Overdone and Cliche Titles

Cliche titles, unfortunately, are usually not within the realm of control an author has (if traditionally published). The title is considered a part of the marketing of the book, same as the cover and back copy. The thing is, titles, same as covers, are at the whim of the current trend…and trends get old. That’s why they are a trend to begin with.

BookEnds, LLC the other day made a post about titles that are overdone and should never grace bookshelves again. Their list included:

  • SECOND CHANCES
  • anything with “DESTINY” or “CODE”
  • MIDNIGHT CROSSINGS
  • DEEP (or STILL) WATERS
  • THE LONG WAY (“ROAD” is interchangeable here) HOME
  • HOME AGAIN
  • FOOL’S GOLD
  • SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME

Their readers added such things as:

  • THE ______’S DAUGHTER
  • vague titles
  • THE _____ AND THE ____
  • anything with DARK
  • anything like THE GREEK’S MISTRESS or THE ITALIAN’S SECRET…

I am tired of such titles like:

  • TO ______ A ______ (MARRY, CATCH, LOVE, HATE, SEDUCE; DUKE, EARL, ROGUE, JERK…whatever)
  • THE _____ AND I (you guessed it: DUKE, EARL, ROGUE, JERK…)
  • anything playing with Shakespeare’s titles…MUCH ADO ABOUT YOU, THE TAMING OF THE ______
  • anything with “UNLIKELY” or “SCANDAL” or “BELOVED”
  • BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (how many beauties does it take to tame all the beasts in this world, anyway?)

What do you have to add to the list?

9 thoughts on “Overdone and Cliche Titles

  1. The ______ ______ ______ Club/Society (Friday Night Knitting, Women's Red Hat, etc)

    Any title about the Knight's Templar or Illuminati or something else riding Dan Brown's over-stretched coat-tails.

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  2. Awesome! I was led here because I specifically Googled "book title clichés," wondering if anyone else had commented about the two big ones my friend and I always joke about "The (Strange Profession)'s (Female Relative)" and "The (Thing That Isn't Usually a Club/Society) Club/Society." Glad you guys nailed it. Now the world can move on. (Right? Right?)

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  3. Actually trying to think of a cliché to title a column I am writing about the bad aspect of clichés used to make someone who is ill feel better. (Like G-d doesn't give you ore then you can handle, etc.)

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