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Choosing a Series Title

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on September 3, 2013

Choosing a title for your new mystery series is a critical factor. This title has to hook the reader, give an inkling what the series is about, and spark your interest for years to come. As the author, you’ll be living with this series umbrella title for a long time. You may build a logo around it, add it to your signature lines, and see it on every subsequent book that comes out in this series. Thus it should be a title you love and one that resonates in your mind.

Considering the above advice, I need help choosing a series title for my indie mysteries. I’m not going to tell you the main premise, because I want you to look at this as you might my front cover, where it says A XXX Mystery. Which choice below pops out at you and holds the most appeal? Discussion is welcome.

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20 Responses to “Choosing a Series Title”

  1. My choice of Concierge just said it all… my other option would have been the character’s name but that doesn’t tell you who or what she is. Shana Tova to you and the whole family.

  2. I chose A Clever Concierge Mystery and to me, the title says who and what and almost tells you that the concierge mystery will be doing some crime solving/sleuthing due to her cleverness. Some of the other titles sounded to me like they would be the title for a book about escort services, or more. Sorry, but that is how those titles steered my brain. 🙂

    Concierge employees know a lot about the guests. the hotel, the area itself and what is going on around her/him all the time, and from that I can see how that could work out very well with a mystery.

  3. Barbara Grenier said

    I haven’t decided yet. At the moment the first one leads. Some folks might not know what a concierge is. My first thought is those women in France who you have to tip. Gee, you have to tip to pee. Not the titles with Girl, sexist, Helping Hands sounds Amish or 4H. Not the ones with Friend. If you go with Service leave off the A. Of the two I like A La Carte the best. Personal Assistant, No.

    • Thanks, your comments help. I was thinking young people might not know what a Girl Friday means. As for France, I’d think of those restroom women as attendants. Concierge implies more personal service, at least to me.

  4. I like a combo of two: A Clever Concierge: A Keri Armstrong Mystery. I think the protagonist’s name needs to be in the series title.

  5. I voted for the first one–the name of the character. To my mind, what makes a mystery series memorable is the main character, and I tend to remember characters by name. If I’m browsing, I’m more likely to think, “Keri Armstrong–yeah, I remember her” than remember who “the Concierge” is.

    “Girl For Hire” “Helping Hands” and “Service With A Smile” all seem to be to be too prone to misinterpretation.

  6. Marcia said

    I remember character names or place names. I went with Keri Armstrong, because it is a name that would stick in my mind. My favorite series pretty much all go that route, like The Leandros Brothers series (sometimes labeled a Cal Lenadros book), the Dresden Files, a Toby Daye series, Jane Yellowrock series, etc. (Which do you remember, The Southern Vampire Series or Sookie Stackhouse?) If not the individual character, then the name of the “group” involved, like The Raven Boys. For me, it is far more memorable. (I agree with Misha, totally). Anything else is cute, but will it stick with the readers? Maybe, maybe not. The character likely will. Just my own thoughts, is all. 🙂

    • Marcia said

      BTW, I linked my book with the location, Darcy’s Corner, because it isn’t a true series, and any other books I write in the mountains will only have the little town of Darcy’s Corner in common. So I couldn’t go with a character name. But if I were featuring the same players, I would have.)

      • I may have more limited choices. I Googled those titles above and a business exists with one of those names. So it’s likely I will eliminate that one to be on the safe side. Or maybe I won’t put a series title on the first book at all, wait until I write the second one. We’ll see. I appreciate your opinion.

  7. Thank you for your votes and comments. I am unsure which of the most popular titles I will choose, but your valuable input has told me which ones NOT to select! I appreciate your feedback.

  8. I struggle with titles for my series. My publisher came up with “Mustang Sally.” By the time I wrote the third, Rebuild My World, my Sally character was nowhere to be seen. Oh, well. Now I’m writing a new romance series and playing around with the title “Drake Springs” series since that’s the little town in which it’s set. But that isn’t cast in cement.

    Or maybe I’ll copy your idea and post a poll!

    • A poll is helpful in eliminating prospects. Now I can see which titles are unpopular and drop them from consideration. Here’s another tip: Do a web search first. I found out there is a Clever Concierge business and she’s a personal concierge. Not wishing to invite trouble, I will drop that series title. Too many Girl Friday businesses out there too, and even a real Keri Armstrong. However, there is no Keryn Armstrong spelled that way when I do a search, and so my series might be named after the sleuth. I like your Drake Springs title but make sure no one else has it. Also see if the domain name is taken.

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