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John Howard Reid

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John Howard Reid

214.93 Dollars. Is This a Record Price?
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BAD TITLES 2 more outsiders
by John Howard Reid   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Saturday, November 26, 2011
Posted: Monday, November 21, 2011

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The title for my biggest success as a novelist was not the one I chose. The said title was imposed on me by my publisher! How fortunate I was that he changed it!


To discover which words to avoid in your title and which words have a positive impact, Hollywood Classics Title Index is your number one choice. That link will take you to Amazon Kindle. If you prefer NOOK at Barnes & Noble: Hollywood Classics Other ebook stores such as Apple and Sony also stock this book.

For 99 cents, "Hollywood Classics..." will provide you not only with thousands of fascinating titles but names as well. Movie titles are chosen and designed for one reason only: TO HAVE SUCH A POSITIVE IMPACT THAT PEOPLE WILL BUY TICKETS!

Until now, I've wondered why some of my novels (even those with unenthusiastic reviews) achieved such spectacular sales in hardcover, they were reprinted as mass market paperbacks; while other novels that the critics hailed as masterpieces and books of the year, such as "Prophet, Priest and King", achieved almost zero sales in hardcover, and still struggle to sell a few copies a month as a paperback or an e-book. 

If this "Hollywood Classics Index..."  had been available, I would have looked up "Prophet" and seen that it was never used in a movie title. From bitter experience, I can tell you that if Hollywood regards a word as a negative word, it IS a negative word.

Once or twice, however, I did get lucky. I had a book I wanted to call, "Fast Times in Paradise". But the publisher nixed that title and, over my vigorous protests, re-named the novel, "The Last Generation". Well, would you believe, it was my biggest success! Every newspaper in the country, bar one, gave it a rave review. Two hardcover editions sold out, while paperback and large print rights were auctioned off all over Europe.

Now I discover that "last" is actually a very positive word. No less than eleven movie titles begin with "Last" and all of them were successful!

However, on the "Last Generation" front, I felt the public demanded a sequel. The publisher agreed. This time I had my way and it hit the bookshops as "Fast Times In Paradise". It bombed! 

But now I know why. "Fast" is NOT a positive word. Only ONE classic movie title begins with the word, "Fast". So "fast" is a word to avoid. 

Another "f" word that is represented by only one Hollywood title is "fair". Although there are some famous novels with this title, for instance "Vanity Fair" and "Fair Maid of Perth", it is not a word that the man or woman in the street finds attractive. In fact, when "Vanity Fair" was turned into a movie in 1935, the title was changed to "Becky Sharp". 

I see someone has complained that the first section of "Hollywood Classics Title Index to All Movies..." is just a listing of old movie titles. It is. You've got to realize how to use it. For example, here's a 1920 movie titled "The Man Who Had Everything". You could change that to "The Man Who Had Nothing", "The Man Who Had a Dream", etc.

Even more importantly, you can also see at a glance that "Man" is a word that carries enormous impact. No less than 33 movie titles begin with that word.

On the other hand, you might think of titling your book or story, "Fast Decision". On the face of it, this seems a very appealing title. But when you look it up in this book, you find that "Fast" is a word with virtually no appeal at all. Strange, but true ! Only one movie title begins with the word, "Fast", and as for "Decision", it's not listed at all!

On a positive note, how about "King of the Night"? Maybe you don't find that title appealing, but Hollywood has found otherwise. No less than twelve movies begin with the word, "King"; and no less than nineteen with the word, "Night"!


Web Site: John Reid

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