February 9, 2020
More often than not, romance authors struggle with titles and blurbs. There is a common misconception that a title should be an accurate representation of a book. Take Joanne Rowling, author of the popular Harry Potter series, as an example. Each book title is a summation of the content within. The title of the second book in the series, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, states that the book will be focusing on the concept of a “chamber of secrets” and that it will revolve around a boy named Harry Potter.
However, there are also many writers with short titles that speak less about the book. Book titles like “Scorned”, “The Little Prince”, and “Candide” are vague about the content within a book, yet they also appeal toward readers.
Book titles should not be so long that they spoil the book. “Two Girls Named Rachel and Yolanda Have Fun On A Rollercoaster Ride But the Ride Malfunctions And It Is Revealed That A Boy In Their School Mysteriously Planned It” is not a title that many readers find appealing. Titles should not be log-lines! Instead, aim for shorter titles if you struggle with that issue. Long titles are perfectly acceptable so long as it doesn’t spoil the book or become too wordy.
With romance, however, a plethora of other problems emerge. How about tropes? The title “Bad Boy And Good Girl” is far too overused on popular writing sites. Romance readers vary a lot in preferences, too! Some might like what others call “sappy” titles that hint at mature content, while others prefer more light-hearted romance. In these situations, choose an accurate title that is at least somewhat connected to your book, but make it as vague as it can be without being misleading. You can build more upon the title in the blurb, which is where readers can decide if your content is what they’re looking for.
A blurb is not a logline. A logline is a short, one sentence description of your characters, conflict, plot, and setting. A blurb needs to entice readers, but more importantly, a blurb’s primary job is to give a concise description of your book. You don’t need to spoil the ending, reveal every plot twist, or give an introduction to all the characters.
Quotes and questions slow down the flow of a blurb tremendously! If a quote takes up five lines of the blurb, I’d be willing to bet that at least half of the readers will skim right through it. Everything in the blurb has to have some importance. A blurb must establish the conflict and the stakes of what happens if the main character does not solve the conflict.
Questions like, “Will she make it?” or “Will the lovers reunite?” are simply unnecessary. If you’ve included the conflict and stakes in the blurb, those questions should already be obvious. Plus, questions that are general and can be applied to many books at once might even aggravate readers because of the vagueness.
Of course, talking about the setting and characters a bit might make the readers feel more engaged, but a two paragraph backstory on the protagonist isn’t necessary. Choose only the foundation of the story to include in the blurb. Afterward, you can always make the blurb more enticing by varying the sentence structures and splitting it into paragraphs, but never forget to make your blurb accurate and concise (which will, in turn, make the blurb more appealing)!
Using these tips, creating titles and blurbs will hopefully become less frustrating. Romance writers — and writers in general — always struggle on certain skills, but with time and practice, our greatest enemies can become our best friends. Keep writing with your newfound knowledge and remember to keep your blurbs and titles concise!
Romance in Writing
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