How to Choose a Title for Your Book: 7 Types of Cozy Mystery Titles

Updated: May 24

How do you choose which cozy mystery to read? How do you title a cozy mystery you write? Find out how to choose a cozy mystery tile, as both a reader and a writer, in the article below.



What's in a Cozy Mystery Book's Name?

As you may know, cozy mysteries are often titled as a play on words. Clever and catchy titles are the goal in this genre - the cuter the cozier. Let's check out 7 types of cozy mystery titles that readers love.


Book Titles

Way #1: Idioms

What are they? Idioms are common sayings that are well known within a culture.

Example: Hot on the Heels by Astoria Wright


The Good - People find them clever and cute. Since idioms are fairly well known, they're usually connected to ideas that invoke feelings or memories. Speaking of memories, idioms are usually easy to remember - which is really what you want in a title.


The Bad - Since there are so many cozies doing this, especially in the cozy mystery world, there are beginning to be too many titles to remember these very well. As I searched for books to add to The Cozy Mystery Library, I started to see some with the exact same title, so readers might get mixed up between your book and someone else's with a similar or the same title as your own.


Readers:

A idiom-based title may tell you that the author has a sense of humor and likes to play with their words, and maybe even their plots! You might find their books quirky - with surprise endings. If you like the unexpected, try a book with an idiom-based title today!


Way #2: A Play on Old Book Titles

What are they? Classics or best sellers in other categories are often re-phrased in cozy mysteries.

Example: Pies and Prejudice by Ellery Adams


The Good - People find them clever and cute. Since idioms are fairly well known, they're usually connected to ideas that invoke feelings or memories. Speaking of memories, idioms are usually easy to remember - which is really what you want in a title.


The Bad - Since there are so many cozies doing this, especially in the cozy mystery world, there are beginning to be too many titles to remember these very well. As I searched for books to add to The Cozy Mystery Library, I started to see some with the exact same title, so readers might get mixed up between your book and someone else's with a similar or the same title as your own. Puns also can be seen as cringe-worthy rather than clever, so it's best to


Readers:

A play on an old book title might tell you that the reader is a fan of the original work. The book may not be the same as the classic, but it might have similarities inspired by classics and books in other genres. If you enjoy books with similar sounding titles, try the books with the play on those same book titles, too. They might be just what you were looking to read next!


Way #3: Alliteration/Assonance?

What are they? The use of the same starting letter on each word in a series of words.

Example: Mysterious Merchandise by Astoria Wright


The Good - These titles roll off the tongue. The words sound like they go together and that might make it easier to remember. There also are less cozies using this technique than there are that use idioms.


The Bad - It's best to limit this to two or three words or what rolls off the tongue might end up turning into a tongue twister. Remember that the idea is to get readers to remember the book, not to want to avoid it because it's difficult to say three time fast.


Readers:

Alliterations are very pattern-based. Perhaps the author has a method to his/her madness. If you like approaching problems by seeking similarities, you might try a title with alliteration or assonance in it.


Way #4: Crime-Related Words

What are they? Titles that use a crime-related word like Homicide and/or weapons like Poison. It's usually paired with a word that describes something cute or cozy in the book.

Example: Herbs and Homicide by Astoria Wright


The Good - The title feels like it's giving away one or even two clues when worded this way. Since one word relates to the crime and the other generally includes coziness, the title literally embodies the cozy and the mystery aspects of the book.


The Bad - Just like with idioms, there are a lot of these. If you're going to do this, try to make the non-crime related words in the title memorable or choose crime related words that are not too common instead of the big ones like "murder."


Readers:

Cozies with crime-related words get right down to business. Maybe the murder happens right away. Maybe the author sprinkles dozens of clues inside. Who knows? All you know is that it it has a crime in the title, it's sure to deliver on its promise of intrigue.


Way #5: Cozy Words

What are they? Titles that focus on the cozy might just include names of characters or cute words and leave out the crime related words altogether.

Example: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley


The Good - These titles make you feel at ease, and just a little uneasy because of that. While readers know from the look of the cover and the listed genre that a book is going to involve crimes, like murder, the title is all about the good aspects of the book - which somehow makes it just a little bit scary.


The Bad -


Readers:

Sometimes but the best cozies are the ones that focus on the feelings of comfort and community cozies are known to create. Mysteries with cozy sounding names are likely to bring that comforting feeling to the table, er, the page.


Way #6: Character names

What are they? Cozy mysteries can also be named after their characters. Usually this is for series names.

Example: Hannah Swenson Series by Joanne Fluke


The Good - You want readers to connect with your character. If you have a strong character, why not draw attention directly to them? If readers come to know and like your character, they'll likely be referring to your book by the character's name anyway - and that's a great way to depeen the connection.



The Bad - Readers who are new to your series know nothing about your character, so the name won't mean much to them at first. They may have to rely on recommendations and may be faster to judge your character since you've drawn attention to them as a strong selling point of your book. (Yes, the title is a selling point - arguably the first major selling point even ahead of your cover.)


Readers:

Character based titles put the sleuth at the center of the story, which is, really, where the sleuth belongs. If you read books for that feeling of connection with the characters, maybe choose a title that brings the characters to the front and center of the book.