I'm struggling to get mystery bookstores and libraries to stock my book, even though many individuals love the cover/title. If I had it to do all over again, I'd change the title. If you want to sell to the mystery market (which also reads some thrillers), you probably should stick with a traditional mystery title (like A FATE WORSE THAN DEATH) It's not as exciting, agreed. But bookstores and libraries want to be able to classify and shelve your book according to genre. And they are big buyers. I've come to the conclusion that sex doesn't sell books to crime readers.
In the grand scheme of things, I don't think "sex" in the title makes much of a difference. For me, it did draw me in and made me read on to learn what it's about. Then I did put it on my to-be-purchased list. However, my mother-in-law, for example WOULD be turned off by it. But then again, she doesn't like sex OR crime in the books she reads which leaves most of us off her reading list.
Unless you are a complete prude, the sex word should not bother you in the least. All crime is based on some kind of exploited sin... Therefore, stands to reason sex would turn up sooner or later. It isn't any more taboo than murder itself --- especially serial type, in which sex and murder are combined. (which by the way --- I do not like violent sex in books even if it is crime or mystery. I'd rather not read that part.)
Listen, LJ: the time for this question is about a year gone, am I right? At this stage -- with your lovely book out in the world looking all shiny and everything -- it's probably best to just decide it was the best decision and go with that.
Was it a huge debate with your publisher at baptism time? Or was everyone pretty much agreed?
Titles are always tough for me. Mostly, I think, because I pay no attention to them at all: in my books or those of other people. How does the book feel in my hand? What sort of gestalt do I get from the art? Is the first line good? Bad? Or totally sucky? Is it on a topic I care about at all or written by someone who might convince me to care? (For example, Stephen King and Dennis Lehane could write books about lightbulbs and I'd still buy the book. They always make me care.)