Titling a Series

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cmhbob

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I posted this in the AW Facebook group a couple of months ago and got some decent feedback, but now that we're back up and running, I thought I'd bring it here for some input.

I'm setting up for a new series, a police procedural in a particular state. I've got more than a dozen story ideas fleshed out with another half-dozen in the "what about" stage. It's going to be a kind of ensemble thing. The books will be somewhat independent in that each one will be set in a different part of the state. It'll be somewhat like the multiple locations from COPS, but with more character development, like in Hill Street Blues. Characters may reappear here and there, especially state investigators, and they'll be aware of stuff that happened in other books if those stories were set close to each other.

I asked on FB what people thought of when they read "Red Dirt Justice," and only one person really thought of the right state, which was Oklahoma. That was my original concept for the series name, but I'm not as gung-ho about it as I was in the beginning. I've got some other ideas, but still, nothing is really leaping out at me. In no particular order, my ideas are:
  1. Red Dirt Justice
  2. Okie Justice
  3. Oklahoma Justice Files
  4. Sooner State Justice
  5. Oklahoma Justice
  6. Sooner State Justice
  7. Oklahoma Law
  8. Oklahoma Blues
  9. Sooner State Crime
Does anyone have any thoughts on these ideas, or ideas of their own? I suppose I'm kind of obsessing over the series name, but with as big as I'm hoping it'll be, I want to get it right, you know?
 
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starrystorm

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I don't associate "Red Dirt" with Oklahoma, but I don't really know much about that part of the States. (southern girl here). Honestly, I like #3. I've also never heard of Oklahoma being called the "sooner state", but maybe it's more popular up there.
 

cmhbob

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Interesting about Sooner State; that's the official nickname. Red Dirt comes from red dirt country music, which I'm told originated in SE Oklahoma. I suspect it's a much more local term.
 

ChaseJxyz

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I mean how critical is it that people immediately know this has to do with Oklahoma by the series name? Like "Hawaii 5-0" and "Reno 911" and "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" have those because those are interesting settings, things people kinda know about but imagine the cool crimes that happen there! Especially Reno, it's a weird city that's kinda like Vegas but not really, so there's gotta be some weird people that live there. Meanwhile "Law and Order: SVU" says nothing about NYC because that's not really the point of it. Is there something that the average person who doesn't live in Oklahoma that would make someone say "oh hell yeah I wanna read this book about OKLAHOMA!" Because to me it's a state that doesn't have much happening there, how is it different from Kansas? Or Nebraska?

Red Dirt Justice, meanwhile, is unique, implies that people are out there in the field working cases (so we're not just seeing the inside of the police office or courtrooms), what kind of place has red dirt? Probably someplace interesting, most places don't. But in the story you can bring up the red dirt country music stuff and all the other really hyper-local things that show you know what you're talking about and make Oklahoma seem like a cool setting. Okie Justice sounds a little silly but if your series is more light-hearted then that could work.

TL;DR I don't think Oklahoma is a "hot" term marketing-wise, I like Red Dirt Justice the most
 
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kinokonoronin

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Red Dirt Justice sounds badass. I'd feel compelled to pick it up off the shelf and read the blurb. The rest sound boring, or silly in the case of Okie.
 
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frimble3

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From a Canadian, who recognizes the term 'Okie', but wouldn't care for it in a title.
'Red Dirt Justice' sounds interesting: 'red dirt' sounds Southern, and 'justice' is either some kind of law-enforcement, or vigilante action.
A lot of the others sound, well, like legal reports.
If you are interested in other options, how about 'Red Dirt Law' - which takes the potential vigilantes out of the equation.
 
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TulipMama

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Am Canadian as well, so any reference to Oklahoma is lost on me. I see Red Dirt and I think Mars - but if it's not sold in the Sci-Fi section, I'd find that the most compelling.

Not sure about the 'justice' bit, but maybe that's because it implies a distinct 'good guys' vs 'bad guys' and I'm a fan of the grey villains and cops.

Crimes on the Red Dirt Road - an alternative option, though it feels wordy to me.

The Red Dirt Mile - bit of a nod to 'The Green Mile' for those in the know, but you specifically mention Red Dirt Road music, so it loses a bit of that connection.

Red Dirt Road Laws - may come off more lawyer/court procedural, but has the neutrality that Justice doesn't.

I do like the Red Dirt Road, obviously, it's very evocative, even if I'm not sure what's it's stirring up yet.


The 'files' style title comes off a very 'used'. There are a bunch of books that are the 'such and such files/report/cases' so naming it in that convention may make you get lost in the stacks.

Since you're naming a series, over an individual book, I think you get a bit more lee-way from that angle because (in my experience) people remember the title of the book over the title of the series. I could be wrong on that though, it's just my experience.
 

geoff3h

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I posted this in the AW Facebook group a couple of months ago and got some decent feedback, but now that we're back up and running, I thought I'd bring it here for some input.

I'm setting up for a new series, a police procedural in a particular state. I've got more than a dozen story ideas fleshed out with another half-dozen in the "what about" stage. It's going to be a kind of ensemble thing. The books will be somewhat independent in that each one will be set in a different part of the state. It'll be somewhat like the multiple locations from COPS, but with more character development, like in Hill Street Blues. Characters may reappear here and there, especially state investigators, and they'll be aware of stuff that happened in other books if those stories were set close to each other.

I asked on FB what people thought of when they read "Red Dirt Justice," and only one person really thought of the right state, which was Oklahoma. That was my original concept for the series name, but I'm not as gung-ho about it as I was in the beginning. I've got some other ideas, but still, nothing is really leaping out at me. In no particular order, my ideas are:
  1. Red Dirt Justice
  2. Okie Justice
  3. Oklahoma Justice Files
  4. Sooner State Justice
  5. Oklahoma Justice
  6. Sooner State Justice
  7. Oklahoma Law
  8. Oklahoma Blues
  9. Sooner State Crime
Does anyone have any thoughts on these ideas, or ideas of their own? I suppose I'm kind of obsessing over the series name, but with as big as I'm hoping it'll be, I want to get it right, you know?
I like Oklahoma Justice. The others don't trip of my tongue. Plus with this title you have the subliminal use of the initials, OJ!

The series name is a big thing and you need to get it right. Plus, it may help to make it more universal, if the series was to have an international audience?

Just my thoughts. I wish you well with it.
 
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