The advice, “don’t judge a book by its cover,” has outlived its usefulness.
Let’s stick with the vernacular and assume that the word “book” can be replaced by literally anything that has variable value, and whose value is not always obvious by its wrapping, covering, advertising, etc.
Let’s also (hopefully) agree that with a few possible exceptions such as people, the majority of “books” are crap.
You instantly arrive, here in the early 21st, at a situation where you have two choices: deeply evaluate every thing you put into your life before making any judgments about it, with all the time commitment and detours-of-existence this entails… or you can live your life with a few spare hours for yourself. You can’t do both.
AND SO I AM BEGGING, ALL ARTISTS OF EVERY KIND, PLEASE:
Title your works intelligently.
Your works will frequently be listed by title only. A title which stands alone, without any preview, categorization, or synopsis. Imagine that every click is a decision (it is) and an expense of hope (it is) or a transaction of expectations and reality (it is).
Ironic titles generate the wrong expectation, and if your title is offensive, you will be derided for opinions you do not espouse. Is the person issuing this derision wrong? Perhaps. But you, and anyone who could benefit from your work, are the ones being punished. If you are, for example, a music act called “Racial Purity” which is ironically named to counterpoint your unitarian lyrics, fuck you. On the basis of your name, fuck you. And that “fuck you” will be felt every time you get hungry or miss your bills, because people who would love to be paying you for your music, will speak against you in total ignorance.
And they’ll be right, because they’re speaking out against the ideas you have thus far communicated to them. They were already an audience of your thoughts at the moment they encountered your title. Your title was part of your art, and it offended them (for good reason). Faced with an artist whose first point of contact with an audience was the two-word concept, “Racial Purity,” anyone who refuses to submit attention to the music of such a band, is in the right – you, the starving artist, cannot blame a fractionally-enlightened populace for denying you of patronage, if no sane person would give your work a chance based on its title.
People no longer have time for that shit. And nobody with any sense, goes around filling their head with the detailed nuances of every god damned thing anyone happens to put in front of them. Attention is earned. With titles.