Posts Tagged ‘Texas Baby’

Are the titles of our books important to you? Do the words on the cover influence your book-buying at all?

In a recent study in the Journal of Social, Evolutionary and Cultural Psychology, a couple of psychologist-academic scholars analyzed the titles of Harlequin romances. They created a list of the twenty most popular words, and drew some conclusions about what the list meant. If you’d like to read about the study, go here. To read their paper in its original form, go here.

They looked at more than 15,000 titles, published between 1949 and 2009. Here are the top five words:

Oh, yeah? I was intrigued. Some of my title words showed up on their “Top 20” list…some didn’t. Take TEXAS BABY and TEXAS WEDDING, for instance. BABY, of course, was number 3. TEXAS was number 16. WEDDING is 13. But is that a good thing, or not? Does that mean you, the readers, love those words and will be more likely to buy? Or does it perhaps mean you’re sick of them, and won’t even pick my book up? My new book, TEXAS TROUBLE, is half on, half off. What would that mean to you?

In truth, writers often have very little say in which titles are chosen for their books. The editors always ask us for input, but it’s not, in the end, our call. I once sent in a book called THE MOONBIRD TATTOO, and it hit the shelves as TRIAL BY SEDUCTION. I don’t mind. I assume the marketing department knows what it’s doing, and the publisher is obviously just as interested in my book being a smash hit as I am. Maybe more so!

The journal’s paper provides an interesting analysis, but the thoughts I really care about are the ones from the readers. I’d love to know what you think. How much difference does a title make? What titles have you adored? Would you rather see a new kind of title? Ever seen a title you absolutely can’t stand? Have you ever bought a book that didn’t match its title at all?

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