A working title ... naming your book
When you start writing your book, you may have a title in mind.
Don’t get too attached to it.
It’s best to consider an early title a working title. This will allow you to keep an open mind if another title presents itself.
Here are a few questions to consider as you name your book
- does the title include words that define what the book is about? Does it need to?
- is it memorable and easy to say?
- does another book use a similar title? Or worse, the same title?
If you’re thinking of a catchy title that doesn’t reveal what the book is about, consider adding a subtitle that does.
Austin Kleon's books pictured above have succinct, catchy titles. You may not be writing a series of books. but with Kleon's books you can see that each one offers a clue to what the book is about. Steal Like an Artist encourages readers to look at the work of others and use it as inspiration. Stealing like an artist is not about copying the work of other artists, it's about using what others have done as guidance. Show Your Work talks about sharing your work with others. Inviting them to see the process and engage with you ... in a blog, on social media, through email newsletters. And finally, Keep Going offers tools and guidance to help you push through when you don't want to. Feel like you can't. It's effective because it's something we all feel. But we all need to ... keep going.
It's not easy to develop a name that's clear, creative, and concise. But it's worth working on. One of the best ways to do that is to keep a running list of titles. Keep adding to them. Modify them.
And when you've got a title, run it by a few people and see what they think.
If you're stuck, maybe I can help. Reach out with an email today.
What is your book about?
There are lots of things to consider before you start writing your book. One of the most important is answering the question: what is your book about?
It may seem obvious to you, but the real test is whether or not you can explain it to someone else—in just a sentence or two.
It's a good way, too, to help you focus your efforts and writing.
To answer the question, consider what you’re trying to accomplish with your book. Do you have insights and experience that might be helpful to others? Are you eager to share your knowledge? Is it a guide or handbook? Will your book recount the history of an event or company?
It can be difficult to distill what your book is about in one sentence, but the process can help you define what you're writing about ... and why.
What's the point?
When I started my book A Snail Mail Guide to Cursive Writing Practice, it started as a book about cursive writing. Why cursive? Schools across the country have cut cursive writing instruction from the curriculum and friends and family have recounted stories of their children not being able to read cursive.
Writing is an important part of my life and I wondered: does it matter that children aren't being taught cursive. That they can't read cursive? I think so.
Studies show writing by hand can help us learn and retain more information. And if we’re worried or struggling with something, writing about it by hand can help us make sense of things.
Making a connection
I decided to write an instruction book for cursive writing, but also understood I needed to give people a reason to write by hand. I had to find a reason for them to write.
The answer came through letter writing. As an avid letter writer, I know letters, cards and notes build connections. Letters can help us reach out, in a tangible way, to the people we care about. And someone’s handwriting on the envelope and letter inside? It brings them closer. Your handwriting is a reflection of your personality and is as unique as you are. It's part of what makes the letters we send so special. When I get letters, I don't even need to read the return address ... I know who it's from just by looking at the handwriting.
And now, as we navigate the isolation and social distancing of the pandemic, more people are writing letters.
Years ago my grandfather wrote to me and I saved one of his letters.
The broad stroke of the capital "H" that begins his first name reflects his strength and wisdom; the big loop on his letter "y" at the end of my name, his warmth and open kindness.
When I talk about writing letters, so many people tell me they worry about their handwriting. Say they’re embarrassed by it. I want to change that. I want people to use their handwriting as a tool, not to shy away from it.
I knew I wanted to write about cursive writing and letter writing, but I had to figure out what I was trying to say. I needed a hook, an emotional connection. Here's what I came up with:
Spend more time with the people you love and like and improve your handwriting at the same time.
Reducing your book to one sentence may be a challenge, but when you do, you’ll find the clarity and purpose you need to move forward.
Need help clarifying what your book is about? Reach out, maybe I can help.
Feeling out of sorts or know someone who is?
It happens to all of us. Those days when we're just not ourselves. When we're not quite sure why, but we feel edgy or bored. A little antsy. To feel better, we lounge on the couch, we watch too much television, take (another) trip to the kitchen for a snack, or grab the mobile phone and scroll (endlessly), barely absorbing what we're looking at.
But it doesn't help.
So what can help?
Try doing something. Something that engages your mind, your body, and your curiosity.
Turn things around
I wrote this ebook because in the last few months I've had good days and not so good days. Along the way, I had a revelation. The days when I'm able to turn things around are the days I do something. When I take action and challenge myself.
At least for a little while.
It's the distraction that makes things better. To step away from my routines, the news, my work, and worries.
Even if things are going well for you today, consider downloading the book and passing it on. Maybe it could help someone you know. Share it with them ... and let me know what you think.
Look like the professional you are
digital (and print) publication design
ebooks • books • magazines • reports • catalogs
I'm writing a book.
Here's the working title:
The Snail Mail Guide to Cursive Writing Practice
I'm fairly sure the title isn't catchy enough, but it tells it like it is. Maybe that's good? I'm working on it.
It's an instruction book for writing in cursive and using letter writing as a way to practice.
But why write a book about two outmoded topics?
I believe they still matter.
My deadline for the first draft is the end of this month.
After that? I've got a few letters to write.
P.S. Are you writing a book? Or thinking about writing a book?
I can help you with organization, structure and flow, copy editing, and design. Call (207) 252-9757 or email me today to talk about your book project.
P.P.S. Need some letter writing ideas or encouragement? Take a peek at my letter writing site: Postmark1206.
* Take Notes by Hand for Better Long-term Comprehension
**Why Don't the Common-Core Standards Include Cursive Writing?