art book

How to title a book.

I love naming things. This is reason number 429 why I shouldn’t have kids. You see, I really like the name “Joaquin”. My husband doesn’t. So then I ask, “Ok what about Runneen, or maybe Swimmeen?” Eye roll and sigh. See? That poor kid would be bullied senseless, all because his mother thought it would be funny to name him Swimmeen Silver Speedo Richards. When I start up a new video game and it’s time to create a new character, I always spend a lot of time tweaking appearance and pouring over the ever-important name. This is a glorious moment. Love that shit. Oh and the cats? (AKA The Kets.) I spent two tireless and obsessive weeks researching name ideas.

In titling my debut book, I went through several names. I wanted it to be funny, smart, catchy, something that rolls off the tongue, reaches a wide audience, and names the contents in a nutshell. No pressure. The first title that I worked with was, Here is Some Art… Look at it! I thought it was funny. I had a great cover in mind too. (In fact, I may still go with the cover idea.) I went ahead and used that title as a working title. Then. THEN… it came to me: Art in Unambiguous English. DAMN that’s good. It was everything I wanted. NO. It was! I won’t hear anything else. It’s brilliant. This is THE title. My book coach patiently waited me out on that one. I finally came to the realization that, sadly, too many people wouldn’t get it, it didn’t roll off the tongue, and it just didn’t sound like the title of a book that would sell. Back to the drawing board.

Since I love naming things and I also love brainstorming, this wasn’t too painful. Here’s part of my list:

  • This is Not a Book About Art. OMG JK IT TOTALLY IS!
  • Art Secrets: Shhh… It’s a Secret.
  • The Underground Guide to Art. (You’re Not Cool Enough.)
  • You Know You Want this Art Book.

Then I came up with one that I kinda liked and ran it by my editor.

Me: Another title possibility! In Your Face with Art!

Melody: Um… No.

Damn. That was funny though! (And the connotations are not lost on me.) Alright. Well, my husband mentioned that he had a funny conversation about the title with another artist who is featured in the book, Ian Thomas. So Ryder (my husband) keeps telling me, “SEX! Just name it Sex! Put a hot girl on the front and a hot guy on the back. It’ll be a coffee table book!” Then he laughs and runs off to the garage to make more art. I text Ian for guidance. Here’s the “best of” of that conversation:

Ian: What’s your working title?

Me: It *was* Art in Unambiguous English, but now it’s A Book About Art and Stuff: A Guide for the Uninitiated. (spoiler alert!)

Ian: “Eye Candy: Art, Understanding and Sexualization”

Me: Don’t be a Dick: Here, Look at Some Art.

Ian: “The Slow Caress, a Guide for the Visually Unintended”

Me: Art and Penises, Except There’s No Penises. Ok Maybe 12 Penises.

Ian: “A Yearning for Understanding, Post-Maleness in the 21st Century”

Me: The Post-Maleness that is My Crotch. And Art.

Ian: Ha! “Dump Cake and 1000 Useless Recipes”

Me: LOL. Conceptual. I like it. I’m actually now inspired to write a blog post about titling this damn book. (ta da!)

Ian: “Selflessly Selfish: A Self Help Guide to Understanding the Self and Art”

Me: Selfishly Selfless Shellfish and the Artists Who Love Them.

Ian: I do think it should be a bit sexy.

Me: Selfishly Selfless Shellfish and the Artists Who Love Anal.

Ian: Wow.

Me: Hahahaha!!!!!! Didn’t see that coming did ya!!!! Oh… Sorry you said “a bit” sexy. Selfishly Selfless Shellfish and the Artists Who Love Tasteful Side-Boob. (Tasteful side-boob is from Cards Against Humanity.)

Ian: “BDSM, CFNM and Other Acronyms”

Me: BDSM, IDGAF, and Art: A Beginners Guide.

Ian: Ha! “Banal Observation”

Me: Hahahaha!!!! You can’t just put that out there and not immediately think of the other word I just said that looks like banal….

It’s good to brainstorm with funny friends. So, there it is. A Book About Art and Stuff: A Guide for the Uninitiated, is the title I’m going with. You can get more info about it on the book website, Thank you for your time, and have a great day.


By sueanne

Artist and videographer, sort of.

1 reply on “How to title a book.”

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