Subtitles on Cover

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sandree

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I am working on my own cover for self publishing and am wondering about something. I see quite a few book covers that have the simple subtitle “A Novel”. This seems fairly self evident so why is it so common? I have a spot on my cover that is begging for some sort of copy - I was going to use “A Colonization Story” but not sure if that is quite right (it is a sci fi - duh - colonization story) but I don’t feel it is very important to state that on the cover. It is more of a design decision - just needing some text to balance the design. Any thoughts on using the very generic “A Novel” subtitle?
 

KMTolan

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You'd be better served with a clever little sentence describing the theme or story of your book, me-thinks. Something to draw a reader in.
 

Toothpaste

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"A Novel" tends to be used more for lit fic, or general fiction. It's not as common in speculative fiction. Also I have to admit reading "A colonization novel" made my stomach clench. I take it you mean that people are going to a planet or something to colonize it? But for me I think of colonization on Earth, you know that whole horrible part of our history where white people took over the countries belonging to the people who lived there and pretty much destroyed them? Not the best word I think to put on a cover. I think it might be a good idea to come up with a catchy one-liner that better describes your book: "New planet, new life, new love?" That sort of thing (but, you know, better ;) ).
 

sandree

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Yes - I think there is that connotation with the word colonization which would be absolutely wrong for this book. I would love to use - “wherever you go, there you are” but it was the title of the Jon-Kabat Zinn book though I do think it might be in the public domain as it is variously attributed to Confucius (though that real quote from Confucius might be “wherever you go, go with all your heart”) and Buckaroo Banzai, Alcoholics Anonymous and lots of other folks. I’m not sure how that works... Would it now be copyrighted by Jon Kabat-Zinn?
 

frimble3

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How about "New Planet, New Life, Same Old Problems". Or "Same Old 'Character's Name'"
 

kevinwaynewilliams

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Very few novels need a subtitle, and even fewer cover designs do. I would rethink. If you decide you must have one, remember that the goal is to get the reader to open your book and read a few pages, so it should be something that makes them curious. "A Novel" fails at that goal. Sometimes, an alternate title works ("Slaughterhouse Five" originally had "A Children's Crusade" as its subtitle, for example, and who could forget "Doctor Strangelove -or- How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb"?) so you might want to go that way.
 

dpaterso

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Whenever I see "Wherever you go, there you are" I think of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.

Might something grand like, THE CHRONICLES OF TAU CETI COLONY: BOOK ONE fit? (or wherever it takes place) Wild shot in the dark. Heck, something like that might tickle my interest.

-Derek
 

CathleenT

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Seconding the tagline suggestion that toothpaste made. When I see "A Novel" on the cover, I usually think lit fic.
 

rosemary1023

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Sometimes when people think "this will fit in there" it's because they've been staring at it too long and need to step away, lol. Simplicity is best. Sometimes more works out, but you don't want to crowd things. If you add a subtitle, it should be something like, for example, the Alien movie poster "in space no one can hear you scream". Brief and relevant.
 

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