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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Power of Tantalizing Titles

Let's face it, there are some titles out there that grab you and won't let you go until you purchase the books and read them. Whether they induce intrigue, a laugh or a shiver up your spine, the author has been successful at getting your attention with limited words; it's quite a significant feat if you think about it. Clearly, a book's title is the author's first chance to hook potential readers. If the title isn't what the publisher and its marketing team think is best for that particular book, you better believe it's going to be changed quicker than a llama can spit (no matter how attached the author may be to it). Thankfully I haven't dealt with a title switcheroo yet, but I've seen it happen to several of my writing friends. This goes to show just how important titles are in the book world.

I'm definitely not immune to the lure of a tantalizing title. I admit, I've been guilty of purchasing books simply because their titles have hooked me like a hungry fish. When recalling past YA title love that propelled me to pull out my book-buying wallet, these three books come to mind right away:

My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters by Sydney Salter

Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison

The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler

The above titles hooked me immediately because they're quirky, funny and tend to make me think of girl-related topics. That's exactly the type of YA book I'm drawn to the most. Hence, the magnetic power of the perfect title hook for my reading taste lured me in from the get go.

So all this title talk leads me to some questions:
What do YOU think makes a great title?
Which book titles have hooked you?
What do those titles reveal about you and your reading preferences?

If you'd like to learn more about the importance of titles from a publishing insider, check out this interesting ARTICLE.

For even more title fun (if you're easily entertained like I am), do a google image search for funny titles...and see what comes up. Here's one I couldn't help but laugh about like a five-year-old boy:

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, you're right on!! This really made me think because I'm always attracted to new books with unique titles (or funny ones). Loved your choices!

August 31, 2010 at 9:38 AM  
Anonymous KH said...

So true--funny ones always catch my eye too.

August 31, 2010 at 9:44 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

I found three new books with this awesome post!!! I always find myself attached to a title when the manuscript is complete. I start with something simple Sadie's Story, Stella's Story and finishing with a little more substance. None of them are something I'm attached to, they are really just the best I have.

Your title rocks, I was intrigued by the title and cover immediately. Some others I think look awesome are:

Bad Taste In Boys by Carrie Harris
Matched by Ally Condie
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins (US version)
The Forest of Hands & Teeth
Dead Tossed Waves both by Carrie Ryan
The Heist Society by Ally Carter

Just to name a few, lol

August 31, 2010 at 11:14 AM  
Blogger coffeelvnmom said...

Ha ha - Cooking with Pooh!

I love checking out book titles, but they aren't what makes me buy a book. The premise, good reviews by other readers, or just the fact that the book has been written by an author I like - that's what ultimately makes my decision.

Thanks for sharing that neat link about titles. I have a feeling the YA I'm working on won't stay what it's titled now, but for the life of me, I can't think of anything else to call it! =(

August 31, 2010 at 2:01 PM  
Blogger Cholisose said...

I think my favorite title may be "I Am Not a Serial Killer" by Dan Wells. If that's not a hook, I don't know what is.

September 1, 2010 at 12:45 AM  
Blogger Lea (YA Book Queen) said...

Fun, unique titles always catch my eye (like the ones you mentioned)

I especially love titles where I don't even know what it means, like Nightshade, or a fun one like Paranormalcy. Or even odd titles I've never heard before, like Bleeding Violet. But more amusing ones always hook me the most, like Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood, Oh. My. Gods., and How to Ditch Your Fairy. =)

September 1, 2010 at 7:41 PM  
Blogger Claire Dawn said...

Heist Society
The Curious Incident of the Dog in The Nighttime
The Earth, My Butt and Other big round things

The Roecker sisters ask in their interview would you rather a great title or a great cover. I'd rather a title. Because you don't have to be anywhere near the actual book to hear the title.

September 2, 2010 at 3:25 AM  
Blogger Talli Roland said...

I love book title and I have been very guilty of buying books based on their titles. I think my choices reveal that I like snappy prose with a bit of sass! :)

September 3, 2010 at 9:09 AM  
Blogger Julie Musil said...

LOL at Pooh! Oh my gosh, I'm still laughing at that one.

Still laughing...can you tell I have three boys?

I love the book titles you listed! And your book title is awesome, which must be why it's remained the same.

September 3, 2010 at 12:18 PM  
Blogger Julie Musil said...

Amy, my three sons just chimed in, and their favorite book title is Cooking with Pooh for sure! Thanks for the laughs.

September 3, 2010 at 12:20 PM  
Blogger Amy Holder said...

KH - So glad you can relate to the draw of a funny title!

Jen - I like the angle you're going with your own story titles. It makes me wonder what these girls' stories are about. Also, I totally agree with you on your six title picks!

Jessica - I agree, there's usually much more to a book than its title that grabs me, but there have been several instances where titles captivate me, regardless of knowing anything else about the book. As for your own title, you shouldn't worry about it...there are brilliant marketing peeps who come up with amazing titles if the one you pick isn't working.

Nicholas - Wow, now that's a brilliant title hook! Now I'm dying to read that book.

Lea - Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood, Oh. My. Gods. & How to Ditch Your Fairy are some more of my favorite YA titles too! We're totally on the same reading brain-wave!

Claire - Such a good point about preferring a good title! And I so agree with you about The Curious Incident of a Dog in the Nighttime -- one of my favorite titles for sure!

Talli - I'm so glad I'm not the only one with a title-buying impulse! :)

Julie - Haha!!!! I'm happy you and your boys got a kick out of it! When I saw that I just about died wondering who would create a cookbook with that title?! LMAO!

September 3, 2010 at 8:00 PM  
Blogger TerryLynnJohnson said...

oh, nice picks for great titles! I'd have to agree on all those - I actually bought all those mostly because of the title. One more that's missing is Forest of Hands and Teeth that I totally bought for the title, didn't even know what it was about. So glad I didn't know, may have passed on a great read.
Thanks for the link to the article too.

September 4, 2010 at 5:15 PM  

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