I was surprised when Amazon ‘recommended’ this title to me:
MAIL ORDER BRIDE: Sweet Wilderness Seduction By The Billionaire Cowboy Rancher (Cowboy Romance, Ranch Romance, Billionaire Stepbrother) (new adult, cowboy, billionaire, love triangle, romance)* by Catherine Walters
*from here on referred to as MOB*
WTF was my first thought. My second was, could there be any more keywords stuffed into that title and subtitle?
A quick check showed MOB runs to 44 pages: big title for a short story. In the interests of research, I downloaded. The book is 44 pages but MOB finished when my e-reader showed I was only 66% through and ‘time left in book: 15 m.’
The Book Was Made Up By:
- A page with a sign-up link, “to receive links to the hottest new romance ebooks on Kindle delivered directly to your inbox every week!”
- Two samples of stories with similarly keyword-stuffed titles
- Pages and pages of links to other stories
- An author ‘bio’ with no biographical information.
Why Is MOB’s Title So Long?
I found the answer in a book by Penny C. Sansevieri, with the punchy title, How to Sell Your Books by the Truckload on Amazon. Sansevieri contends that “Amazon is less of a store and more of a search engine.” She explains how some authors get book ideas based on popular search terms. The author checks out Amazon’s search function to see what readers are looking for. The title will be a mash-up of popular search terms which from Amazon’s side are now keywords; story, characters and plot come later.
Try it for yourself: type any of the words from MOB’s title into Amazon’s search box. You’ll see that, alone and together, they are popular search terms.
Does MOB’s Epic Title Live Up To Keyword Expectations?
There’s no step-brother, seduction or romance; it’s not sweet and the only part of the ranch that it features is a bedroom and shower en suite. A more accurate title would be: BILLIONAIRE COWBOY: Surprise Mail Order Bride, Watersports, Threesome.
Billionaire-cowboy Randy yearns for someone who can love him for himself. Enter Stacy, the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen. Despite her ‘humble breasts,’ they get along fine until she admits she knows who he is. His devastation lasts for about five seconds. Minimal foreplay is followed by mutual satisfaction.
Next morning, Stacy takes a shower and Randy rides away.
Waiting for him at home is a mail order bride. He hasn’t ordered her, but big breasted Katrina is the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen. They take long showers together. Stacy reappears for the climax.
Was There Enough Bang For My Buck?
1. The Layout
Amazon is strict about layout so it’s surprising they missed the double spacing, centered text, and lots of white space.
Randy’s mode of transportation is a horse and his trousers have a zipper. The women wear corsets and take showers.
3. Odd Sentence Construction
“Being the gentleman that he is he quieted himself and allowed the lady to speak first, “I’m Stacy.” the beautiful redhead said as she reached out her hand to shake the cowboy’s.”
4. Off-Key Descriptions
Apart from Stacy’s “humble breasts,” Randy “cringed with ecstasy” and his eyes, “appeared to be like dark, black onyx pearls that found homes in his eyes.”
“The hair product that he used made his hair shine like black onyx pearls on the top of his head.”
“His smile had a way of making women swoon, perhaps it was the dimples that came out and waved hello whenever he smiled, or maybe it was his perfectly straight teeth the (sic) shined like porcelain statues firmly planted in his mouth.”
5. Sex Minus Sexy
Before I could turn off my e-reader, Amazon asked for a review. I’m in two minds because I can’t say anything constructive. On the other hand, such a blatant piece of keyword-stuffing is both a rip-off for readers and a bad look for indie publishing – it should be called out. And there’s no need to worry about upsetting the ‘author,’ because I’m one hundred percent sure she is doesn’t exist.
YouTube Channel: Daniel Hall
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons