Archive for October, 2011
Up to this point (for the last year and a half), the working title for the project was Amazing Days: Living the Extraordinary in the Midst of the Mundane.
We knew we wouldn’t end up keeping that, but we used it to capture what we wanted the book (and our life!) to be about. A couple weeks ago, we landed on a new title. Today, we agreed on the subtitle.
This is a big deal.
A book title needs to catch people’s attention. You need to honestly represent the content of the book. The title is a promise of what a book will deliver. It can’t be too long. It must be memorable. But if you get too creative, you don’t tell the reader anything (or worse, you give the wrong idea). The cover design and the back cover copy (more about these in the next couple of weeks) also do a lot to these ends, but you need to have a good title.
So as is customary, we included several title ideas in the original book proposal our agent took to publishers. They were pretty bad. Dave, our longsuffering editor (and excellent writer in his own right), sent back some title thinking to us from the team at IVP, to show the sort of vision they had for the project. We kicked around several options (out of about 70 that came out of various brainstorming sessions) and agreed on one a couple weeks ago.
We let that simmer for a bit. Then Dave and the crack creative team at IVP sent through a list of subtitle options. Life happened and we didn’t get around to replying. So today, Dave wrote with a specific subtitle. A few emails back and forth and we landed on a subtitle.
Once assembled, our title has a hard job:
- Connect with our prospective readers’ needs
- Promise wisdom for living life in the U.S. intentionally despite the normal ruts
- Show the journey we’re on, re-entering North America after years abroad
- Do all this in a lyrical, poetic fashion.
But we did our best:
This Ordinary Adventure: Settling Down Without Settling
What do you think?
And then, I wrote.
Or rather, I edited.
The manuscript for our book is due three weeks from tomorrow. I am working on the third chapter right now. To get into the right mindset, I skimmed through the first two chapters. I arrived at the pages I’m working on and slowed down.
I read. I reread. I looked at my notes of what major changes I need to make. I inserted a couple phrases. I tried to add a section that’s very important, but it came out like a middle school essay, all pimpled and ganky.
For two hours of effort, what I have gained is a sense of my general inadequacy.
It was a very good morning.