So awhile ago on Twitter, I linked to an article that satisfyingly applied charts and graphs to my pet peeve of book titling, “The ___’s Daughter.” (To be fair, my expressed peeve was with “The ___’s Wife,” but you can see the connection.) The article at The Millions also called out the title construction “The Secret Life of ___.” I would add “The Art of ___” and, perhaps, “How to [be] ___” to the list of overused, suspicious constructions as well.
Maybe the recent books released with these titles are good ones, but I now hesitate to pick them up. The marketing idea here–that you’re more likely to browse or spontaneously buy (or download a free sample) when a title sounds like other award-winners or best-sellers–seems to work, but I feel put off by the implication that I’m this impressionable.
What if your favorite books had been marketed under one of these slick, familiar names? I had a look at the last few novels I finished, and re-named them according to Bestseller Formula.
- The Art of Racing Zombies in the Apocalypse
- The Secret Life of Libertines
- How to Get Away With Murder
- The Vampire’s Daughter
- The Statesman’s Wife
Not really an improvement, in most cases. Yours?