Help

Posted By on Jan 25, 2012 | 58 comments


 

I have title envy reading the words Kisses from Katie.

There. I said it.

The words roll off my tongue making my mind want to read further. And therein lies the problem. I’m in the process of writing a not-so-fun book proposal for an upcoming Writing for the Soul conference in February. This handy-dandy packet either opens or closes the door to my publishing dream.

The only problem: I don’t have a title.

That’s when I humbly admit my need for help. I so desire for my brain cells to unite or for God to shower down words from above or for friends who really love me to suggest the perfect catchy bulletin board phrase that jumps out and says, “Read me!”

Help.

Ok, that was pathetic. You can razz me later, but for now, will you please vote on a book title? Or better yet, suggest a fun phrase yourself?

My brain cells thank you.

Suggested Titles:

  • She’ll Never Make it Through the Night: The nine lives of Dabney
  • Dabneyland: Where miracles are for real
  • Dabneyland: A story of hope for the professional patient
  • Dabneyland: Home of the professional patient
  • The Professional Patient: One woman’s miraculous redemption from nine life-threatening illnesses
  • The Professional Patient: Surviving nine lives and counting
  • Defying Death: One woman survives nine life-threatening illnesses

So what do you think? Sound too Christianese? Be honest. Frankness earns points in my book. (Well, not this book, but in my mental book–which can be sketchy at times–but nonetheless, fun to be a part of. What a minute. Now that I think about it. Yeah. The winner receives points, credit, acknowledgment in this book. Another reason to help.)

Even if your words sting, I’m begging for honesty here.

(The comment button is at the top right of this post.)

58 Comments

  1. One God, Nine lives
    Nine lives, One God
    Nine lives
    Nine lives in one.
    Nine lives +One God
    Nine lives +One God=Me
    Nine lives and One God
    Nine lives in Dabneyland
    My nine lives (and near deaths)
    Nine lives in Dabneyland
    If I was a cat, I’d be dead.

    Whew, I’m out.

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    • Nine Lives, One God! Love it!!!

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    • Jim, seriously, you ROCK!!! And for some reason, it does not surprise me that you came up with all of these in probably like, I don’t know, less than five minutes. lol! Can I borrow your brain sometime? Miss you guys. Can’t wait to go to the shower and see your beautiful wife.

      Thanks again! I think I really love the, “One God, Nine lives”. Makes you wonder. But, I did get a good chuckle from the, “If I was a cat, I’d be dead.” Ha. Love it. Thank you!

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    • I like yours and Dabney’s added together! Nine lives and counting, If I was a cat I’d be dead!

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      • Thanks, Stacey, for the suggestion! Seems many like the Nine Lives and Counting. :)

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    • Hi Dabney–My name is Gayle Stearman, I am married to Joe. I heard about your struggle with cancer when you were going thru it, and God has been at your side, and brought you thru this terrible time. What a story you have to tell to bring other’s to the Lord. I was thinking you might get help in publishing your book from a well known pastor. Your story is such an inspiration to all of us who believe God is our Lord and Saviour. Blessings
      Joe&Gayle Stearman

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      • Gayle, This is a very helpful tip. Sadly, the publishing industry is experiencing a seismic shift in the way books are produced these days. Much like the rest of us, they are feeling the effects of the economic downturn, and need to be certain that each book published will be a good return…no, make that a great return on their investment. You’re right about one thing. God has given many an amazing story to share which confirm He still allows for modern-day miracles. Thank you for your kind words, and for taking the time to write. Blessings to you!

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  2. I like the 5th one the best.

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  3. Dabney,
    First I have to say that Kisses for Katie is AWESOME! The really neat thing about the book for me is that Katie graduated from Rainey’s High School. She was very involved in Young Life and I had the awesome opportunity to go spend the morning with her and a couple of her little girls recently. I tagged along with my friend (who was her YL leader). She is the most soft spoken, sweet, humble girl I have ever met!!! Everyone should read her book and donate to her mission :)

    Now onto you :) Book titles mean everything to me. It is the difference between grabbing the book or not off the shelf to read the back. The front picture also has the same draw for me (so keep that in mind).

