This is the sixth post in a series dedicated to the anniversary of the publishing of my first book, Conquer the Entrepreneur’s Kryptonite. The purpose of this series is to share what I’ve learned to help inspire you to do the same if there’s a book in your heart waiting to get out.
This is a post about how my book got its name. If you want information on crafting a good title, talk to someone else. I pretty much stink at coming up with great book titles (as you’ll see below).
That’s not to say I don’t think they’re great at the time. I fall in love with them. And if that gets the book writing process moving, I guess that’s a good thing. The worst thing you can do is spend all your time coming up with a title without writing the book! Maybe that’s why they call it a “working title”, eh?
1) This Is Not Easy
Make It Look Easy was the title of my book when it was first conceived. I was playing on the concept that the greatest performers–in sports, stage & screen, business, etc.–are so good at what they do that they make it look like anyone can do it. Some examples:
- Auto Racing: How many NASCAR fans think they could get behind the wheel and race? Probably an overwhelming majority. After all, 97.4% of all drivers think they’re above average! [think about it…now laugh]
- American Idol: People who can really sing make it look so darn easy! Are the people auditioning for AI really that clueless about their singing ability? Probably (unless they just want to get on TV to be made fun of). I’d much rather find the hidden talent of people who can sign but have never bothered to find out. Maybe that’ll be Simon Cowell’s next hit show…random people singing on the street!
Anyway, this title started to die about halfway through the writing process when Dan Miller told me he didn’t like it. He asked me, “What is ‘It’?” and that was the end. The title wasn’t intriguing enough to be mysterious, and it wasn’t specific enough to tell a potential reader/buyer what it was about. Back to the drawing board…
2) 50 Titles and Counting
Luckily I didn’t waste too much time worrying about finding a new title. Well, I probably did. Not having the title nailed down was frustrating. But after a bit, I focused on the writing again instead of the title.
As the book neared completion, I knew it needed a real title. I started playing with words and had an actual list of more than 50 titles written down.
I ran many of them by friends, and eventually picked my top ten (including the original title) for a poll amongst my book team members:
- Simple Planning, Significant Results
- 50 Shades of Strategic Planning
- Build Your Own Roadmap
- Make It Look Easy
- Put Your Potential to Work
- Planning for Greatness
- The Roadmap
- Do What Works
- Simple Strategic Planning
I narrowed it down a bit and did another poll. I had new ideas and pitched them to the group. The churning continued as the deadline for publication neared, and I still needed enough time to develop a book cover, artwork, and maybe even a new domain and website. Ugh!
3) Superman Rises
It was April 23rd, 2013 at 11:02 pm when, about 30 posts into a thread on my private Facebook group for the book team, the word “Kryptonite” first emerged. Who else could have hit the word but Chuck Bowen, my mentor and the creator of the Simple Strategic Planning process that inspired the book. He simply called it, The Entrepreneur’s Kryptonite.
A little over 12 hours later, when civilized people were awake, my friend Kevin Miller (son of Dan Miller who killed the original title) added the word “Conquer”. There it was for the first time: Conquer the Entrepreneur’s Kryptonite.
We debated using “Conquering” for a while, but I ended up liking the impact and brevity of “Conquer” better.
Bonus Title Trivia:
- There were already two brief Superman references in the book before the title emerged, but they were not part of a theme.
- The title inspired a new theme throughout the book. It was carried by a brief statement or paragraph on the chapter title pages. I wrote those in about 10-15 minutes…they just flowed from my mind to the page!
- The title also inspired my friend and amazing graphic artist, George Amequito, to design the lightning bolt design I used in the book (which is now a personal logo). He captured the superhero concept perfectly, and it fit the content of the book as well. In my mind, the circle represents the completed plan which is struck by lightning, representing action and pouring out the contents of the plan. The roughness of the image show both the lack of perfection and the struggle required to make something meaningful happen.
- The release date of the book was June 14th, 2013, the same day that the movie Man of Steel was released in theaters in the US. My goal had been July 1st, but I didn’t have an exact date set until the movie and the book themes overlapped.
- The subtitle (Simple Strategic Planning for You and Your Business) is another story all together, but I don’t think we had quite as many debates over it! If I had to do it over, I’d probably add “9 Steps to” at the beginning of the subtitle, just because it has a bit more hook to it.
Stay tuned as I write about the writing process, the finishing process, formatting, creating the trifecta (book, e-book, and audiobook), crowdsourcing, my support team, and so much more. I don’t know how long the series will last and I haven’t written the next post yet, but I’m going to share all of the ups and downs I can remember!
If you have specific topics you want me to cover, leave a comment or send me a note!