by Mindy McGinnis
As I was recently typing up a letter to promote NOT A DROP TO DRINK to public libraries in Ohio, I made the super-duper mistake of not having my critique partner look it over before printing out 250 copies. That was a big oops, and more details can be found here. After coming to my senses and having R.C. Lewis take a look at everything, she pointed out something that technically isn't wrong... but to some people might seem not quite right.
It seems that pretty much everyone in the industry uses ALL CAPS when typing a title. I see it in emails from my editor, my agent, and fellow authors as well. Putting the title in CAPS is pretty much the norm for us, and I don't give it a second thought when hitting the Caps Lock key. What I don't think about is how people outside the industry might perceive that choice.
R.C.'s comment made me think back to when I first started rollicking around writer's sites and blogs. I remember seeing people putting their own titles in CAPS and thinking, "Geez, really?" It seems almost pretentious to wholly capitalize your own title. What are you trying to prove? What are you saying? Do you think this makes your title stand out from the rest of the text? Is this a marketing move?
Years of absorbing the culture now has me capitalizing myself all over the place, which no one seems to mind. Yet, what will someone on the outside think if they get a promotional letter from me in which it seems that I'm SCREAMING MY TITLE INTO THEIR FACE? Will they think I'm pretentious? Bold? Full of myself? Will they know that this is just how it's done?
I'm not sure. I'm so unsure of how this would be perceived by those outside of publishing that I took R.C.'s advice and decided to italicize my title in the promotional letter.
What do you think? Is ALL CAPS abrasive, or is this something even people outside of the industry take in stride?
Mindy McGinnis is a YA author and librarian. Her debut, Not a Drop to Drink, is a post-apocalyptic survival tale set in a world where freshwater is almost non-existent, available from Katherine Tegen / HarperCollins September 24, 2013. She blogs at Writer, Writer Pants on Fire and contributes to the group blogs Book Pregnant, Friday the Thirteeners, From the Write Angle, The Class of 2k13, The Lucky 13s & The League of Extraordinary Writers. You can also find her on Twitter, Tumblr & Facebook.