What’s in a name?- Just about everything.

Titles matter.

English: Cobbe portrait, claimed to be a portr...
English: Cobbe portrait, claimed to be a portrait of William Shakespeare done while he was alive Lëtzebuergesch: Uelegporträt vum William Shakespeare am Alter vu 46 Joer, gemoolt 1610 zu Liefzäite vum Dichter, haut am Besëtz vum Konschtrestaurator Alec Cobbe. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You know what turns me off in a title? I will sum up.

  • Categories are for tag lines. Romance, Science fiction, BBW, Menage. Why are any of these in your title line? It’s the sure sign of okay to awful porn and a terrible book.
  • A verb and a noun- Embracing my alpha dog. (I apologize if that’s an actual title. I was trying to come up with something unusable, but it is just a verb and any noun that’s the standard these days. )
  • A lack of poetry or flare. ex. The kitchenette. ( I can guarantee I don’t care what’s in the cabinets).

I get it. I really do.

Tags as titles

You want your book to come up in search. Okay, but does it matter if it looks like a hack, scam book? I’m just saying. There was a time when a title was a title. Wuthering Heights, The adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The White Dragon. 

Those are titles.

A noun, a verb and sex

I get this too. You want the book title to scream sex. I’m with you, but aren’t there more creative ways to do that? Do we have to pretty much reduce people to stereotypes? Take a look at the porn section of the KU scene. Seriously, My Black Professor Bangs Me? That’s a stereotype title.

You can argue that adding Alpha wolf makes it less racist because werewolves aren’t real, but it’s still the same caliber of title. The person looking at that book is not looking for romance or, let’s face it, words. They want the literary equivalent of the pizza delivery porn video. Erotica is more than just porn. If you don’t know that difference, you aren’t writing erotica. There has to be some kind of relationship, and it needs to be worth something. It’s not just scratching an itch.

A little bit of flare…

Your title is the first thing your reader uses to identify your story. It’s part of the branding. It tells them something about what’s inside that book and what’s inside your head. Note: Bad puns are not titles. ex. Bearly There. Just no.

Take a look at the brand you’re pushing. Does your titling practice fit that brand?

Indie doesn’t have to mean less. It can mean slightly edgy and a little unpolished because that’s what a lot of people want in an Indie write. When I search for Science Fiction Romance on kindle, my mind is blown, and not entirely in the best way. I’m avoiding the search altogether these days and getting my info from blogs on the genre. Why? I am tired of wading through the crap titles and finding nothing that I want. Consistently, when a title is as described above, I won’t like it one bit. It’s not going to be smart, and it’s not going to be sexy.

The sad part about that is how it hurts the titles I like the best. By avoiding the search, I can’t find the undiscovered country of those great new names who don’t have a lot of rates or reviews to move them up, and they get lost in a sea of man chest covers and Alpha alien babies.

It’s not fair to the readers, in which number, I count myself. The goal should almost always be to write the book you want to read. And that may be exactly what so many authors are doing, but that brings up a whole other set of issues.

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