posted on May 12, 2015 by Jeanne Devlin

Taking the Romance out of the Title

Knocked Up by the Bad BoyThis week Vanessa Waltz’s novel Knocked Up by the Bad Boy topped at least two industry best-seller lists for self-published ebooks, including three romance categories for Kindle eBooks.

And that got me thinking.

Is it only me or have the gimmicks once tucked inside a novel to make the denizens holler and the gatekeepers bellow—the same gimmicks that often ended up garnering a book so much press (yes I’m talking you 50 Shades of Grey) that sales jumped—been turned to titles?

And if so, does that mean we can look forward to the likes of Humping All Night to soon appear on our local drugstore bookrack where we buy our cottage mysteries and western romances and legal thrillers when we’re under the weather?

And if so, does this mean:

  1. Raunchy is the new orange?
  2. New romance authors are evolving into misogynist frat boys? (There are already plenty of them making movies in Hollywood.)
  3. And book editors are a step away from editorial dinosaurs that should toss away, nay, break and burn, their red pencil or maybe turn it on themselves?

We like to think of our times as the height of civilization. We have iPhones don’t we!  And 60-inch plasma TVs!  (Please excuse the sarcasm.) And goodness knows I’m not calling for a return to the days when a rock star or a police officer could not be a romantic hero, according to the powers that be.

But I can’t help but wonder . . .

Someday when we are dead and gone, our descendants are going to dig up books or digital archives with the likes of Knocked Up by the Bad Boy, and they are going to wonder about love and romance in our time because remember these aren’t some work-in-progress found in someone’s bottom drawer but published, albeit self-published works, works on national best-seller lists.

And if the cautionary title doesn’t tell them all they need to know about our times its lovely romantic title blurb should: “The only settling down I do is at night, when I take a girl home to f*ck . . . I live to hear them scream my name, but one night is all they get.”

Oh, be still my beating heart.

So tell me:  do titles matter when it comes to what you read?

—Jeanne Devlin




Jeanne Devlin

Jeanne Devlin

Jeanne Devlin is editor of The RoadRunner Press, an award-winning traditional publishing house based in the American West. An editor of newspapers, magazines, and books for more than thirty years, she has also worked on national marketing and publicity campaigns with such publishers as Simon and Schuster and St. Martin's and for a number of New York Times bestselling authors, including Robyn Carr, Sabrina Jeffries, Debbie Macomber, Linda Lael Miller, and Wendy Corsi Staub. A graduate of the Stanford University Publishing Course, Jeanne is a member of the Children's Book Council, the National Book Critics Circle, and the Oklahoma Center for the Book of the Library of Congress. She also consults with boutique publishers.

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