The Battle of Names and Titles

Covers aren’t usually a huge deciding factor for me. I care more about the words inside than the pictures outside. But there is one thing a cover can do that will instantly have me cringing, screeching, and hiding the offending cover behind other books:

Displaying the author’s name in a font ten times larger and bolder than the title.

Look, I appreciate that some authors are just plain awesome. But there is not a single author on earth whose book I would buy just because that author wrote it. Every book is something new, something different, something unique. Every book has its own identity. Every book has to make a name for itself.

And, for goodness’ sake, how can you expect a person to remember the title of the book when there’s a 1000-pt, extra-extra bold

AUTHOR NAME

blaring in your face and drowning it out?

Am I the only one who cares about the relative size of the title and author name? Are there any authors whose books you will buy without hesitation just because it’s written by that author?

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15 Comments

  1. Aside from Stephen King I cannot think of any author whose books I will buy just like that without reading the flip side big letters name or not. I agree with you about it though, for me the book cover and the title have to be interesting and catchy, I don’t care if the name of the writer is nowhere to be found.

  2. I learned years ago not to depend on just the author’s name. As a teenager I eagerly read everything written by Anne McCaffery after falling in love with the Pern series. Until I read the first Brainship book. Not nearly as interesting to me as Pern. Ever since then, I’m much more careful about buying books by a particular author. Now I depend on the library to give me the opportunity to read a book before I decide it’s one I want to buy and read many times. There is something to be said, though, about the size of the title vs the author’s name and how well known the author is. Bigger title = lesser-known author. Bigger author’s name = more well-known author (or one with an ego 🙂

  3. Oh, I thought I was the only one. That drives me friggin’ bonkers. I care little about what author wrote what (unless they’re a badly behaved author, in which case, they’re usually not the ones with their names outshining the title) that it gives me headaches to see. Errregh.

  4. Absolutely agree. There are a few authors I will buy and enjoy anything they write, but honestly, if I like them that much, I already know the the book is coming out. You don’t need to blast the author’s name at me to let me know.

  5. I completely agree. But, of course, you could have probably guessed that. 🙂 It drives me nuts when the author’s name is ginormous, and completely out of proportion to the size of the book and the title. Even though there are many, MANY authors I love, I never buy a book of theirs ‘just because.’ I love J.K. Rowling, but I have absolutely no inclination to read her mystery books. It’s just not my style.

    If I ever get published, I’ll make sure my name is adequately sized. Of course I’ll want people to know I wrote it, but more importantly, I just want them to enjoy a good story. Right?

  6. I’ve always had that issue with super large font for the author’s name as well. Janet Evanovich, Sue Grafton, James Patterson, etc… I don’t read these authors anyways, but I hate the big, bold “look at me!” feeling. I personally love unique covers that are catching in their own way. And a good title. Sometimes I pick up a book because I love the title. And no, I rarely get books by one specific author just because I’ve liked some of their work. The only exception to that rule has been the Richard Castle ‘Nikki Heat’ books, and even so, the one Deadly Heat seems to be written by someone else so I’m not enjoying it as much. I usually read all books first though the library before I decide I’m going to buy something. My last book that wasn’t like that was Tyler Knott Gregson’s Chasers of the Light. But it’s poetry.
    And I’m going on way too long now. I’ll stop.

      • I wouldn’t know what to do without libraries. I have been accused of living there. 🙂 But yes, I really hate to commit to a book unless I know if I’m going to like it….excluding buying a book from Amazon for a penny and paying the shipping. That doesn’t really count.

        I like how a cool book cover can help you visualize what might be going on inside. That is one reason I love finding books with the dust jacked, if it’s an older book. And the covers these days are works of art. I kind of want just the book cover. Forget the book.

  7. What a good question, Emily! I, too, have been dismayed by the blinding glittering names that jump at me from the bookshelves. But from what I understand, the author really has no say in how the cover of his or her book is designed. So like everything else, it’s probably just a result of the publishing house wanting to use the author’s credibility (or lack thereof) to measure success and bring in the dollars. But as you point out, it’s leaving so many amazing authors in the dark, literally! When all those giant gold names shine up all the light — the more decent covers are hard to see. Cheers to you for standing up for the story!

    • That’s a good point–there are a lot of authors who have no say in the design of their cover, and the publisher thinks the name will sell. It’s sad that the commercial aspect of writing a book can overwhelm the simple joy of reading. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment!

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