Titles don't routinely attract me to a particular novel, and I've never courted a book based on name alone. Oh no, my approach is a little more scientific than that (involves a Ouija board and cauldron). Except for this month. Having just finished 'Reflected In You' by Sylvia Day, I think I was on the hunt for something similar and found "Down To You" by M. Leighton.
This post isn't meant to discuss whether these books were good or bad (although both get a thumbs up from me), but more what's in a title. Lately, it seems that we authors play a little game by questioning what is something distinctive about a very popular book and we play that up in our own work. Not necessarily the theme of the story or the characters, but something more cosmetic - the opulent rich shit of the male lead shown on the cover (cuff links, Mardi Gras masks, titanium key chains, etc), or a really hot guy's chest - and play it up. I'm willing to bet that there are times when titles are designed to be similar in order to attract the readers attention. I know, some of you publishing-marketing type folks are saying "DUH!". Forgive me, but I'm a little slower than some folks, especially after two days of intense editing and an all out, near cold-turkey coffee avoidance (down from 3 cups to 1 cup a day).
So, let's play a game. I'll take old titles (the more classic the better), add "To You", "In You", or "On You" to the title and you let me know if that makes you want to read it more, and in the event that you have read it, whether the 'new' title makes you want to read it again?
Let's begin, shall we?
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
New Title: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings In You
To Kill A Mockingbird
New Title: To Kill A Mockingbird On You
New Title: Dracula In You (I personally want to read that one!)
The Grapes of Wrath
New Title: The Grapes of Wrath To You
New Title: Beowulf On You
Kind of makes you think, doesn't it? Oh, if only these books were written in these modern days of technology (and happened to be romantic fiction).