    Out of your list below I will give you my favorites and honest opinion:
    She’ll Never Make it Through the Night: The nine lives of Dabney (LOVE THIS ONE, very catchy…made me want to hear more)
    Dabneyland: Where miracles are for real (This one is good but I am afraid that it catches your friends attention because we understand “Dabneyland” but I am not sure the general public will be as drawn to it)
    Dabneyland: A story of hope for the professional patient: (This one is good but then you will limit your unknown readers to mostly patients)
    Dabneyland: Home of the professional patient (same as above)
    The Professional Patient: One woman’s miraculous redemption from nine life-threatening illnesses (I love the 2nd part of this but maybe beginning should be something like “Miracles do Happen”)
    The Professional Patient: Surviving nine lives and counting (The Professional Patient is not my favorite…It doesn’t give you the warm and fuzzy feeling).

    Okay so please don’t be offended by my critique :) I can tell you that out of all the titles, if I was walking through the store and saw the first title it would JUMP out at me, I would grab it and buy it.

    This is almost harder than naming a child…I can understand your stress…Hope I didn’t make it worse. I seriously cannot wait to read it!!!!
    XO,
    Ragan

    Post a Reply
    • I LOVE your reply. Please never apologize for speaking from your heart. I crave feedback and really cherish any close friend’s thoughts! Don’t hold back. And, you’re right. Titling a book is much more difficult than naming a child. The wrong title and people will pass right by it. All in all, this is God’s story. Which a comforting reminder.

      Love you and miss you, girl!

      Post a Reply
  4. Dabney,

    The words Kisses for Katie are so very catching sooooooo, what about………..

    Dances For Dabney – The story of one woman’s walk through nine life threatening illnesses. (Or Dances With Daney)

    Just a thought….

    Whatever you choose, I am so ready to read it………

    Mary Gale

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    • Ooh, that’s catching. I’ll have to think on that one. Thanks for chiming in, Mary Gale!

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  5. I like the last one. The Professional Patient: … Can’t wait to read it!

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  6. Nine lives on the brink… My story of survival

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  7. I liked the first one. I love to read books and speaking from a book readers perspective the first couple of words in a title are what speaks to me the most. Also you don’t want a long and lengthy one either. Good luck with picking a title.

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  8. I like “The Professional Patient: One woman’s miraculous redemption from nine life-threatening illnesses” the best….it is catchy and makes me want to read more! Best to you sweet Dabney! Heidi :)

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  9. A few really quick thoughts b/c I have to get writing and working on my new website:

    Who is your reader – your target reader?
    That is who you are markeitng to, so give them what you think would make them pick up the book. Think of it this way – your cover (image+title) are valuable real estate. So when you were looking for your house what things made you pick the one you are in? What about the landscaping and the frame of the house made you want to look inside?

    That said – what kind of title would appeal to your reader? It may not be about nine lives, but the fact that you believed in God for the miraculous. If I was battling a life threatening illness (just one) I would care more about getting through that one and not so much about eight others – I would however find you to be extremely credible in the believing God for healing department b/c you did it nine times.

    So if someone were to ask you what your book was about. No, why you wrote the book–lay aside the “b/c so many people told me I should. . .” why are you really writing it? What message are you hoping a single reader might get from it? That is what your title needs to say. IMHO.

    So pretend you are talking to my friend who just was told she has a heart condition. She has three kids and a husband. Limited funds, and now a heart condition. What would you tell her your book is about?

    IMO it is your story, but it isGod’s story through you (which is why you CAN brag in your proposal) and I really think that the title is burried like a hidden gem in the words of your book. In one of the chapters you wrote, were inspired to write, a key phrase that captures the essence of the book.

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    • Wow, Jennifer. This input makes me dig deeper and really think. Everything you’ve written is absolutely true. Such amazing insight, thank you. Although those two words don’t seem to convey how grateful I am for your response. I’m going to pray over this post and really listen for a response from God. I really, really appreciate the thought you put into this.

