Tuesday, December 20, 2005

A Book By Any Name

Geoff and I spoke for a long while today, hashing out the final tweaks on his manuscript. We've agreed on captions for the photos that needed extra attention. But we're still working on a title. Current choices include:

Riding Hunters and Jumpers with Geoff Teall: Becoming Confident and Competent to Reach Your Goals


Geoff Teall on Hunters, Jumpers, and Equitation: Developing Confidence and Competence to Reach Your Riding Goals

Any thoughts / comments / suggestions / alternatives are welcome.

We talked about his target market (anyone who rides hunt seat, who wants to improve his or her form and competitiveness over fences).

We discussed keywords, asking ourselves, "If people have questions that are answered in this book, what words would they type when searching for reference material?"

We talked about using his name in the title -- something he was very uncomfortable with. Trafalgar Square and I, however, argue in favor of it.

And we considered the need to balance zing with accuracy. In other words, though the book is about how to take a methodical, measured, long-term look at your riding, and explains how perfecting your position can improve your competitiveness even if you don't show in the Equitation division, neither aspect is sexy enough to mention in the title. People not only judge books by their covers, but they also judge books by their titles. Which means that mentioning the words "equitation," "position," or "methodical" would probably not inspire a landslide of book buyers.

More's the pity. As I do the line-by-line proofing, I am struck again by the merits of what Geoff has to say. Though working on one's basics may not seem exciting, it is a necessary and ongoing part of becoming an accomplished rider.

I've been batting around title ideas for this project for over a year -- almost since it began. We've come up with (and subsequently discarded) several. Our working title was "Practical Equitation" -- exactly what the book is about. But it's also about goal setting, course analysis, life lessons, and so much more.

If I had my way, I'd call it On Course with Geoff Teall: How To Have the Ride of Your Life.

Whatever we decide to name it, it will be in print in just a few short months. If you read it, you'll see what I'm talking about. It's like having a portable, personable, personal instructor telling you exactly what to do to get your act together. It's a worthy read. Which is why we want to find the perfect name. Tune in tomorrow for further updates on the Great Title Search...