- It has to represent the story: "I want a title that is unique and meaningful to not just a line in the book, but to the entire story," says Ganshert, who is looking for a title "chock-full of meaning".
- It has to be intriguing: "I don't want it to sound like a million other titles already published on Amazon. I look for something different. Original. Not cliche. Something that elicits a sense of intrigue," says Ganshert, who used an example of SUMMER SNOW (juxtaposition of snow in summer catches attention).
- It has to sound good: "Titles shouldn't make tongues twist or noses wrinkle. They should be pleasing to read and say," says Ganshert, who is a fan of alliterative titles.
Here are some of the most recent books I've read:
- SIX SECONDS by Rick Mofina (currently reading) - a geopolitical thriller. Clearly, six seconds refers to a race-against-the-clock aspect of the novel, although I haven't yet discovered if there is any secondary or layered meaning to the title also.
- THE AFFAIR by Lee Child - a prequel to the Jack Reacher series, where Reacher is still an Army MP, involved in a murder case outside an army base in America's rural South. The title is simple, not that unique, but can denote a couple of different things about the book.
- THE ACCIDENT by Linwood Barclay - another terrific 'suburban suspense' novel, that is kickstarted by, you guessed it, an accident (a DUI traffic accident) - but is it an accident?
- RETRIBUTION by Val McDermid - the latest Tony Hill and Carol Jordan book, which sees the return of serial killer Jacko Vance who escapes from prison, and is after, that's right, retribution.
- THE RIDGE by Michael Koryta - a supernatural thriller with plenty of interesting characters and mysterious happenings, all tied to a mountain ridge.
I did have a period of reading last year where it seemed almost every book I read had 'Blood' somewhere in the title - but I guess with crime fiction certain words, or images, will of course crop up again and again.
Then of course there are some authors who have themed titles throughout a series - for example, James Patterson's earlier Alex Cross novels all had the nursery rhyme/children's poem or song element - ROSES ARE RED, KISS THE GIRLS, ALONG CAME A SPIDER, POP GOES THE WEASEL etc. And sopme of Val McDermid's novels have titles taken in part from poems by TS Eliot - WIRE IN THE BLOOD, THE MERMAID'S SINGING, etc.
Does a good title matter? Or only if you are a lesser-known author? As a reader, are you drawn to a title, like you might be to a cover (meaning you might pick a book up, or investigate it more online, potentially giving the author more chance to convince you to buy it)? Does it matter more for some types of novels than others? What are your favourite crime titles? I'd love to get your opinions and examples on this matter.