Tuesday, August 10, 2010

[Twitter Talks] People about titles

I talked about the secret mission of titles back in July [and no, they are not FBI sanctioned hit men; titles are geeky] and that got me thinking how other people valued titles. Did they glaze over titles as an announcement? Did they pay attention to the title? Did they track back to see whether it fits the story being told? So, I turned to Twitter. Here is the question I posted:

#Question: What role does the title of a work play for you? [important or not]

Somehow I also managed to lose some replies, which I though I copied, but in fact had not, simply because my mind has decided to create false memories. This is why I am running a shorter version this time around. Here is the breakdown by groups. 

GROUP 1: Fans

@rachaelnfox Sometimes the title is everything. Its what catches my attention.If the title is bad the cover better be good. Otherwise, no go.

@RebeccaEmin Surely it's one of the most important things? In a book shop, the cover sells the book. The title being part of that.

GROUP 2: Lukewarm sympathizers [badly used, I know]

@Hagelrat I'd like to say not, but browsing on spec I'm guided by cover & title. A bad or misleading title can mean I pass over a book.

@Susi_Sunshine I hate silly titles or the misleading kind. I hate to be disappointed by a book. For me a good cover counts more. #coverwhore

@belovedsnail A title won't make me buy a book, but can put me right off.

GROUP 3: The Indifferent 

@Squirrelpunkd Not really. Sometimes, titles are just more of a placeholder than anything else.

@Squirrelpunkd Don't pay much attention to titles until I've read much of the story, to be honest 

The few responses here can be placed in three categories: those who value titles as important elements of the novel; those who don’t use titles as reason to buy, but are a guide to an extent and Larry, who just doesn’t care. Even with so few replies and however amateurish this statistic is, it sketches a realistic image of the titles’ importance. 

People are generally divided as far as titles go and at first glance it seems like a minor detail to fuss about. After all, having no foreknowledge of the title doesn’t hinder the story, the plot or the themes. Yes, it may hint at what the story is about and yes, along with the cover it makes a mean marketing too, but it is also very subjective whether a title fits a book /movie /whatever. The conclusion I have drawn is that titles are one of the elements that allows the reader /consumer to show their individuality, when approaching the book as a product. 

To back up what possibly sounds ridiculous, to reads a well structured plot, fast paced story, well written prose and endearing characters are of utmost importance. For different people, these elements would mean different things and would be of different importance [one trumping the other], but to an extent everybody hunts for quality. Titles represent the bait leading to the bits readers want. It’s up to the individual whether they would gobble it up, use it as a guide to a limited extent or simply disregard it.

More importantly. What do *you* make of it all? 


Charles Gramlich said...

I've posted on titles a couple of times. they mean a lot to me.

Harry Markov said...

It's good to see that they are appreciated and all. Authors have problems with titles sometime and if they do not find it exceptionally easy, then there must be some importance to them.