downloading a book to my Kindle. The explanation comes about because I recently signed up to receive notifications from eReaderIQ.com with lists of free Kindle titles. The email gives a list of free Kindle books, but the list shows only the title and author. If you want to know more you have to follow the link. It made me think about the criteria I use to decide whether to click through.These were:
- The title. Does it attract me and make me want to investigate further?
- OK – the title sounds interesting, so I click through and look at the cover. I have fairly strict rules here:
- Does it look hand drawn? You know what I mean.
- Does the cover look professional? I have a little leeway here, because I’m not so convinced by my own either
- Cover’s OK, so now I read the blurb. Is the writing in the blurb clear? Are there spelling or grammar mistakes? You wouldn’t believe how many self-pubbed books fall at the first hurdle because they put out a badly written blurb.
- How many pages? I never download anything short. By short I mean 5 or 6 pages. I didn’t believe it either, but there are folks out there selling a 5 page ‘novel’ for $2.99 or more. In the words of those clever latin folks: caveat emptor.
- If the blurb intrigues me then I click Look inside. Are the initial few pages interesting? Do they draw me in, make me want to read more?
If I get this far and haven’t been put off – and a single negative reaction to any one of these stages will stop me going further – then I’ll download or purchase the book.
All of which is a long way to leading up to the thing that stops me even getting to first base here: Titles that try to explain the entire book!
I never, ever, ever click through to look any further if it says: Mary’s quest for peace and quiet in a chaotic world – the search for clarity of a woman living in LA (Book 1 of 10 exploring Mary’s introspective lifestyle).
And please, no emails asking me where you can buy this. I made it up. Honestly, I did. But you must have seen similar titles yourself.
So the question is – do they put you off like they do me, or is it just my own prejudice here?
I’m thinking back to some great titles that don’t need any justification.
East of Eden
The old man and the sea
I’ll stop now.
No, that last one’s not a title. Although it could be. And if it was, would you want to click through to find out what it was about?
I’d be interested to know whether you think I’m alone in this crazy prejudice.