CONVERSATION: Cover Art and Title Trends
Recently, Jayne, myself and a friend of ours (someone who writes grammar textbooks) had this conversation:
Jayne: I just started The Ex Hex and am hoping for a cutesy rom-com. We’ll see what I get.
Janine: Have you noticed how The [Adjective] [Noun] titles have become a trend in contemporary romances with illustrated covers? And the noun is generally not a person or place but a thing. The adjective is often, but not always, where the thing that’s related to romance comes in, i.e., “Love,” “Ex,” “Wedding,” “Kiss,” “Bride,” “Heart”. Probably it was the popularity of The Wedding Date and The Kiss Quotient that did it.
Jayne: Yep, you’re right. But if it’s British then the title usually has something like Rosie’s Traveling Tea Shop or The Little Theatre on the Seafront or Christmas Wishes at Pudding Hall along with a cartoon cover.
Unless it’s a British WWII trilogy about 3 (sometimes 4) best friends (or found friends) all going off to work in the munitions factory or aircraft factory or as Land Girls, which [books] are usually described as a “totally heartbreaking saga” or “utterly heartbreaking saga” with the last being a “completely heartbreaking saga” that have covers of our 3-4 girls in their work uniforms, arms linked while they walk down the center of a street with Spitfires flying overhead.
Janine: LOL! If I were drinking something I’d be spitting it out.
Our Friend: The Love Hypothesis, The Wedding Date, The Kiss Quotient, and The Ex Hex are not pure adjective+noun; in each case the word being used as the adjective (love, wedding, kiss, ex meaning ex-spouse or lover) is ordinarily used as a noun. Such usages are sometimes called noun adjectives and are an interesting property of English–I could be wrong, but I don’t believe you could do the same in Spanish or French, for example; you would have to use a prepositional phrase.
Is that what you meant–titles that are noun adjectives + nouns?
Titles with real adjectives used as adjectives before nouns could be The Romantic Hypothesis, The Important Date, and so on.
Janine: Yes, what a perfect description! I have to say that those alternative titles aren’t nearly as catchy or cute. I think that distinctive grammatical structure is a big part of why the trend jumped out at me.
What about you, readers? Which title and cover trends jump out at you? Do any of them tempt you enough that you’ve purchased more than one such book? Do any of them make you wince? And what are your favorite/least favorite covers, titles, and books within those trends?