The title, like the cover, must immediately communicate the story’s genre, hint at the plot, and generate curiosity that quickly entices readers to pick it or click it. Besides that, it must be original, clever, memorable, and unique enough to appear at the top of the list when a potential reader does an online search for the book.
Choosing a book title that does all of this is not for the faint of heart. I now know this firsthand, as I chose the title of my first novel, Dust Bunnies and Dead Bodies, only after I was swept up by a veritable “title wave” of ideas.
Rebecca assured me the playful name fulfilled all the requirements of an effective title. It was unique, memorable, snappy, and perfect for the genre by making it obvious that the story was a funny, quirky, warm … and cozy ... mystery-whodunit—containing nothing too intense or too violent, and certainly not for the reader to witness first-hand. True, the mystery involved a tiny bit of murder, but it’s part of the cozy fabric and mostly all in fun.
The final consideration in picking Dust Bunnies and Dead Bodies for the title was the contrast it suggested between small-town hominess and big-town crime.
So . . . I’m wondering, what do you think? Is the workhorse pulling its weight?
In brief, the story is set in Elmwood, Indiana, an idyllic little town (not unlike the Indiana town I call home), where nothing bad ever happens … or not that anyone would notice unless they’re really paying attention. The last time anyone paid attention was twenty-one years ago during the summer of ’93, when the high school’s star football player died of heatstroke and the nerdy team manager vanished without a trace. Eventually, the people of Elmwood moved on, unaware that inches below the town’s Arcadian veneer a pot full of bad continued to brew. That is, until a few days ago, when Gertie Tyroo, Elmwood’s snoopiest and older-than-dirt cleaning lady, found the pivotal clue to the missing boy’s disappearance, as well as the motive for his murder in one of her client’s drawers. Pity she was attacked in her living room and left for dead, or she would have done what she usually does with important news tips … she’d have passed it on to the Elmwood Gazette’s editor, Crystal Cropper. “Crime bustin’,” as Sheriff Verlin Wallace likes to call it, is second nature to his life-long pal, Crystal. He’s always the first to admit that the woman’s got a nose for a news and a habit of sticking it into places that smell a lot like the leftovers shoved to the back of her fridge. Problem is, one of these days, what she sniffs out might end up killing her. And this just could be one of those days.
I hope you will sniff out my book, Dust Bunnies and Dead Bodies, when it is released in October 2014, and I hope you will love it. It will be available in print and ebooks on amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and kobo.
In the meantime, you can read the first chapter here on my website. If you do, I invite you to say hi and leave a note below in the comments section. You can also keep the conversation going on Facebook and Twitter, and I hope you will.
Thank you! Please come back soon. — Janis