Story Titles: What are we doing to romance?
Thanks, Ironman, I thought it was timely and decided to give my two cents. Hope you’re ready to listen.
For the last year, I’ve seen book/story titles that have made me do a second glance. Mostly because of their shock-and-awe nature, but some because I’ve started noticing a trend of escalation.
Escalation? Yes, with some titles making me cringe.
Some of the titles started out as puns on words, “Pucked” for well, I’m assuming you can figure that one out and I actually found that title to be endearing and appropriate for the book, as it was about a hockey player and comedic in nature. Kudos to Helena Hunting for a great title and series.
But then came other titles that I found harder to find a real reason for the extreme facets of the title. The specifics aren’t important, but what is important is that I’ve now laid my eyes on titles that are pushing the boundaries of what a romance title probably should be.
In my opinion, a romance title should do these three things:
- It should give insight into a plotline or character of the story. For instance, if the story is about cowboys, then maybe Riding Again, which also indicates that maybe it’s could be a second chance love story or a person who found love, lost it, and is finding it again.
- It should tell a reader what they can expect. If it’s one word, I believe it’s harder to accomplish that, but I’ve seen it done. Especially in the case of Jay Crownover’s Marked Men series–all named with the guys’ name that is the lead character. Fun reading and great heroines. But promising something with the title and then not delivering, that’s a quick way to lose readers.
- It shouldn’t be created to disturb or shock readers. When we do that as authors we aren’t holding our writing accountable for being the story, the title is the story. Plus, if the story doesn’t deliver and the title created a bunch of attention then do we think readers will come back for more? No, they have expectations of the genre, including story, characters, plotline, and titles.
I know what you’re saying, but it’s the author’s right to decide the title. Sure. Up to a point, then if they have a publisher then someone needs to step in and say when a title isn’t appropriate or even offensive. If it’s self-published, I think beta readers need to voice opinions.
And in the end, if the author gets negative feedback because of a risque or politically/socially loaded title, then they need to be willing to accept the criticism and move on. No apologies. No regrets. No “sorry, but not sorry”s. Take it like a champ, because you chose it.
But if a title is just for shock factor, I would encourage writers to think twice. Is that what you really want to be known for?
Titles are so important. Why choose one that might start judgment of the novel right out of the gate? I guess that might be something I’ll never know the answer to.
I want romance writers to respect the genre and their work, because if we don’t, who will? No one.
What do you think? Seen any titles that pushed the envelope for you? Don’t have to name names, but what about it triggered emotions for you?
Hope everyone has a wonderful Monday!
Take care, ❤ Jules