Judging a book by its cover: The title (2)

Back in January, Heide and I, still in search of a title for our novel gathered all the suggested title together – the good, the bad, the mad, the inspired – and put them to our blog followers in a survey.
The results are below and they present a combination of the expected and the unexpected.

 

Awful! (0)
Not good
(1)
Okay – nothing special
(2)
A good title
(3)
Brilliant!
(4)
 Total Score
Mr Clovenhoof
0%
0%
25%
50%
25%
24
Clovenhoof
0%
0%
38%
38%
25%
23
The Life and Times of Mr Clovenhoof
0%
0%
38%
63%
0%
21
Jeremy Clovenhoof
13%
25%
25%
25%
13%
16
The Devil Next Door
38%
0%
13%
50%
0%
14
The Devil’s Party
13%
38%
38%
13%
0%
12
Welcome to Earth, Mr Clovenhoof
25%
25%
25%
25%
0%
12
Heaven Knows, Mr Clovenhoof
25%
25%
38%
13%
0%
11
Sutton, Bloody Sutton
25%
38%
25%
0%
13%
11
Satan is Coming – Look Busy
29%
29%
14%
14%
14%
11
Satan Wants Me For A Sunbeam
25%
38%
13%
25%
0%
11
Sympathy for the Devil
25%
50%
13%
13%
0%
9
The Devil Came Down to Sutton
38%
38%
13%
13%
0%
8
The Devil Moves In
38%
38%
13%
13%
0%
8
What a friend we have in Satan
25%
63%
0%
13%
0%
8
Who prays for Satan?
38%
50%
0%
13%
0%
7
Better the devil you know
25%
75%
0%
0%
0%
6
The Devil Has All The Worst Tunes
38%
50%
13%
0%
0%
6
Satan: My Happy Home
50%
38%
0%
13%
0%
6
Satan’s Coldfied
50%
50%
0%
0%
0%
4

 

Some of the stranger ideas, the oblique literary references and the obscure puns, scored badly and I kind of expected that. However, what I had not expected that the most popular ideas are also the simplest and least creative.
The top four, as you can see, are simply the main protagonist’s name. I’m in two minds about this. Such a title clearly identifies the novel and there is a old tradition of naming novels after the central character. But it is an old tradition and  a novel title like Mr Clovenhoof, whilst distinctive, is neither attention grabbing nor particularly descriptive of the story.
I am drawn to one of two conclusions:
a)      A simple title like Clovenhoof  (or Mr Clovenhoof or Jeremy Clovenhoof…) is a perfectly good title and we shouldn’t be relying on a supremely clever title to sell our novel for us.
b)      The alternatives are so awful that Mr Clovenhoof is the best of a bad bunch and the search for the perfect title must go on.
Posted in 2012, Reflections, Writing Tagged with: , ,