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Which Book Has the Best Title?

Which would you rather have?

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We know that there is alot of stock photography used in cover art today leading to very similar cover images:

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Is it less damaging if the recycling is in the titles?

book review book review

Two books. One Title. Both Contemporaries. Released one week apart. Oops. Possibly worse?

book review book review

Diana Holquist’s RITA Nominee published last year featuring movie star hero v. Julie James’ October debut featuring movie star hero.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

17 Comments

  1. theo
    Sep 19, 2008 @ 17:25:14

    I know there are many out there who say the really don’t pay much attention to the cover of a book, but I think there are many, many books out there that are first identified with their cover art. Karen Marie Moning and JR Ward come to mind. They have the same basic style to their covers that make them almost unmistakable as a Moning or Ward novel.

    And, let’s face it, you can search on any of the online retailers for an author, but you can’t search for the cover art.

    But, that’s me :-)

  2. theo
    Sep 19, 2008 @ 17:26:17

    So, I hit the submit button without saying that I voted for rather the same title than rather the same cover.

  3. Leah
    Sep 19, 2008 @ 22:11:56

    I voted for cover. They do try to make them a little different. But I keep forgetting which Tales From the Crib I’ve read, so I don’t buy either. I wouldn’t want to lose a sale because of my title matches someone else’s.

  4. Kathleen MacIver
    Sep 20, 2008 @ 07:50:16

    Matching a title is much worse. For one thing, matching covers only matter to those few who happen to see that both covers are the same. Die-hard fans and those they recommend your book to won’t be likely to notice or care.

    On the other hand… if your die-hard fans recommend your book to someone else, that someone else is likely to look for your book by title, not by cover picture. How awful would it be if everyone ends up buying the other book? Don’t most sales go to fans and those they recommend your book to?

  5. Diana Holquist
    Sep 20, 2008 @ 08:47:26

    Damn. I knew we should have gone with the working title, “War and Peace.” Live and learn….

    ;-)

    –Diana

  6. Noelle
    Sep 20, 2008 @ 10:08:41

    I really wasn’t sure which would be worse so I read all the comments first. And what Kathleen said:

    On the other hand… if your die-hard fans recommend your book to someone else, that someone else is likely to look for your book by title, not by cover picture. How awful would it be if everyone ends up buying the other book? Don't most sales go to fans and those they recommend your book to?

    That swayed my quote. Having someone look for a book by title and getting the wrong one is much worse than having a similar cover.
    And technically isn’t having your book posted on blogs talking about the cover art publicity you might not have gotten before.

  7. Throwmearope
    Sep 20, 2008 @ 10:44:49

    I’d rather see a little creativity from publishers, who, after all, are in the creativity business. But that’s just me.

  8. Angie
    Sep 20, 2008 @ 11:59:54

    I don’t mind similar covers, and even identical covers if it’s deliberate — my publisher uses identical cover images for shorter books, and some of their shorter theme-lines, to help keep the price down. Having to pay for cover art for each book, even a stock photo, would price the books out of the market.

    Having identical titles, though, makes it harder for a reader to find something. Recommendations rarely come with cover art, so I wouldn’t notice two similar covers, like the ones above, unless I happened to see them very near one another. Identical titles, though, will complicate a Google or Amazon search, especially if the potential reader doing the search doesn’t remember the author’s name. One more layer of complication is often all it takes to get someone to shrug and go by someone else’s book.

    Angie

  9. Julie James
    Sep 20, 2008 @ 17:17:56

    Damn. I knew we should have gone with the working title, “War and Peace.” Live and learn….

    Good point, Diana. Or perhaps I should’ve gone with my working title, “Just War and Peace.”
    :-)

    Julie

  10. Gwen
    Sep 20, 2008 @ 20:59:37

    Don’t care about the cover, but it does irritate me to have the same title. Makes it difficult to talk about the book – particularly if they’re released close together.

  11. SonomaLass
    Sep 20, 2008 @ 21:05:52

    Same cover is annoying, and could be confusing, but I think same title is worse.

  12. Jane
    Sep 20, 2008 @ 21:16:23

    At first, I thought the cover similarity was worse, but I am leaning toward the title similarity because of the argument Kathleen makes. If word of mouth is one of the best marketing tools, similar titles can make for a very confusing time in the store and/or ordering online for readers.

    I think, though, anything that makes a reader think she’s read a book before (because of cover/title confusion) is a bad marketing.

  13. Diana Holquist
    Sep 21, 2008 @ 07:01:00

    When my first book came out, it was called Make Me a Match and it had a woman dancing in a skirt on the cover. It came out just a few months before Jennie Crusie’s Match Me If You Can. I still remember being a newbie writer and being attacked on forums/boards for “copying” Crusie. Gah. As if my publisher had spies at her publisher or maybe could read minds. Or, as if as a newbie writer, I had any control at all over my cover/title.

    Julie-I see a video coming on….I think our books have to talk…e-mail me! (See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_n5L3S9Jmk)

    –Diana

  14. Lori
    Sep 21, 2008 @ 09:23:02

    Julie-I see a video coming on….I think our books have to talk…e-mail me! (See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_n5L3S9Jmk)

    I think I’m in lurve.

  15. Bonnie Edwards
    Sep 21, 2008 @ 21:22:05

    I’ve actually had both things happen. Same title as Christina Dodd (Thigh High) mine came out a month ahead. I read hers … I’m betting she didn’t read mine.

    Also, the same image was used for my Midnight Confessions II (June 2007) and for a Kathleen Dante book from Berkley. (March 2007)

    So, I fretted that people would think they’d read MC II when they’d read Kathleen’s Berkley (just to confuse matters more: the first Midnight Confessions was released in March 07: same time as Kathleen’s book) sigh….

    But as for Dodd’s Thigh High? I figured if someone stumbled on mine and gave it a whirl…cool.

    Wow, it’s good to be out in the world. I’ve been writing in a cave…
    Bonnie

  16. theo
    Sep 21, 2008 @ 21:27:05

    But Bonnie, was it a nice cave? ;-)

    nm

  17. Sherrill Bodine
    Oct 11, 2008 @ 07:31:09

    Oh, dear, both books really released within the same week?????? My original title was Recipe for Gossip, which I thought worked since the book is about Chicago’s most notorious gossip columnist who gets demoted to writing a twice weekly food column and turns it into recipes with gossipy notes. My Talk of the Town is tons of fun and honestly, I really mean it, I think my cover is going to catch the attention of more readers and jump off those book shelves. Thanks for adding stress to my launch — it makes for even more excitement! xo Sherrill

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