Sunday, 22 January 2017

Books with Girl in the title

A while ago I wrote an article for NewsWrite, The NSW Writer's Centre's membership journal, about The Girl In The Gown Phenomenon. I reposted this article on my blog, you can read more here. A few years ago, YA paranormal book covers featuring a girl in a gown so heavily saturated the market, it could have been its own genre.

And now we have a new trend. Books with 'Girl' in the title. I'm not the first to notice this trend, but it's bugging me that once something catches on, every writer and publisher follows suit to the point of saturation and ruination. It seems as if the story or the content rarely rates. It's becoming so saturated that once again the option is there to create a new genre. Think of a bookstore. They could easily fill one entire shelf with both sets of books.


Goodreads has a list of 749 books with 'Girl' on the title. Here are just a few examples.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
The Girl Who Played with Fire
Girl With A Pearl Earring
Girl, Interrupted
Gone Girl
The Other Boleyn Girl
The Girl On The Train
The Girl Who Fell From The Sky
Girls On Fire
Girls In The Dark

So where does this fascination come from? Most of these stories feature female protagonists facing a dilemma. A girl becomes a woman through experience, growth, maturity. When you strip away everything we've learned it can be said that we revert to our earlier personalities, to a time of innocence, giving up the chance to learn anew with a clean slate. Really, you can justify anything. It's a marketing ploy, just like having 'Princess' in the title was hugely popular for young female readers. 

'Girl' is a buzz word at the moment that is a proven seller. Publishers are even encouraging authors of psychological thrillers with female protagonists to put the word 'Girl' in the title, as this is a clear branding that speaks to female readers.

Buzz words - the publishing industry loves them. I once attended a convention and a publisher stated that she published the book "Jane Austen's Book Club" because it had 'Jane Austen' in the title, which to them was a proven seller. Given this information, I could combine all three elements and create a best selling book "The Girl Who Was Jane Austen".

 
Booklist created this list of all the titles with 'Girl' in the title since 2009. You can read the full list here.

So, given that it's a buzz word and a title that sells books, perhaps I should retitle my books.

"The Girl Who Woke Up In Purgatory"
"Feedback Girl"
"Little Red Gem Girl"
"Curious Girl"
 "Poison in the Girl"
"Welcome to the Apocalypse, Girl".

What do you think? Is the overuse of the word 'Girl' in the title ruining it for readers, or do we have no choice but to get caught up in the use of  publishing buzz words. Have you titled your book with 'Girl' and did you feel pressure to do so or were you happy with your title choice.

I love hearing your thoughts on this topic. It doesn't seem to be slowing down, but what are your fears about the future of this buzz word?

2 comments:

  1. The Girl who was Jane Austen in a Gown?
    I have just one "Girl" book;... 1994's Country Girl.
    I noticed something odd when I was researching a book set partly in the 1950s and 60s a few years back. Women referred to their male friends as "boys" as in... I'm seeing a boy in his 30s...

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    1. Maybe the next buzz word in publishing will be titles with 'Boy' as in Little Boy Blue, The Boy who Grew Up, Miami Boy, Soldier Boy, Zombie Boy (ooh I like that one). I could go one...
      Thanks for dropping by my blog to read my post.

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