Thursday, October 4, 2018

Dear O'Abby - Is it a good idea to put a description of my novel into the title?

Dear O'Abby,

Why do some authors make their book titles, on Amazon, crazy long? And is putting a description in the book title ever a good, sale boosting idea, or is it just super annoying and amateur looking?  For example:  Lake Lane: Humorous romantic and fun Texan action adventure paranormal mystery detective political suspense thriller urban fantasy (Steakhouse Mystery Book 2): T-Bone.*


Anonymous Buyer

Dear Anonymous Buyer,

This is an interesting question, and until you brought it up, something I hadn't ever come across before.  Yes, some book titles on Amazon are very long, but usually that's because the book is part of a series and the author or publisher has included the series information as part of the title (Example).  This serves to quickly let the reader know the book is part of a series and where in the series it fits.

The example you provided has the series information, but also a brief description of the genre and even some descriptors you might find in a review.  This serves only to make the title look ridiculously long.  It is also confusing because the title on the book jacket doesn't match the title on the page.  In fact, without looking closely, it's difficult to know what the book's title actually is.

It also feels very much like the author doesn't know what genre their book is. I've never heard of an action adventure paranormal mystery detective political suspense thriller urban fantasy before, and in physical bookstores, where would you find it on a shelf?  Putting this many descriptors in the title feels to me like the author is trying to game search engines to get the book to appear more often when readers are searching for something in their preferred genre.  They may not be looking for an action adventure, but for a paranormal mystery, but because this title has all the words there, it could show up in that reader's search.

Obviously I don't know the sales history of this title, so I can't tell you if putting the description in the title is a great sales boosting idea, but in my humble opinion, it does nothing to make me want to read the book.  It looks amateur, and screams to me that the book is self published, possibly by an author who hasn't researched how to sell a book, or even how to load their book to Amazon.

But who knows?  Maybe the super long title makes the book stand out.  It made you, Anonymous Buyer, pause long enough to pose the question which means we are now talking about the book.  And  while obviously everyone would prefer good publicity, negative publicity also gets people talking about a book and generates a level of curiosity about a title.

Anything is possible, right?

*Not an actual book title, but based on several different titles found on Amazon.

1 comment:

  1. Personally, I'm hesitant to buy a book that uses this method. Even if it's a freebie.


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