The Sword and Laser discussion

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is it still about the author, or is it about the title?

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message 1: by Jason (new)

Jason Chapman | 17 comments Whilst looking through a bookshop the other day, I noticed that more and more books have the title of the book bigger than the author’s name.
Are people starting to be more interested in titles than actual author’s names? We have seen an explosion of book series over the last ten years. Do you actually need your name to sell a book or is it about the title these days.


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Isn't that the norm? I know when you format an essay, you usually have the title bigger than the author's name.

It'd be interesting to compare how the sizing is formatted if it's a famous author with a lesser known book.


message 3: by Thane (new)

Thane | 476 comments Name, I think. The ones that drive me nuts are the James Patterson books. PATTERSON takes up one third of the cover, the title is in the middle and then co-author is listed... somewhere, but in a much, much smaller font.


message 4: by Jason (new)

Jason Chapman | 17 comments The title of the first Hunger Games book is far bigger than the authors name.


message 5: by Kevin (last edited Mar 25, 2015 05:22PM) (new)

Kevin | 701 comments It's the norm to have the title bigger on the cover than the author's name. It's when an author's reputation gets so big that just the name makes the people want to buy it that the name gets made more prominent.


message 6: by Dara (new)

Dara (cmdrdara) | 2702 comments I think for newer authors, the title is usually bigger. The bigger the author, the bigger his/her name is on the cover - like with Patterson or Stephen King. With those guys, the publisher is selling you the author more than the story.


message 7: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (johntaloni) | 4142 comments I tend to read a lot of an author at once. I buy almost exclusively on Kindle these days. So the size of the author name on the cover means little to me.


message 8: by Erica (new)

Erica (si1verdrake) | 14 comments I thought the norm was title larger than author name, unless the author is so well-known that they sell books just from the name.

I know when browsing bookstores, it's title rather than author that draws me in. Authors I buy specifically, so I'm rarely paying any attention to the cover when buying the next book in a series or something new by an author I've enjoyed. I just go find them in the section and grab it. When I'm looking for something new, it's definitely the title+cover art that'll get me to check the summary.


message 9: by Dustin (last edited Mar 24, 2015 03:08PM) (new)


message 10: by Brendan (new)

Brendan (mistershine) | 930 comments Stephen King's covers almost look like a parody of this trope.


message 11: by John (Nevets) (new)

John (Nevets) Nevets (nevets) | 1612 comments As others have stated it is usually the title that has the bigger font, then the author, until the author hits a sertin status level, then it flips. The funny thing is even though that is standard, books are almost always sorted by Author, either in the store or library. The exception being big series/ ip tie ins with multiple authors.


message 12: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new)

Tassie Dave | 3635 comments Mod
It makes sense to have the author's name larger than the title and have the books sorted by author.

It is, usually, easier to remember who wrote a book. Plus if you like it, you will try other books by that author. It would be much harder to look for their books, if they were sorted by title.


message 13: by Joel (new)

Joel | 236 comments I took Brandon Sanderson's creative writing class, and he said that one reason you would see the author's name larger on the cover is that the author has become popular enough that it is like the publisher is trying to sell that author like a certain brand of product, so they want the readers to see the author's name first.


message 14: by Thane (new)

Thane | 476 comments Joel wrote: "I took Brandon Sanderson's creative writing class, and he said that one reason you would see the author's name larger on the cover is that the author has become popular enough that it is like the p..."

A name you can trust! Like how Wile E. Coyote always uses ACME brand products.


message 15: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6376 comments If the name is bigger, the editing is less.


message 16: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8768 comments Tamahome wrote: "If the name is bigger, the editing is less."

A good rule of thumb.


message 17: by Ken (last edited Mar 25, 2015 11:17AM) (new)

Ken (kanthr) | 334 comments Agreed, if the name is big, it usually means the publisher is selling the author's name, not the quality of their story. They tend to be prolific authors who write throw-away yarns.

This is one of my rules of thumb. If the author's name is bigger than the title, be wary. Name and title still won't determine if I pick up a book, though. The majority of my first-impression is formed based on the jacket flap synopsis. If it is ridiculous or full of extraneous information that was chucked in to hype up the story, I'll pass. I absolutely will dump any story that has questions in the synopsis. "Will she save them in time?" Does anyone care? I could flip to the last page if that's what's driving your story. Superficial plot-level nonsense. Really dislike question-blurbs tossed in to add suspense. I also dislike the little catch phrases and shockers with ellipses or dashes. "He's a programmer - and also a stay at home dad!" Okay. Where's the point? I guess some people are into this character-identification and crossword-puzzle kind of writing.


message 18: by Jason (new)

Jason Chapman | 17 comments thanks for the many interesting answers guys.


message 19: by Aaron (new)

Aaron Nagy | 379 comments Kenneth wrote: " If it is ridiculous or full of extraneous information that was chucked in to hype up the story, I'll pass."

Even if the book is Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Hunger Games and the Avengers all rolled into one?


message 20: by Thane (new)

Thane | 476 comments Aaron wrote: "Even if the book is Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Hunger Games and the Avengers all rolled into one?"

IN SPACE!


message 21: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6376 comments How about Harry Potter and Bruno Mars? http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2015...


message 22: by Ken (new)

Ken (kanthr) | 334 comments Aaron wrote: "Kenneth wrote: " If it is ridiculous or full of extraneous information that was chucked in to hype up the story, I'll pass."

Even if the book is Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Hunger Games and the..."


That sounds so terrible. Hahaha.


message 23: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8768 comments Aaron wrote: "Kenneth wrote: " If it is ridiculous or full of extraneous information that was chucked in to hype up the story, I'll pass."

Even if the book is Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Hunger Games and the..."


Untrained magicians practicing underage incest by day while fighting crime by night, ending up in a battle to kill each other!


message 24: by Joe Informatico (new)

Joe Informatico (joeinformatico) | 888 comments Kenneth wrote: "This is one of my rules of thumb. If the author's name is bigger than the title, be wary."

It's one of mine too. But mostly because experience has taught me when an author's a big enough brand their name alone guarantees a bestseller, you can almost be certain their publisher doesn't edit their books as thoroughly. From a business perspective that makes sense: why spend time and money polishing something that's going to sell a million copies regardless? And in fairness, a reliable bestselling author is usually also reliable with meeting the expectations of their craft and industry. But it often means we get novels that are a good two or three hundred pages longer than they really need to be.


message 25: by Alex (new)

Alex | 78 comments I have to say I know more titles of books than the authors who wrote them especially if the authors are not so famous =/
Even if an author is well know, especially in their genre, people will most likely just say the title, especially if the series or book is just as or more famous than the author. Like you can say 'Mistborn' no need to mention the author cos we all know.
But again the same can be said with 'a new book by Stephen King' we all know who Stephen King is and many people will read his books without knowing what the book is about because he is so reliable, well known, well written and you know what you're getting with him.


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