The good news is, my book about my Kilimanjaro adventure is coming out soon.
The bad news is, I can’t decide on the frikkin’ (as co-climber Mike would phrase it) title! I’ve been agonizing longer about that title than my daughter does about deciding what to order in a restaurant. Before she gets the chicken nuggets.
I’m pretty sure I’ll also end up with the chicken nuggets choice of book titles. Kilimanjaro Diaries is what I’ve been calling it all along, and there’s a good chance I’ll stick with that. Not all that creative, but safe.
The question, at this point, lies with the subtitle. Every non-fiction book out there has a subtitle, and for good reason: you need to give your readers an inkling what it’s about. And not just in terms of content. You also make them a promise of what to expect, a preview into your style perhaps, a dangling of the fruit, an answer to the question: Will I be entertained by this? That is all any reader cares about.
Against the advice of some people (you’ll get 50 different opinions and no real answer!), I decided to ask some readers for title feedback in this blog post on my author website, and also on Facebook, by posting the cover with its working title, Kilimanjaro Diaries: The Housewife Guide to Climbing Africa’s Highest Peak. I did get back 50 different opinions and no real answer, but I also learned something else: the word “housewife” seems to stir a firestorm of emotions in people. Some folks (okay, men) are sure that outing yourself as a housewife strips you of all credibility as an author, dooming your book. Some folks think it is demeaning (especially, it seems, the folks who have no problem with you performing those “demeaning” tasks housewives typically perform – I won’t name any names), and some (but fewer) folks think using the word in conjunction with Kilimanjaro is funny.
It caused such a debate that instead of abandoning the housewife, I felt like doubling down on her. I felt like the honor of all housewives the world over might be at stake. I felt like throwing down the gauntlet, with a title like Kilimanjaro Diaries: Housewives Can’t Go Mountain Climbing.
But having already opened that can of worms, I decided it wouldn’t hurt to ask you for feedback one more time. Here I give you the three titles I’ve winnowed my considerable list down to:
Memoirs of a Housewife on Kilimanjaro
Or, how I spent a week trudging uphill, drinking crappy water, and making bad jokes while having the time of my life
Walk Slowly, Bring Wet Wipes, and Other Survival Tips
To go with this cover, for those of you who haven’t seen it yet:
I kind of like #2, but I know my cover artist, Nicole, will hate it. Where to put all those extra words? Isn’t that what the inside of the book is for? I can already feel her accusing stare.
Tell me what you think. This is the last time I’ll ask. All editing is done, and the book is going into production tomorrow. (Ha, how lofty that sounds! I’ll write another blog post about what, exactly, that entails, but I can already tell you that it will involve some housewife duties.)
Please comment below. Don’t hold back. The housewives can take it.