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16 October 2007

Name that book.

Your_turnHypothetical question. You've written a blog for three years. Let's say it's called 37days. A publisher wants to make a book out of 37 of the essays from the blog.

What's the title of the book? What's the subtitle?

What would stand out on the shelf and tell in an instant what the book is about? What do you think I'm writing about?

The publisher is stepping back from using "37 Days" as the title - they feel that because "37 Days" requires some explanation, the consumer might not quickly understand what the book is about, and move on before pulling it from the shelf (and taking it to the check-out counter). I can see their point--but.... Your thoughts on that? I understand that writing the book is a tiny part of actually selling it, but I kind of like "37 days" as a title, even though I'm a bit stymied on a subtitle...

What would get Oprah's attention, for goodness' sake, and allow me to finally paint my bedroom and send these girls to art school and renew my subscription to Shojo Beat and buy a house on a magical ridge in Jemez Springs, New Mexico, and finally FINALLY get that wood opal ring at the Spirit of the Earth in Santa Fe and fly to New Zealand to see my friend Richard for New Year's Eve and build a tiny glass writer's shed in the back yard and buy a hat made especially for me by the fabulous artist at Pinkham Millinery and learn how to make dilly beans? Oh, and spark some intentional living in the process, of course.

So, name that book. Please.

Title thoughts? Brainstorms? Stock tips, murmurs, protests? What would you name it?

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What about 37 days? It made me want to read the history of the blog, and keeps me coming back.

I agree with Ramona's comment.
I was on a site that listed at least 50+ blogs. I clicked on "37 Days" because the name intrigued me. I stayed, and read, because of the message. Congratulations and wishes for huge success!

Ramona and Jillian - thanks for your notes and explanations of why 37days works for you. I've updated this post (see above) to explain why the publisher has suggested it not be named 37days--that's not to say I shouldn't fight for it, and you've made compelling cases for keeping it, so I appreciate your taking the time to do that! many thanks!

the title "37 Days" intrigued me so much so that i read the intro page and bookmarked your site immediately.

I think Oprah would appreciate that.

Why would the title "37 Days" NOT grab someone's attention? It's short, quirky and catchy. And because it starts with a number it should appear on top of most alphabetical lists. Also if there are to be 37 essays it just makes sense. I reckon the trick will be in the subtitle as well as the overall design.

Let's see:

37 Days ... that will change your life
37 Days ... what would you do today if you only had 37 days to live?
37 Days ... Go Explore. Be Intentional. Be Alive. (Taken from your most popular tags.)

Ok, I guess there is a reason why I've never been too good at the brainstorming sessions. But there has to be someone very clever in Marketing who can figure out a catchy and appropriate tag line to go with "37 Days".

This is very exciting! I am looking forward to this book!

Hi Patti!
Fight for 37!
I found you during my own battle with cancer--and I keep coming back because...you write what my heart aches for..joy, belly laughs and real tears. Your writing matters deeply to me. After spending my days with adolescents (and coming home to raise my own sons) I wangle a quiet spot to find 37--because you help me remember what is important.
And hey---were the ornithologists of the world disappointed because "Bird by Bird" was not about our avian species? (Note to publisher--Patti's readers..READ and think!
Cheers Patti!
And thanks again for the Wangari note--I had the privilege
of listening to her speak at Syracuse last year..
Sincerely, Ann

Firstly, CONGRATS on your book deal! That is terribly cool.

My guess is that every writer wants the title of their book to be elegant, captivating, and spirit-filled. But sometimes the best titles are the simplest.

I don't have a title for you, but what I will offer is my take on what you offer me with each post. And that is the opportunity to notice the details, the smallest things, things I might normally overlook, or forget to value. You draw links between seemingly random or unconnected events and observations. You breathe life into even the littlest spaces.

Have you gone through the exercise of writing down what the blog means to you, and what you think it means to others? If not maybe that's a place to start.

As for subtitles, why not take a cue from your blog post? Something about Creating an Intentional Life. Or Intentional Living. Or something like that. Essays on Creating a Life of Intention. etc. etc.

First of all, congratulations. What an exciting accomplishment.

