I was reading through BookBub and saw a lot of On-The-Nose titles. You know, The Billionaire’s Secret Ranch Baby (not a real title) (I hope). The upside of those is that you know exactly what you’re getting, which is good. I mean, I would probably buy A Hot Hockey Romance Where the Hero Looks Like Wentworth Miller. (I would totally buy that book.). But it also seems like it cheapens the book somehow. Not the content, there are probably many great books behind OTN titles. But just the reductive-ness of it. I mean, they didn’t call The Mummy, Indiana Jones Set in Egypt (was that set in Egypt?) And Loretta Chase did not title Mr. Impossible, My Version of the Mummy with a Brilliant Bluestocking and a Hot Aristocrat (that book, by the way, is fantastic) although I would have bought it for that title. Well, I would have bought it because it had “Loretta Chase” on the cover, but you know what I mean. OTN Title Marketing works.
And I thought about our books. Take Rocky Start. Bob and I both like RED, a movie about retired spies who fight back against the bastard who’s trying to kill them (GREAT movie). And I liked the idea of Outsider Art and a second hand store full of junk. Bob liked the idea of a little hidden town full of lethal spies. And he wanted a 55-year-old hero. I liked all of that, too (and I’m noticing a lot of middle-aged romances lately–is that a new thing?–if so YAY). So what would our OTN title be? Middle-Ages Spies Falling In Love Under Fire Surrounded By Junk. No. For one thing, my girl isn’t a spy (middle-aged, yes). I had a great title early on that Bob nixed: The Spy Who Liked Me. I still love that title. Maybe The Middle-Aged Spy Who Liked Me? No, lacks punch. Bob’s favorite rejected title was Middle Prong. Yeah, I have no idea what it means, either, except that I suspect it’s dirty. But Middle-Aged Middle Prong has a nice ring to it. (No, Bob, we are still not using that.)
The whole title thing is really important. I’ve had titles forced on me that I hated, Manhunting and What the Lady Wants being the top two–one sounds predatory and the other sounds greedy–and I don’t think I’ll ever do an OTN title, but I can understand their appeal to marketing. Other titles quirks (mine): Single words (you need more than one word to create meaning) and obscure meanings (Middle Prong).
So titles. What do you think? What are the best ones you’ve seen? (I still love Expecting Someone Taller.) What titles led you astray? Ever met a title you hated? And how do YOU feel about OTN titles?