Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Spring Edition: Title Trends!

Last November I did a post where I analyzed titles of just-released books for hidden messages trends. The findings were eye-opening, the discovered theme a bit depressing, and my sleuthing methods totally unscientific. I swear, I have no idea how I passed my statistics class.

Anyway, because the trend of the November titles were a wee bit...dark, I wanted to recreate this mission to see if trends for the 2012 Spring titles were different. And so here we are. *waves* *winks* *realizes you can't see me wink because I'm wearing dark sunglasses while sitting inside a darkened coffee shop and not looking AT ALL suspicious*

Find out if subliminal messages exist in book titles.
Free will. The power of our mind. Coolness factor. Duh.
Collect the titles from YA books released in the months of March, April, and May. These months are what we like to call, Spring. Or, for any of you allergy sufferers out there, the Three Months of Pollen-Induced Hell. Then, I Wordled the titles, downloaded some new Java application so I could actually see the Wordle cloud, and made the colors prettier than the default gray and brown (I mean, really? Gray and brown? Blech!).
Out of all 95 books released* this Spring, there were two words that featured prominently in the Wordle cloud:

You see, this is sort of funny because in November, there were also two prominent words. They were DARK and LAST. Obviously this means things in Spring are TOTALLY DIFFERENT than they were back in November because LOST is so much happier than the depression that comes with a word like DARK. I mean, LOST at least gives you the impression that it might actually be found. Whereas DARK is just...dark, you know? Plus there was this really popular show called LOST, so there's probably definitely a subliminal reaction you have when you read/see/hear the word LOST, which probably definitely causes your brain to fire images of complexity and plot and intrigue and confusion and black smoke and...wait -- why are you shaking your head so much? You're not buying what I'm selling? 

Fine. Here are some other things I found out from the 95 titles.

34 only had one word
6 included some form of color
4 described "light" specifically (Glimmer, Shine, Illuminate, etc)
19 had dark and/or stalker-ish themes (Ripper, The Hunt, The Stalker Chronicles, etc) 
7 titles included pronouns (you, me, he, she, I, etc)
37 titles with 3 or more words
4 alliterative titles

Now, here's where things get interesting...when I compare Spring's titles against November's, the numbers are pretty even in comparable categories. For example, here are the comparisons for the trendiest categories in Spring's titles:

One word titles
Spring: 36%
November: 34%

Dark themes
Spring: 20%
November: 21%

Three or more words
Spring: 39%
November: 30%

So, bottom line is that I don't think the seasons have much to do with whether titles trends are dark or light or rainbow-colored or polka-dotted. But I do think title-naming trends exist and are cyclical. My prediction? I think we're going to see a decline of the one-word title and a rise of longer titles as the one-worders start blurring together and editors and readers start craving specificity. What do you think? Anyone else notice any other title trends in this year's Spring releases?

*Titles used were found through Goodreads and may not include ALL books released during the month.


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