I, too, am a big fan of "37 Days" as the title. How about: 37 Days: Essays on a Well-Lived Life?

The 38th day - tagline about the privilege of getting one more grace of a day.

"Why 37 Days?" This would be my title.

If the publisher is stepping back in "37 Days" because it requires some explanation, let's be curious and ask why and the book will be the answer.
No doubt I will honor in the foreword your precious drawing that introduces your blog with the actual question: Why 37 days?

Just some ideas -

37 Days - Living Like It Means Something
37 Days - Live it Up
37 Days - Time is Short, Live it Up
37 Days - Living the Life

The last one is from your post.

Congratulations!! In the aforementioned spirit of brainstorming...

- Authentic living: essays on the meaning of 37 days
- Authentic living: the joys of 37 days
- 37 days: the joy of... [help, someone, please generate some conclusions to this one... :)]
- Love, life, and reflections on fleeting moments: 37 essays on intentional living
- Filling our days with grace: 37 inspirations
- The poetry of life: stories of 37 days for authentic living

*My thought was the 37 doesn't have to lead off the title necessarily.
* One thing to think about if you would start with 37 is how it would be alphabetized -- it is a number or is it a "T" for thirty?
* One value of the 37 is, as others suggest, it may generate curiosity and for me, I think that works really well in the sub-title. But, as you can see I played with it as the lead title too... :)

Hope this helps. All my best!

I agree that "37 Days" is an excellent title for your book. I will buy many copies when it is released.

I don't have any great ideas for a subtitle at the moment, but I will think really hard about it because you absolutely MUST renew your subscription to Shojo Beat ASAP now that Vampire Knight is getting SOOOOO interesting!

(I'm rooting for Zero to get the girl, BTW.)

Congratulations! I wanted say: Pick '37 Days', but then I read on. I also like the 'Authentic' suggestions Kris made in the previous post. The words fleeting and grace also embrace the concept of 37 Days well. So I've nothing really to add, other than 'Go Get It, Patti', you seriously deserve this and all the things that will follow.

We're obviously not the forum to ask this question of *g*!

...and perhaps we're just spoiled, but "37 Days" has such a special meaning here. It would be hard to break the mindset...

...and besides, if it had another title, it wouldn't *be* "37 Days", but just another self-help book in that section echoing the other titles.

37 Days drew me in over a year ago, and I'm sure it will work with a book as well. Most of us (I think) aren't JUST intrigued by titles, we pick up the book to see what it is about.
This is why I hate marketing and advertising I guess-:)

If you had 37 Days to live.

With the "if you had" and the "to live" in small letters, above and below the 37 days.

Seriously, they are going to want to tap into your readership base now, right? They have to keep the title.

Me again with a more thoughtful comment, since my old brain just turned into fangirl mush when you mentioned Shojo Beat.

I wonder if Jeffrey Yamaguchi had a similar problem when "52 Projects" was published. And what else could "The 1000 Journals Project" book be called? Or "PostSecret"? Having your blog name in the book title matters significantly - book selling strategy be damnned. It's important to have that continuity when readers of the book search for your blog or link others to it. It's a short title - it's easy to remember. All you need is a well written blurb on the back cover to explain its significance. If anything, I think that a well designed book cover is more important than a title in catching the eye of casual readers in bookstores. But that's not what will sell this book - it will be word-of-mouth promotion by bloggers on the Internet.

I like Christine and Donna's ideas.
How about "37 Days to Live: A To-Do List".

That's sort of what you do, really - your essays are suggesting things a person might want to focus on if they knew their time was limited. (And, of course, all of ours is.)

Also, for arguing to keep the 37, the practical side of me wonders how many readers you have, because keeping the name will help translate more of your readers into your book purchasers.

Oh, I think the book should be called 37 Days. It's intriguing and makes people want to figure it out (it worked for me and lots of previous commenters!). I do like the "authentic" and "intentional" suggestions above - maybe for a subtitle.
37 Days: Intentional Life (or Living)
37 Days: Every Day Matters
I'm just thrilled there will be a book, period! Please come to Nashville on your book tour...

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