Rhys here, home at last from a whirlwind speaking trip and trying to catch my breath--oh, and
get back to the small matter of a deadline...So I'm thinking about titles and what buzz words make people pick up a book. I've heard that words like blood and bones make mysteries sell better. And I guess that food in the title does well too. And knitting and quilting.
I know I'm attracted to books with unusual titles, like "the Shape of Water."
And what about blogs? I believe we've found that the buzz words "Yard sale" have generated the biggest interest in our blog so far. More even than "sex" or "chocolate". Interesting. So what makes you read a blog? Buy a book?
HANK: First we had Water for Elephants. Then the Elegance of the Hedgehog. Secret Life of Bees. Maybe we should all think of weird animal titles. I like clever. That's what does it for me.
In fact, I'm always thinking of titles. My brain is consumed with it. I'll hear a little random snippet of conversation--like someone says, "well, that was the end of my interest in etc..." and my brain picks it out. Mulls it over.
I'll think "End of My Interest." Hmm. Is that a title for something? Right now I'm trying to make something out of Voir Dear. (Is that too insiderly double-meaningy? Maybe..a short story about a woman who sees her ex-husband on a jury? Hey. Don't steal it. Mine.)
HALLIE: Darned. I liked that.
When talk turns to title my mind turns to "Eats Shoots and Leaves"...the clever book title from a fairly serious book about punctuation. Talk about a great title--I mean, a book about grammar and punctuation on the best seller list? Another great title: "See Jane Run". Beats me as to why, but it is. And I'm partial to Sharyn McCrumb's title "Bimbos of the Death Sun".
ROBERTA: It's been proven that I stink at titles--I've never had one accepted by the publisher that I actually thought of. I fought hard for DEADLY ADVICE to be LINE IN THE SAND, but it wasn't judged mysterious enough. To Rhys's question, I think titles with blood and guts put me off. And not that crazy about punny names, though my stable is full of those horses:)
JAN: I love a title that gets to the essence of the book in a not-on-the-nose way, so I'm not crazy about mystery titles with Death or Murder in the title. Too easy. I know she hated it at first, but I've really come to like Rosemary's The Big Dirt Nap. Something amusing and ominous about it.
RHYS: I've been quite lucky with my titles. I've only had to change one or two during my mystery writing career. I have to say I got a little weary of all those Evan puns and wished I hadn't started along that route because it made the books sound cozier than they were. But I'm now very tempted to call my next book "Blood and Bones with the pandas at the Yard Sale."
RO: I'm with Jan on Death and Murder in the title..although the book I'm I'm working on has Dead in the title (DeadHead) and I seem to like it fine! I also agree with Rhys on animals..look at how well Silence of the Lambs did. (People should ask me anything this morning, I'm feeling very agreeable..) It's hard to tread that line between clever and cutesy. BTW Before The Big Dirt Nap was TBDN someone wanted to call it Stalking the Corpse Flower. How awful is that? Any other near disasters?