Is It REALLY a “Novel” Idea?

Many times when I tend to my ebook addiction and scroll through hundreds of titles to download a few dozen books, I find something that I think is odd: book titles such as “Vampires: A Novel,” “Romance: A Novel,” and “Meat Cleavers: A Novel.” Obviously, these titles aren’t exactly real (Although, I didn’t do a search ahead of writing this, so I suppose they could be real. If they are, please don’t sue me. I don’t have anything).

What’s my beef? I don’t necessarily get the “A Novel” part. I thought the fact that it was a novel was implied by the number of pages and the fact that it’s one continuous, fictitious story? What makes more sense is to find titles such as “Vampires: An Anthology,” or “Meat Cleavers: A Musical.” These denote something different from the norm, with the norm being the novel. So why do authors do this? I know it sounds like I’m hating on these people and their books, but actually, this is a cry for help. See, I don’t enjoy hating on something blindly and ignorantly. I like to have all the facts. So, if there’s a reason why authors add the “A Novel” at the end of their titles, I demand to know about it! I would appreciate an answer to this so I can either understand the phenomenon or continue hating, but in a more educated and informed manner. Thank you and good day.

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29 thoughts on “Is It REALLY a “Novel” Idea?

  1. It’s tantamount to having a byline that reads “Joe Schmoe, a Noob.” It’s amateurish and shouldn’t be done for the reasons you cite. If they don’t know it’s a novel, you did it wrong.

  2. I’m not sure why people would insist on clarifying a book is a novel, but I agree that it is the sign of an amateur. Some subtitles are understandable (like with Animal Farm: A Fairy Story; in that case, claiming it is purely fictitious was a defense for the author), but adding “A Novel” to a title doesn’t add anything.

  3. I plan on adding “A Novel” to any books I write (which will most likely be zero). Mostly because it will be easier and less confusing for other takes on my story to branch out; movies, tv shows, kid stories, radio programs, and pamphlets. So when you see on the big screen “The Amazing MJ: A Movie,” you know to look for my book under “The Amazing MJ: A Novel.”

  4. Hmmm, perhaps it’s time I use a bit of self-description. From now on, I will be Carrie: A Woman. And I think I’ll title my next book Novel: A Novel.

    Great ideas you’ve given me. 🙂

    • That’s what I thought at first too, but then it goes back to page count, no? I can ascertain which one I’m getting based on whether it’s 100 pages or 279 pages. Also, I think it would make more sense to use “A Novella” as a tagline, rather than “A Novel.” If you use the “A Novel” tagline, I hope I didn’t offend you.

      • I actually hadn’t really thought that far ahead. 🙂 I just thought that maybe for some readers who don’t really know the difference of a novel versus a novella (which wouldn’t some romance aka Harlequin novels be novellas?) I dunno. I guess I hadn’t really given it much thought. Since I’m writing a series, I’m calling it the Hayden Series. Maybe that’s another reason why they put “A Novel” because it’s not a series and only a single book?

      • Maybe. I just thought of another instance where it makes sense. If the title is something that sounds like non-fiction. Like, “George Washington: A Novel.” That way readers know not to expect a a memoir or biography or whatever, right?

  5. Going against the grain, as an author who DID include that in their title (Gifted, a Donovan Circus Novel), I’ll defend at least my reasoning: I did it because my book is a series. “Gifted” was a pretty broad term and already the title of other books, so I didn’t want it to get lost. Plus, I wanted to include the circus part so it’d be easily recognizable. This way when people search for my books (when I have more up, that is), they’ll know they’re part of that story group.

    • I understand that. I believe I replied to another comment above that when it’s part of series tagline, like ”A Detective Bob Novel,” it’s acceptable. Thanks for stopping by and good luck with your books!

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