I've been reading and writing category (series) romances for most of my life, and I love them. They're my favorites because they're mostly focused on relationships. But the biggest complaint I've heard about the genre over the years is the trite and repetitive titles. Publishing houses often demand what they call a "hook" in the title. Pretty self-explanatory, I guess. They want titles that hook the readers by specific themes or subject matter. Some common examples are virgins, brides, cowboys, secret babies, millionaires, and all manner of royalty. Every reader has preferences and marketing statistics prove that the"hooks" really do sell more books.
My funniest experience with hooks was with one of my romantic suspense stories, UNDERCOVER VIRGIN. I like to tell people the heroine wasn't a virgin until she went to New York. LOL. The senior editor who bought the book said it needed a hook. She asked me to revise so that my heroine was a virgin. Okay, then. I hadn't addressed the subject in the original story, but I made a (brief) mention of it to secure the contract.
And, for totally promotional purposes, I'll mention that the ebook format of this story is currently priced at $1.99. Harlequin is having a special October sale. You can check it out at eharlequin.com and you can click this link to buy the Kindle version of UNDERCOVER VIRGIN .
So, what are your favorite themes? I confess to being a sucker for cowboys and reunion stories. I'm also very fond of marriages-of-convenience. What "hook" gets your attention? Or do the "hooks" just annoy you? Let us know.
Until next time, take care and keep reading!