To do its job, your book’s title (even at the outline stage) must be “special!” It can whisper, it can holler, it can whinny, but it has to be specific. When your book’s addressed to everyone, it’s addressed to no one. “Eek!” you cry, “That means nobody will read it!” Exactly. Next time you’re wandering the bonny aisles of Bones and Narble, or surfing the Amazonian waves, take a look at the titles that catch your eye. When you see “How to Know Things the Smart Way” do you run over to grab that juicy paper sandwich, eager to sink your teeth in? No, indeed, you do not. And why not? Because it’s not rigorously specific. And here’s a way to ponder that…
First, look around and find something in the room. It can be Anything, just so long as it isn’t Everything. Now — Right Now – write 3 book titles for that something that would interest YOU. Aw, go on, it’ll be fun… Here are mine:
Finding a Flashlight in Your Sleep (and other Midnight Tricks)
7 Ways to Outwit Your Boss (Without Getting Fired)
Why I Left Hawaii in a Huff: Honeymooners’ Pet Peeves
Now, none of these books may become a bestselling paper sandwich, fair reader, but each title does pique interest – exuding that magical quality that OPIE calls “zing.”
That means you enjoyed thinking it up – which, in turn, means your readers will see your book’s title, pick it up, and immediately begin to chew with delight. And we all know where that can lead… So open your eyes, find something interesting, and work up a title. Don’t sweat, just let your Inner Smarty Pants flex her brilliant little biceps: invent a working title YOU would be interested to read. So remember . . . It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that ZING.”
Here’s to working titles that work! Here’s to your Inner Smarty Pants! Here’s to unique and adorable you!
WARNING: When doing the exercises recommended above, kindly usher your Inner Critic* out of the room. Flex your originality!
* Inner Critic: The person within you who doesn’t like what you think up.
Ceci Miller is the author of Sacred Visitations: Gifts of Grace that Transform the Heart and Awaken the Soul, endorsed by Chicken Soul Author Marci Shimoff, Mars/Venus author John Gray, and bestselling author John Bradshaw. The book’s touching, often magical, stories guide readers beyond mere memoir into the profoundly personal world of their own sacred experiences. Ceci’s workshops teach the 5 Steps of Sacred Awareness. A student of meditation since 1976, Ceci’s heartfelt stories of spiritual experience and contemplation–shared in articles, books, and public talks–have inspired meditators and seekers throughout the world. She is the author of two children’s books and has co-authored and edited numerous books for adults. To hear Ceci read an excerpt from Sacred Visitations, or to hear her interviews with people about their spiritual experiences on the http://www.sacredvisitations.com/ For editorial and publishing consultation, go to http”//www.cecibooks.com.
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