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What's in a title?

We're talking about titles and subtitles today in the 10-day Business Book Proposal Challenge: it's a hair-standing-up-on-the-back-of-the-neck moment for some challengers who have absolutely nailed it, others know they're getting close but it's not quite there yet. They have a working title, and at this stage, that's good enough. 

Titles are funny things. I had one client who'd been stuck on her title for months. She felt she couldn't move on and write the book until she was happy with the title. But in many cases (such as Alan Weiss, author of one of the classics of business publishing, Million Dollar Consulting) it's almost a chance thing, often very late in the day. In Alan's case, the book was about to go into production and his editor told him 'You're not leaving my office until we’ve got a title.'

Often it's a metaphor that emerges as you write, or a chance remark someone else makes (it was Gay Hendrick's agent who said, listening to him talk about his new book, 'So it's really all about taking a big leap?'). Sometimes the publisher insists on a change, knowing the market as they do. 

So what I'm saying is, by all means think about your title and brainstorm and play around and try things out until you get one that gives you goosebumps. Feel free to mock it up into a cover and stick it on the wall above your screen to motivate you. But hold it lightly. Be open to better ideas as you write. And if you DON'T have one that gives you goosebumps yet, that's no excuse not to write the book anyway. 

This entry was posted on 12 January 2017 at 18:54 and is filed under publishing | writing | books. You can leave a response here.

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