Carrying a Book’s Theme Too Far?

Imagine that you are shopping for a Halloween book – ghost stories or puzzles with a Halloween theme, for example. You find a book that catches your interest and pull up the blurb. How would you react if the blurb reads with a Halloween theme? For example, the description may include phrases of the sort, “will chill you to the bone,” “great for entertaining vampires,” or “ghosts may or may not be included with purchase.”

When you explore the Look Inside, the copyright statement might include a remark like, “If you copy any portion of this book without the author’s express written consent, you will be cursed for thirteen years.”

Or maybe you’re buying a romantic nonfiction relationship book, where the copyright statement includes a statement like, “If you abide by the terms of this copyright agreement, the author will love and cherish you always and forever.”

An author of a Christmas-related book might include “Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!” and other holiday remarks on all online posts in the fourth quarter, and wear a Santa hat for personal marketing endeavors.

The end of a humorous book might suggest that if readers leave any reviews, to please consider trying to make their reviews funny. Or if they tell any friends about the book, try to do so in a funny way. That is, the author may even try to carry the theme into the fans. Why not? Look at the Trekkies.

What if a zombie apocalypse novelist uses make-up to look the part at a signing or reading? Or for a vampire book, just imagine the author being wheeled onto the stage, riding in a coffin.

Is this going too far? Does it convey the author’s passion? If an author can make boring statements on the copyright page enjoyable to read, does that bode well for the rest of the book? Are such samples of creativity good?

What do you think?

Chris McMullen, author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers, Vol. 1 (formatting/publishing) and Vol. 2 (packaging/marketing)

7 comments on “Carrying a Book’s Theme Too Far?

  1. I think it could work for younger audiences more than adult audiences. It does show passion and creativity, but that can be mistaken for juvenile immaturity by more serious readers. Though, I can see some genres doing better with it for all audiences. Out of your examples, Romance would be the only one I’d be iffy one. Comedy, holidays, and zombies have a level of humor or theme that can work to this idea’s advantage. As for the zombies, there is a level of camp that allows you to get away with silly stuff.

    • I think you’re right about it depending on the genre, and the possible mistake of immaturity; and also about kids or parents appreciating this more for juvenile books. In my example, I didn’t mean a romance novel. I’ve seen some “silly” romantic nonfiction books with relationship advice and whatnot; that’s what I had in mind. If they are already somewhat silly or humorous, it might go over better. Thank you for contributing your great ideas. Are you counting down to chow time?

      • Ate about an hour ago. Overdid it and now I’m groggy and bloated.

        The silly genres are the ones that would get away with this. I guess you could sneak one or two of these things into a more serious ‘fringe’ genre like sci-fi or fantasy. I see odd dedications all the time.

  2. On a semi-related note, I’ve had the weird feeling that the reason that all my reviews are three star or better is that people identify me with my narrator and are afraid to leave a bad review. I mean, would you want to make Catskinner upset?

  3. Like Charles mentioned above, unless it’s a kids’ book (MG or younger), the copyright page ought to be all business. I suppose the idea of how far is to far too take the theme really depends on the fans and their relationship with the material.

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