!cid_22DB7F56-63AA-4CA2-A42B-7295E882E0D3@homeIN this second of a series of Q&As and blogs exploring book titles, I’m featuring two bloggers – John and Nicola – whose reading muscles were well and truly stretched in 2016, with an impressive 317 books between them. But when faced with an overwhelming selection of newly-published novels, how much did the titles influence their choices? And does The Husband Who Refused to Die – the name I picked for my debut after months of head-scratching – work for them?

First up to answer my questions is John, at thelastwordbookreview.wordpress.com. John’s preferred genres are crime, thrillers, spy novels and historical fiction and he read and reviewed an impressive 220 books in 2016:

Is the title a significant factor when it comes to choosing a book?

If you take a look at your average bookshop and you’re browsing the latest titles, the book that is dramatic will catch your attention. Many modern crime novels have covers that are pretty similar. The title of the book is important, as it’s a key selling point.

What do you look for in a novel title, and what do you see as its function? 

The title of any book is a key part. Along with the cover design, a good title will attract potential buyers – it’s the selling point of the author’s work. A poor cover and title will just make the book buyer move on.

What novel titles have particularly impressed you?

A few of the recent titles: Bone by Bone by Sanjida Kay, Deep Down Dead by Steph Broadribb, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins and Snowblind by Ragnar Jonasson.

Has a book title ever put you off reading a book, or even turning it over to look at the back cover blurb?

Any of the 50 Shades of Grey books – well come on the writing was just shocking.

Have you ever bought a book based on the title alone?

Yes, The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler. It just intrigued me, and I loved it.

My novel is called The Husband Who Refused to Die. What are your thoughts on this as a title?

When I first saw the title I was thinking psychological thriller!

 What genre would you assume it to be?

Crime/Thriller

If you wrote a book about your reading life, what would you call it? 

Very simple: My Life in Books.

John can also be found at twitter.com/Thelastword1962

Next to share her thoughts is Nicola, at shortbookandscribes.uk, who enjoys reading contemporary, literary and women’s fiction, crime and psychological thrillers, time slip and time travel. Nicola read 97 books last year.

Is the title a significant factor when it comes to choosing a book?

 It’s one of the first things I see and can often influence whether I look further into a book or not. So yes, I think it’s significant and important to get right.

What do you look for in a novel title and what do you see as its function? 

 I want a title to reflect what the book is about and to be either intriguing or appealing. Its function is to describe the book and to make me want to read it.

What novel titles have particularly impressed you?

Various Pets Alive and Dead by Marina Lewycka. It immediately makes you think and wonder what the book’s about. The Beachside Sweet Shop by Karen Clarke has three elements that I love in a book right there: seaside, sweets and shops.

Has a book title ever put you off reading a book, or even turning it over to look at the back cover blurb?

Yes I’m sure it has, although I can’t think of any at the moment. But I’m guilty of being prejudiced by things like a title, which, if it just hits the wrong tone with me, can put me off completely.

Have you ever bought a book based on the title alone?

 I wouldn’t buy a book based on title alone. I’d look at the blurb as well.

My novel is called The Husband Who Refused to Die. What are your thoughts on this as a title?

 I like it. It’s interesting and makes me want to see what the book is about. Having now read the blurb, I think it fits it well, but wouldn’t necessarily have been the first thing I’d thought about when I read the title. This isn’t a bad thing at all; the title fits but challenges my initial thoughts.

What genre would you assume it to be?

 I would have said it was either a weepy, or a crime novel, as in a woman wants to kill her husband and keeps failing (I suppose that could also be comedy!).

 If you wrote a book about your reading life, what would you call it? 

Always Playing Catch Up

 Nicola can also be found at twitter.com/ShortBookScribe and facebook.com/shortbookandscribes

In the next blog, I discover what titles mean to three more avid readers; Cleopatra, at cleopatralovesbooks.wordpress.com, Carl, at bookebloke.blogspot.co.uk and Sally, at salsworldofbooks.co.uk