Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Name That (Dirt Simple) Book

So I've been working on a book for a little while now.  It's my first solo book (if you don't count software manuals), and it's going to be a printed collection of 28 self-improvement essays from this blog, including one essay that I've written, but not yet published.

Although I've edited and written book-length materials before, the last time I put together anything near this size was over a decade ago, and I think this one might well be bigger, depending on whether you measure by surface area or word count.  What's blowing my mind, though, is how much work it has been, despite the fact that all the material was already written.

Well, it's really less work than the last book-length publication I assembled.  It's just that it seems like more work than I expected, probably because I was thinking, "This stuff's already written, I'll just dump it into OpenOffice and design a page layout."  But I've also had to convert links into footnotes or elide them altogether, and also clean up the quote marks, create section title pages and tweak the order of the essays to support the section themes, and generally wrestle with OpenOffice's frames and styles and other tools to bend them to my bidding.  I also had to go back and clean up Blogger's <br/> tags so that things didn't get mangled in the translation.

I still need to write an introduction, and I'm thinking of adding some subheadings or pull-quotes to some of the longer essays that go eight or more pages in length, just to break up the text a little.  But really, most everything is done.  Heck, I've even done stuff like computing the economic order quantity for the first printing (150 copies, which means it'll be a very exclusive limited edition; I'm thinking maybe I should hand-number and sign them!).  I've even begun making preparations to deal with the logistics of taking and fulfilling the orders.  But I still don't have a title!

That's right, this crazy thing is almost ready to go to press, but I don't know what it's going to be called yet!  In fact, I'm so uncertain of my current working title that I don't even want to mention it.  Which is why I want to get your suggestions instead.

I'm pretty clear on what the book's subtitle will be, mind you.  It's: "How I Learned to Control My Procrastination, Perfectionism, Negativity, Analysis Paralysis, Self-Criticism, and Self-Doubt through the miracle of self-awareness".  Or something like that, anyway.  I'm pretty open to tweaking it.  The sub-subtitle (is there such a thing?) will be "28 mind-expanding essays from dirtSimple.org".  And that's pretty firm.  I think, anyway.

So it's really only the title, the book's "first name", if you will, that's completely missing.  I keep thinking that maybe I should name it after one of the essays, perhaps one of the really popular ones like The Multiple Self.  Paul Graham basically did the same thing for the book Hackers and Painters, after all.  But then I worry that people will confuse the book with the essay.  If I refer to "The Multiple Self" in a future post, am I talking about the essay or the book?

So I think maybe I should ask you,. my readers, what the book should be called.  What title would you shell out $29.95 and a few dollars' shipping for?  For that matter, what would you like to see on the cover in general?  And heck, if you'd like to see your name in print, please share with us how you've improved your life through things you've read here before.  If I can, I'll put your comments on a quotes page for the very front of the book.  Maybe more than one page, or spilling over onto the back cover if enough of you say enough nice things.  :)

(Okay, you can say not-so-nice things too.  Heck, I'd appreciate any kind of feedback right now.  It's just that negative comments aren't going to be immortalized in the book.  The importance of a positive mental attitude, and all that, don't you know?  Negativity is often useful but rarely rewarded, and this case is no exception!)