Thursday, April 07, 2016

The Girl in the Title

It started with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, I think. Then there was Gone, Girl, the Girl on the Train and many, many other girls in various situations, places and circumstances, mostly with a hint of danger about them. Yes, the prevalence of the word “girl” in book titles has been apparent to us all and shows no sign of waning. And it’s not just girls. At the RNA Conference last summer Matt Bates, buyer for WH Smith Travel commented that over 60% of their best selling titles that year had a female noun in them whether it was girl, wife, mother, sister or something similar.

Choosing a title for a book is a difficult business so it’s always interesting to analyse what makes a particular theme popular. I hadn’t thought that “girl titles” were particularly applicable to historical fiction until I looked at the book charts and then I realised I was quite wrong. The Girl with No Name by Diney Costelloe is at the top of Amazon’s historical fiction charts. It has a nice, mysterious ring to it. There are others - and I've used a couple of covers to illustrate.

When will the popularity of girl titles end and what will be next? I wish I knew so I could get in first and start a trend rather than follow one.  In the meantime I'm
setting a challenge. Can we get the "girl craze" to work for Regency romance? I don’t really think the Girl and the Duke has the right nuance and if I re-titled my latest book The Girl in the House of Shadows it sounds like too much of a mouthful. Yet I feel sure we could make the “girl” trend work. So I am offering a copy of House of Shadows (without the girl) to any commenter who comes up with a good historical title featuring the word “girl” or even better re-writes a classic title in that way. When I threw down the gauntlet to my husband on this he came up with “The Girl on the Moor” which I thought was inspired. Over to you!

13 comments:

Annie Whitehead said...

The Girl with Four Sisters?

Nicola Cornick said...

Oooh, yes - very good one! You know, I was wrestling with re-writing that one myself for quite a while and couldn't come up with something anywhere near as good!

Nicola Slade said...

The Girl in a Dress Made From Curtains?

Nicola Cornick said...

Haha! I like that one, Nicola!

Nicola Cornick said...

My DH has submitted another entry - The Girl on the Harbour Wall! He is very good at this!

Elizabeth Hawksley said...

Hi Nicola. Love the suggestions. Staying with Austen, how about 'Gothic Girl wises up.' Or 'The Girl who Loved a Sailor (and the guy who swore he'd forgotten her)

Nicola Cornick said...

Great titles, Elizabeth, but I particularly like "The Girl who loved a Sailor" as that is my favourite Jane Austen book!

Elizabeth Hawksley said...

Thanks, Nicola. 'Persuasion' is my favourite Austen, too. I had real problems with 'Gothic Girl'. By itself, it sounded as if it could be about Mary Shelley. So tried some alternatives: 'Green Gothic Girl', and even 'Gormless Gothic Girl' but neither cut the mustard.

Quantum said...

Great idea for a series!

Rather like Julianne Maclean's color of Heaven series eg 'The color of Joy'.

My suggestion: The girl in the Mirror

Nicola Cornick said...

Haha! Gormless Gothic Girl! A bit harsh, perhaps, Elizabeth, but there is an element of truth in there...

Nicola Cornick said...

Hi Quantum! Yes, I like the colour titles too. That could really catch on.

Beth Elliott said...

Still with Austen: The Posh Girl and her Friend.

Nicola Cornick said...

Hi Beth! Another good one!