I really, really hate overly long book titles. This wasn’t always the case, but the hatred has been a slowly growing inevitability, as more and more of the little buggers are published and brought to my attention. I’ll admit that often on first hearing, for example, The Secret Organisation For the Development of Excellent Sponge Cake Recipes and Waistcoat Sewing Patterns, I think to myself: “Oh! Cute! I really want to read that. It sounds chirpily irreverent in a fun, non-confronting way!”
But after I’ve said and heard it a few more times I feel like I’ve already read half the book, and my interest gradually fades to the level of ‘Meh’. Then, when a bit more time has passed and I’ve possibly had to write out the title a few more times in emails or what-have-you, the ‘meh’ moves to rage. Murderous rage.
Before I know it, The Woman Who Went Skydiving and Landed In A Portuguese Pig Sty Next to A Cheese Tart Factory is filling my sleeping mind with furious, blood-fuelled nightmares of violence and revenge. I toss and turn. I wake up in the middle of the night, screaming the name of the book (which takes FUDGING FOREVER) and terrifying the cat (who, despite my best efforts, has never learnt to read and therefore doesn’t understand). “Those Of Us Who Didn’t See it Coming Decided to Eat Curried Egg Sandwiches!“ I yell, finishing on a hoarse note as my voice starts to fail toward the end. “Why? WHY?????”
So I end this rant with a plea to authors and book title designers everywhere: 3-4 words max, PLEASE! If you are not willing to do this for me (and my cat), then do it for your social media coverage. Think of it this way: the shorter your book title, the more of a tweet’s 140 characters can be given over to superlative lashings of praise for the book itself. Ancronyms are not always the best solution so don’t think you can get away with it that easily. Sure, an acronym in a tweet for Keep It Simple Stupid is great. One for Deirdre Organises Gunter’s Third Ukulele Revivalist Disco…. not so much…