Where book titles come from

One of the most agonizing tasks an author has to do is title his/her book. Nothing seems right, then everything seems right. You have the perfect title but the cover design just isn’t working. Eventually your publisher is screaming so loudly at you that you just pick something and go with it.

Well, that’s my story anyway. Yours may be different. My book, Monkey with a loaded typewriter, started off with a very different title and picked up three more before I settled on this one. To be entirely honest, I’m not totally in love with it, but it had a lot going for it already:

  • SEO: I already owned the phrase “monkey with a loaded typewriter” Google it; it floats to the top.
  • One of the essays had Monkey with a loaded typewriter written in it, so there was a natural tie-in
  • Nobody else’s book ever in the history of book publishing was titled “Monkey with a loaded typewriter”
  • It was quirky
  • It drove my editor nuts. (This one was just pure bonus!)

Sometimes book titles are carefully researched through A/B-tested focus groups. Sometimes they just fit the author’s art perfectly. I think mostly it’s because the book has got to get published and it’s way past the deadline.

Featured image from Wikipedia

This is the last time I’m doing this

I got my hair cut last week and as I was getting up from the chair, he asked if six weeks out would be good.

“God willing,” I said and he turned to me and asked, “Why do you always say that?”

“Because one of these times, we will make an appointment and I will not show up. It will be the last time I get a haircut. There will be a last morning I will wake up, a last cup of coffee I will drink, a last phone call I will make, a last commute to work… a last everything. Just a fact of life.”

“Well, that is a fatalist view on life,” he shot back.

“On the contrary,” I said. “Knowing that each time you do something may be your last should motivate you to make it the best one ever. At some point, it will be.”

And for the record, my latest haircut laid down nicely. Probably his best ever.

The conversation was good, too.