While staying home as much as possible lately, I have been taking on-line writing classes and attending virtual conferences. A ton of new ideas about the craft and business have opened my eyes to all the possibilities for my stories. I have lots to do. Some of it I post here to share and to help myself remember what I’ve learned.
During two different presentations, the authors talked about tropes and titles. Remember a trope puts something readers enjoy into the story so they will pick it up. One trope is Secret Baby. Other popular tropes are: Royalty, Dogs (or Cats), Marriage of Convenience. There’s a long list of potential tropes that can be found in any internet search. I posted some site links in my previous blog on August 16 (https://louisebergin.wordpress.com/2020/08/16/tropes-and-conflict/ )
By putting the trope in the title, the author alerts readers who might enjoy that type of story. However, trope titles can be terrible sounding. Their purpose is to offer great advertising, not win awards, and putting your trope in the title helps with your internet searchability.
Don’t be shy about using a subtitle either. The trope can appear in the main title or the subtitle. The point is you want it front and center.
An example of a trope title I thought of (not meaning to copy from anyone) is Governess Tames Duke. Without using a subtitle, there are at least three tropes in that three word title: governess, duke, historical romance. You could even make a case that the story is an erotic romance or a retelling of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. The fact that it could be an erotic romance or a retelling or both shows when this trope title breaks down. The reader doesn’t know for certain which she’s getting, but there are enough tropes in the title to attract her initial attention.
Tropes also provide clues in the cover art. I’ve learned a few tips, such as a man without a shirt on the cover can signal a steamy romance, while one wearing a shirt can mean a sweeter romance. This is not rule cast in stone, but it is a way of telling the readers what the story’s heat level is. Covers are not just pretty pictures; they have a job to do—attract readers. The right title with the trope plainly spelled out can do the same.