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Friday, February 10, 2012

Judging a Book By Its Cover

As I used to, (sigh), wander through bookstores, I often picked up a book because of its cover or title. As I try to sell my own novel, I'm wondering what makes a good title. 

The title of my novel, as of right now, is Amor for Love. It's taken from a line in the book where the protagonist, a tennis player, wonders if they say amor for "love" when scoring tennis in Spanish. Things I like about this title: it has a Spanish word, which I hope evokes its exotic (Mexican) setting; it has the word love, indicating that it's a love story; it features a tennis term (love means zero in tennis); it's symmetrical. In the con column, when I say the title out loud, I often have to repeat it, even spell the word amor. Like my dog's name, Nalu, it seems to confuse people. Confusing seems bad as far as title characteristics go.

Are there books you picked up just because of the title? Or books you ended up loving with lackluster titles? And yes, if you have a great title for a love story set in Mexico featuring a tennis player, let it rip. I'll be sure to mention you in the acknowledgments section.


  1. Julie,

    Book titles do tempt me to read, but I'm certain that I've loved books with boring titles too. Your cover art will complement the title and that will get people to pick it up off the shelf. The more I read the title, amor for Love, I like it. It is simple; just 4 syllables. Amor as a foreign word is familiar to most people (especially baby boomer Catholic school kids who had Latin.) I think you need to go with your gut on this. Much more romantic feeling than "Foot Fault in a Foreign Land".

  2. Chris, I'm laughing out loud at your title suggestion. Maybe I'll have some fun thinking of the worst possible title. And thanks for the feedback :)

  3. Julie, I love the multi-layered and very relevant meanings of your title and that it comes from something the protagonist says. Feels like a little character developmenht even before reading the first page. Very clever.

    generally the entire cover experience tempts me more than just the title alone-blend title with the cover colors, images, size of the book- the sum total influences me. It is like magic sometimes when they all feel so perfect and I know instantly, this is a book I must read.

  4. Julie,

    I've enjoyed the comments about your title and have to say it has grown on me. From the first time I read it, your title was a hook. I'd at least have to pick up the book to read the jacket. And I think Chris is right that the cover art may also catch a reader's eye.

    So, go with your gut! Once you have a book contract, your editor may come up with a new title, anyway.