>Today I received an e-mail from Amazon regarding what they believe are the best books of April. I clicked on it, saw eight book covers with the titles listed underneath. I won’t list them all here, but the thing I found odd was that five of the eight had “a novel” as part of the title. I kid you not. As in Title, A Novel by (Author Name), Title, A Novel by (Author Name), etc. I looked a little closer at the tiny thumbnails, then clicked on the remaining three with suspicious smudges below the title. Sure enough, those also proclaimed “a novel” under their titles.
I’ve seen those words on a book before, but it was the saturation of them in this e-mail that made me stop and wonder why. Hmm.
Do these author’s not normally write novels?
Or perhaps the publishers had a plethora of folks calling/writing/e-mailing about the last bunch of books they put out, wondering if they were actually novels vs…non-fiction?
I suppose another possibility could be that the “dumbing down of America” syndrome has convinced the publishers that we need to be told this book we’re picking up is actually a work of fiction. Of course, one would think that would be obvious by it’s location in the library or bookstore. Then again, books do find their way to display tables and endcaps away from their normally designated places.
Next, I checked my bookshelf. Erotic romances, series romances, historicals, YA, chick lit, romantic suspense and fantasy. Not an “a novel” among them added on to the title. Just as I’m thinking it must be genre fiction that esscapes this phenomenon, I pick up four titles that I consider to be a bit more literary in tone. All four have the insidious phrase on them. Maybe I’m on to something. Maybe it’s the separation of literary from commercial fiction.
Upstairs I dash to check out a few more on another bookshelf. (Yes, like most writers, I cling to more books than I should.) I check titles by Allison Brennan, Nora Roberts, Patricia Cornwell, Tami Hoag, Deborah Smith and Virginia Ellis. Some have the phrase, some don’t, but the ones that do all seem to be from Ballentine, yet all the books overall that have the phrase aren’t from that publisher.
I confess. I’m stumped. Am I the only one who doesn’t know this?
Why do some book titles proclaim their contents to be “a novel” and others don’t? Anyone?
Come on. Help me out here!