Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Wednesday's Post: A Gripping Read

I don't actually expect that any of you will find this post gripping in the least, but I wanted to see if using the word gripping in the title actually does attract readers. 

You see, I've been noticing lately that a lot of authors/publicists are referring to books as 'gripping' these days.  In the title, no less.  And basically what I've found is that when I read a book that refers to itself as gripping, it usually isn't.  Or at least not as gripping as the name implies.  Which, in my opinion, is a total letdown.

It's like roadside diners with a sign that says 'Good Food' out front.  In my experience, the restaurants that feel the need to say they have good food inside rarely do. 

So, what is it about the word gripping that seems to draw people in?  I mean, it must work or it wouldn't be such a noticeable trend.  (Maybe I'm the only one noticing it.)

Another, similar word I've seen, albeit not as much, is riveting.  Alas, I am rarely riveted by these books. 

If your book is truly gripping or riveting, you shouldn't need to say it.  Your reviewers will say it for you.  One hopes your blurb will hint at how the reader will be gripped or riveted and then they'll buy your book and find out. 

Or, to use an old maxim from the writing world, Show Don't Tell.  Show me that your book is gripping, don't tell me that it is. 

Jus' sayin'.


  1. This dips into that whole "let's put every SEO search term in the title" trend that absolute drives me bonkers! I REFUSE to read a book whose author resorts to that ploy. I agree completely--let the reviews by actual readers speak for the work because, enthralling, intriguing, spellbinding, engrossing, bewitching, ad nauseum, I'm going to bet the price of the book that it isn't any of those adjectives.

    Just my 2 cents worth.

  2. Agreed. I don't even trust the reviewers' quotes on the covers anymore. If you need to say it, it probably ain't.

  3. But surely the job of a title is to catch the eye?
    If "Gripping" does that job, then what is wrong with it? I would use "Gripping" for the title of a book involving mountain climbers, and "Riveting" if the book involved engineering.