I need a new title for my book. I was talking to my editor the other night and I broached this idea--tentatively, since I was pretty wedded to "Birth of a Hack" and assumed he was, too. (All his emails to me carry the subject line, "Hey, Hack!")
But to my surprise he readily agreed. "Birth of a Hack" is too newspaper-specific; the book has broadened into a memoir of my writing life, my life as a storyteller, and there are entire chapters that move out of the newsroom. Keeping the Hack title makes it feel odd--one friend who was reading an early draft got annoyed every time I went to Russia or North Carolina or somewhere. "Get back to the newsroom," she said, and I see why she felt that way, but I can't. My life story doesn't follow a clear narrative arc (would you trust it if it did?) and there were times when I did leave the newsroom and did do other things that made me a better writer and a better storyteller.
So I think the solution is in a new title.
Many of you read the Hack stories early on, when they were nothing more than blog postings. It might be hard for you to think of the book with a different name. But if you have suggestions, I'm ready to hear them.
I like simple titles. I like "The Writing Life," (taken by Annie Dillard), or "A Writer's Life" (Gay Talese was there first) and "How I Grew," (copyright Mary McCarthy). But I probably need something that isn't quite that simple because I don't have the famous name to attach to it. "A Writer's Life" by Gay Talese is going to draw admirers and readers, but "A Writer's Life" by some unknown person in Minnesota is not going to draw very much of anything.
Ideas? Suggestions? Should I offer a prize? I can do that. I can offer a prize.