The goal of a book title: accuracy, or sales?
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Hi all, this is my first post on She Writes, a very cool site!

I have been working all year on a book I have already been marketing as "Confessions of a Golf Slut... a memoir on life, love, and The Game." After doing two books the traditional way, I am self-publishing because I want to make money! I have a great platform, an online golf magazine for women and an email newsletter that goes to 4,000 women who like golf. I realize that some men may buy the book because of the title, and I am OK about that.( As one expert said to me, "Any man who buys a book because he thinks it's about sex deserves whatever he gets.") In fact, a golf slut is someone who will play anywhere, anytime, with anyone, and the story is about where this philosophy has taken me in life. The book is quite a yarn, you'll-laugh-you'll-cry chick lit.

Because I have been a journalist for more than 30 years, I have a great network of talented colleagues, six of whom who are currently going over the manuscript. I have already gotten positive feedback from three of them after just a few days, but, here is what one of them said:

It's so deep and raw, naked and charming - i hate the title, it's nowhere near how special, how emotionally pre-eminent, your story is.

She was halfway through and had just finished perhaps the deepest, rawest part.

Yet on some level, I get what she is saying about the title. Influencers and media people I know love the title, and so does the publisher I have almost selected. It should sell. And, technically speaking, it is true. But is it too shallow, too frivolous, for a book that is neither shallow nor frivolous?

I am taken back to my headline writing days when journalists resisted the urge to sensationalize for the sake of accuracy and scale (not at the NY Post of course). As someone who would like to make money from my book, a book that I think women will digest and enjoy, I am not sure what is right, and I invite community feedback. Thank you.

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Replies
  • I'm for sexual liberation which is an integral part of women taking control of their own bodies. I'm also in favor of strong, realistic writing which includes words, like slut and also "dick head", ass hole, and whatever else might fit the dialogue, character or situation. To earmark certain words as "gross" suggests a rather puritanical attitude that doesn't have a place among the woman writers or the male writers that I know.

    Also my earlier remark regarding "cunt" was meant to be tongue in cheek, a bit over the top, not for Susan to take it literally but still it "seriously" expressed my underlying POV.

  • Oh my, little did I know that while I was out on the golf course today, Cynthia and Jo Anne were pondering my question... Well, many a man would proudly claim the golf slut title as well, so it is a reclaiming of the word. This is actually based on a quote by comedian Tommy Smothers that I talk about in the first chapter. I do think the word is not a nice one for women to say and hear, so maybe that's my reservation about it. I do promise not to use the C-word!
  • I wasn't actually being serious!! Susan, please don't go grosser than "slut" in your title. Why do we have to go along with the male-slang, sexually suggestive, deprecatory adjectives to describe ourselves? What a cave-in. And for this I fought for women's liberation forty years ago. Sigh...

  • ok so replace "slut" with cunt (I personally prefer slut) but clit is the newest, hot word in the sexual/gender wars...you don't have to scream sex, but you can murmur it, or stutter it, or in this case, as the author indicated, her use of "slut" has very little to do with sex,the word has morphed into another level of meaning...

  • I have to say, I'm a little tired of the word "slut." Should we perhaps up the ante to "cunt?"

    Is there no exciting way to label a woman who will give her all for something besides "slut?" Why does a work of literature or art, even a memoir, have to scream SEX in order to sell?

  • Go for it! It's a great title, sassy and direct. If the book is open and raw, all the better. Who wants to read some toned down, namby, pamby book for the sake of political correctness.