Sunday, April 3, 2011

What's In A Title Anyway?, by Susan Santangelo

I just finished reading a mystery by a fairly mainstream author. I was drawn to it because the title had dogs in it. No surprise that I'd want to read a book like that, right? But the book itself had very little to do with the breed hyped on the cover, and although it was about pets, sort of, it left me...unfulfilled. Almost angry. That I had picked up a book expecting to read about one thing and ended up with another. Related, yes, but different. Sort of like expecting a home-cooked Italian meal and getting a can of Chef Boyardi ravioli instead.
And before anyone asks, the back cover blurb gave a tease about the book that was accurate...up to a point.
This experience got me to thinking. How much do readers go by titles when choosing a book to pick up? How accurate are most titles? How do we, as authors, select titles that will give readers enough of a tease to hook them in, and be true to what the book is about?


Ben Small said...


Would you mind adding "by Susan Santangelo" at the start of your blogs? The reason is somehow the posts appear on my Facebook Wall, and I get comments from people who think I wrote your posts. I hate to steal credit, so identifying yourself at the start of your posts would eliminate that. Thanks.

Carola said...

I had an angry letter from a reader of (some of) my Regencies, who said she had strong objections to the character of the hero of one of them (!). Turned out she hadn't even read the book--she was judging him by the blurb on the back, which totally misrepresented him. I do think people ought to at least read what they are criticising.