February 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

The New New Yorker

by Courtney Hilden

It’s a sad truth that I do not get invited to meetings much, but today I was lucky to be invited.  We were brainstorming titles for an upcoming book.

Book titles are perfected crafts of art, and we started the meeting going through about six pages of suggestions from various people involved with the book (including the author himself.)  Then we listed off who we wanted the book to target.  The list consisted of about six audience types based on the topic of the book.  The goal was to use the title as a way to market the book to as many of those audiences as possible (recalling that a good title can’t do it all.)  We chatted about what the book was about and how to avoid using titles that might make the book seem like it was about certain things it was not.  We talked about some recently vetoed titles, ones the author mostly did not like.  I found myself taking notes not just on what we needed but on certain rejected titles that I liked.  Our title conversations naturally went into discussions about what a cover with a title like that would look like.  (“I love when we find the title before the book,” one of my co-workers commented.)  There was a joke about maybe making the cover look like a bathroom stall.  As I was sitting there, pondering things over, I could see why people like this work and why certain people in particular like this work: it is cerebral.  It lets your mind dance.

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