After the colon …

I make a point of having a rummage through the Kindle bestseller lists about once a week. These days I have noticed there is a fashion for adding something … ‘eye-catching’ I suppose is what it’s meant to be … after the title, by bunging in a colon. Neither the colon nor what follows are, actually, part of the title.

Here are the top 10 ‘after the colon’ listings this week. They comprise 10 of the top 14 books listed:

the #1 bestseller’ (well, it is, so fair enough)

a psychological thriller with a twist you won’t see coming

the gripping debut thriller everyone is raving about

the gripping thriller that everyone is talking about’

a gripping serial killer thriller

a gripping serial killer thriller’ – (yes, honestly, repeated exactly, word for word. At this point I am going to out ‘Bookouture’, the publisher of these two books by different authors, and suggest that they should get some kind of award for paucity of imagination)

the perfect feel good summer read

the gripping psychological thriller that’s got everyone talking …

a laugh-out-loud read that will put a spring in …’ (the title is so long it has dribbled off the end of the space available for it)

a shocking and compelling new crime thriller – NOT for the …’ (Again – too long, so truncated. Not for whom? My guess is that the people for whom it is not are the oh-so-clichéd ‘faint-hearted’. But we shall never know, because the number of spaces available for this tagline has been miscalculated. The book it bigs up is #30 paid for in the Kindle Store. I find this the most fascinating of the 10. Can it be the unfinished tagline that has pushed people to read it?)

The authors and/or their publishers have spotted that there is space for titles longer than they’re using and have decided to exploit this. Unfortunately, in several cases, they have bundled together so many words that important information (like which number book in which series this book is) disappears off into the ether. Which I consider silly. One of the things which irks me about Amazon’s listings is how hard it sometimes is to find the books in a series in the order in which one wants to read them. Obviously this ain’t helping.

But the thing which has impelled me to blog about it is this – is the hyperbole after the colon helping anyone establish anything? If you want a thriller, there is a category for that on Kindle. And when one goes to that genre, there are these same books again (not the romances, obviously).

If you really, really can’t let those unused spaces alone, can you and/or your publisher not find anything more original to say about your book than ‘gripping serial killer thriller’? (The two romances have done better, so the bar isn’t set absolutely at ground level.) And do you attribute your good sales to this standard, ubiquitous, hyperbole after the colon, or to the quality of the book?

Authors – do you do this? Do you believe it works?

Readers – does this inform your decision on what to read?

I would be interested to hear your thoughts, folks.



2 Responses to “After the colon …”

  1. Ruth Downie Says:

    I’ve always assumed it’s something to do with attracting the attention of search engines with keywords (which would explain why they’re all pretty much the same). But I’m only guessing. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t look good.


  2. Judi Moore Says:

    Ah – search engines. I hadn’t thought of that, Ruth. Search engines have, indeed, no imagination, but must be encouraged. I begin to see …


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