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.



Published by Judi Moore

Hi there, I hope you find something to interest you here. In December 2017 I published my fourth book – ‘Wonders will never cease’. It’s a satirical campus novel set in the fictional Ariel University in 1985. If you enjoyed Tom Sharpe’s Porterhouse novels, Willy Russell’s ‘Educating Rita’, David Lodge’s campus novels or Malcolm Bradbury’s ‘The History Man’ back in the day, you may enjoy revisiting the ivory towers of 1980s’ academe thirty years on. See what you think. “It is December, 1985. The year is winding gently towards its close until Fergus Girvan, a Classicist at Ariel University, finds his research has been stolen by the man who is also seeking to steal his daughter. But which man is, actually, the more unscrupulous of the two? And is there hope for either of them?” In the autumn of 2015 I published a volume of short fiction: 'Ice Cold Passion and other stories'. I am also the author of novella 'Little Mouse', a shortish piece of historical fiction which I published in 2014 and, a sequel to it, 'Is death really necessary?', my eco thriller set in the near future and which, confusingly, I published in 2009. All the books are available from all good online bookshops and FeedARead on paper, and as e-books on Kindle. On a semi-regular basis, and about a month after the event, I post here reviews which I do for Big Al & Pals, the premier reviewer of indie books, based in the States. My interests tend to thrillers, SF, magic realism and other quirky stuff. On this blog are also posted the reviews I did for Leighton Buzzard Music Club over some five years up to the end of 2015. LBMC present annual seasons of eight monthly chamber music concerts at the Library Theatre in Leighton Buzzard, Bucks. They select young musicians just beginning to make their name - and the concerts are usually magnificent. I was very proud to be associated with them. I review other music, books, theatre and exhibitions which I've particularly enjoyed. BTW - it says the link to Facebook is broken. I dispute that. Click it and see, why not?

2 thoughts on “After the colon …

  1. 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.


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