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My pet peeve...
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Elizabeth Rolls



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 1081
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
This next point is sad. I decided to look at books on Amazon by book categories, and romances had far more title mistakes than did the other disciplines I looked at. Coincidence of my survey? Publishers of romances taking less care than publishers of science, history or literary books? Paperback vs hardback? Romance titles tended to be shorter by about half than many wordy non-fiction titles--so that's odd too. I hope this doesn't mean pb romances (and maybe some other genres) are the step-children of publishing.


Did you happen to look at any other genre fiction titles? You mention literary fiction and non-fiction categories. I would have thought that the other genre categories were more useful for comparison. As for shorter titles, I suspect that's a function of trying to keep titles short and fairly snappy. Even Heyer used short titles. Friday's Child, These Old Shades, Venetia, Charity Girl, Bath Tangle, A Civil Contract. I'm struggling to come up with one that has more than three words. OTOH .... If we consider Enid Blyton's titles - Five Go on a Hike Together, Five Have a Wonderful Time, Five Get into Trouble, all hit at least four words, but I'm not sure we should use this to judge quality. (Personally I retain a great fondness for the Famous Five.) Just playing Devil's advocate here. It's Mother's Day and I've spent the whole day either at my sons' soccer matches and soccer training or driving them thereto. Distinct possibility my brain has been fried. Wink

Elizabeth
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Eggletina



Joined: 06 Jul 2010
Posts: 434

PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wonder if verbs were less common in older books? It seems to be more of a trend in more recent titles, especially in romance. Or is that my imagination?
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Eliza



Joined: 21 Aug 2011
Posts: 1202

PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 5:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@ladynaava: I'm reading a book now which speaks to the point you made about titles having key words pop out. The cover title is literally: the FIREMAN who LOVED ME.

@Eggletina: I think your point about advertizing and marketing is addressed with that point, too, along with the spine and title page both of which have this: the FIREMAN WHO LOVED ME. The word "who" got a promotion, but not the poor first word "the."

@MMcA: All's not lost, though. The actual pages of the book have the correct book title style for the right-hand page headers: The Fireman Who Loved Me. Which at least speaks well for the editorial staff and author.

@Elizabeth Rolls: I did go back to look at all genre titles as you suggested and came to these conclusions: (1) Non-fiction and literary titles are the most accurate (no surprise perhaps), (2) genre fiction had more mistakes than the first category (mass market gets less attention?), and (3) romance titles had the most mistakes overall, more than any other genre (even though romance sells well, it doesn't get the same attention or respect?) Or just chaos theory?

As for shorter titles, anything above two words means a decision has to be made about capping the middle words (since the last and first word are always supposed to be capped). So, if the verb was the first or last word--no problem. All the problems were with the inbetween words--even for short titles.

@Eggletina: I couldn't spot anything about the length of titles increasing, but I think your instinct is correct.

Note to web masters, database folks and book reviewers: When you refer to a book title in text--not on an actual cover--title case rules. If the cover "art" (*snort*) is unclear, look at the title headers inside the book, which will also keep you in line with that book's style.

In fiction, the author's name is on the left-hand page, and the book's title on the right-hand page.

For non-fiction, the book title is on the left, and the chapter title is on the right. If a non-fiction has book parts, the book part is on the left instead of the cover title.

Eggletina said it best:
Quote:
I think consistency is most important if you're going to use your own style, though.
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PatW



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 640
Location: Gulf coast Florida

PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MMcA wrote:
Thank you so much. That's seriously fascinating.
...

It's a bit magical as well - I think I must always have assumed that publishers just capitalised whichever words they wanted the public to notice, and it's really pleasing to know that there's a secret (well, secret from me) system behind it all.

Thanks.


I just caught up with this thread and want to echo the above. I just knew that some titles' style botherd me but now I have an inkingof why! Smile
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Eliza



Joined: 21 Aug 2011
Posts: 1202

PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 4:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PatW wrote:
MMcA wrote:
Thank you so much. That's seriously fascinating.
...

It's a bit magical as well - I think I must always have assumed that publishers just capitalised whichever words they wanted the public to notice, and it's really pleasing to know that there's a secret (well, secret from me) system behind it all.

Thanks.


I just caught up with this thread and want to echo the above. I just knew that some titles' style botherd me but now I have an inkingof why! Smile


Thank you both back. I appreciate it. Very Happy

And now I had another thought. Confused Children's books. Good news there, though: There were only two minor errors out of at least 300 books for all ages. Good to know.

I noticed something else: Quite a number of Kindle-only kids' books had all lowercase titles which was rare for paper books. I guess that's part of both the texting world and perhaps the self-publishing world. Changing times...
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 2508

PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 8:49 pm    Post subject: Another Reply with quote

So I'm an old curmudgeon. Sue me, but I can't abide the use of "snuck" as the past and past participle of "sneak." What the word conjures up has little to do with "sneaking."
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Elizabeth Rolls



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 1081
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I did go back to look at all genre titles as you suggested and came to these conclusions: (1) Non-fiction and literary titles are the most accurate (no surprise perhaps), (2) genre fiction had more mistakes than the first category (mass market gets less attention?), and (3) romance titles had the most mistakes overall, more than any other genre (even though romance sells well, it doesn't get the same attention or respect?) Or just chaos theory?


Could be the attention thing, Eliza. Or it could be that editorial is a little less formal with the genre titles in general and romance in particular? I have the impression, as an author who doesn't always get full control Laughing of her titles, that with romance it's all about marketing. What marketing says, rules. That said, on the rare occasion that I have absolutely loathed a suggested title, it has been changed. Which might just mean that editorial views me as a temperamental pain in the neck to be placated where possible.

Elizabeth
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