We’re all familiar with the term clickbait. It’s annoying to click on an article, only to find that it really has nothing to do with the title at all. The site logs a click. That’s the goal. No one cares if you regret the decision later.
Recently, I fell for some clickbait in the form of a book title. I was not amused.
I’m a sucker for anything Paris. My decor is heavy on the French theme. If ever you hear of me being lured into a van or down a storm drain, it won’t be puppies or candy that did the trick. It will be the promise of something emblazoned with the Eiffel Tower or the word “Paris.” So, naturally, when I see a book with the title Longing for Paris and decorated with a pink Eiffel Tower and French food and art, I’m snatching that book up. And when, on page three, the author admits the book has nothing to do with Paris, naturally, I’m abandoning that book with a feeling of betrayal.
Titles are the first thing a reader sees. They can be ironic, but they shouldn’t be downright lies. One should never take the name of Paris in vain. I’ve been to Paris twice. I long to go back. But I felt completely betrayed by this book’s title. I expected it to not be clickbait. I was wrong.
So why would an author title a book in such a misleading way? If I had to guess, I’d say for the same reason clickbait makes up misleading titles. Money. Except, in the case of a book, the author is hoping you will buy the book before realizing it wasn’t even remotely going to live up to the title.
Some people really liked this book. Others held similar feelings to mine. My goal is not to talk people into hating the book. But I do believe that a title is sacred. When it is used to mislead the reader, I have no patience for it.
Had I bought this book, I would be far more scathing in this post. However, in this case, I did not waste money on a book that had nothing to do with its title. I checked it out from the local library. I consider the library my “try-before-I-buy” resource. It’s like a safety net against clickbait titles. I have purchased plenty of books after reading them for free. This is not going to be one of them. I will be happy to return it. No harm, no foul.