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  10. Driving home last night all I could think of is this title question. (Thanks for the distraction) Anyway, here’s a couple more.

    9 lives lived
    9 lives well lived
    9 lives well lived in Dabneyland
    Healthy soul, sick body
    Here’s one for Jason-The nine lives of a “10”
    Bumper sticker-My other body is well
    It is well with my soul but my body is broken
    It is well with my soul but my body is a decayed mess
    You’re ok, I’m a mess
    you’re ok, I’m stuck inside a decayed body

    OK, I’m sure I will continue to obsess over this until you choose something so don’t make us suffer too long!

    Love,

    jim
    Grief shared is grief diminished.

    Writing is such a release. Here’s one of my poems…

    I went to the beach and cried in the sand.
    Wish I could say felt Gods hand.
    “He’s not here.” I thought passing under the pier.
    But I know He’s near. Watching me walk in doubt, depression and fear.
    I went to the beach and stared at the waves. I thought of all the bodies rotting in graves.
    It’s just not fair!
    Makayla should not be there.
    God, do you even care?

    “Watching Jesus die was all I could bare. They have left the grave, they’re no longer there.”

    I went to the beach with tears in my eyes. Made peace with God and said my goodbyes.
    Won’t listen to anymore lies.
    I must not listen to anymore lies.
    I went home from the beach and started to live.
    Thank you God for all you take and for all you give.

    I went to the beach looking for relief. God I believe, help my unbelief…

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    • So, I started laughing hard when I first read your suggestions: “My other body is well” or “You’re okay, I’m a mess.” Theses ring too true!

      Then I read your precious poem, and tears filled my eyes. You must publish this somewhere. It’s amazing. When you get a chance someday, talk to Jay about his beach experience.

      I apologize for taking up precious space in your brain. I’ve been trying to think of a title for 3 years and you’ve already created some awesome responses!!!

      You and Muriel are amazing, Jim! Thank you, thank you! BTW, do these replies go to your inbox???

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      • Jim,

        Thanks for sharing your heart in your poem. I, too, have asked for relief from the pain of grieving and you expressed it so well…

        Mary Gale

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  11. Dancing thru the shadow of death

    I can’t stop myself! #$%^&(*&^#$%^&*!

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    • You’re cracking me up. DON’T STOP. Keep the titles coming, Jim!

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  12. I like “The Professional Patient: Surviving nine lives and counting”. Keep up th egood work

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  13. Yes. I get the replies. If I were you, I’d listen to Jennifer.
    Oh wait one more.
    God is good, it’s me that’s broken

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  14. Dabney, the first title catches my eye the most. If I were at a bookstore counter I would pick that one up rather than the others. I am not so sure about the second half of it though. I like something like: “She’ll Never Make It Through the Night: My journey from….” that’s where I’m still thinking. Something gripping. Take a look at nieniedialogues.blogspot.com. That’s the mon that was burned on 83% of her body in a plane crash. Her book title is “heaven is here” because she had to learn that even if she’ll never look the same again her life with her family is still heaven on earth. So I think you have to kind of dramatically sum up your experience. I hope that helps. I’ll keep thinking. I will say the Dabneyland doesn’t grab me because if I didn’t know you it wouldn’t mean anything to me. It doesn’t convey what you are writing about. Of course if you want to be humorous you could say: “she’ll never make it through the night: nine lives are not just for cats.”

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    • Amy, I really enjoyed your insight! Thanks for sharing. If you think of anything else, feel free to pass it on!

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  15. It is so awesome to watch God bring HIS children to a fruitful,purpose filled life.
    The amazing part is words that create such interest that it is hard waiting for the finished product. The very instant the first copy is released, please notify me so I may purchase enough to share with inmates at the jail and my friends struggling with their decisions about needing God.

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    • I love your heart and would love to see others encouraged through God’s goodness. May God always bless you in your ministry!

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  16. here is my choice!

    1st The Professional Patient: Surviving nine lives and counting
    2nd She’ll Never Make it Through the Night: The nine lives of Dabney

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  17. She’ll Never Make it Through the Night: The nine lives of Dabney. This title grabbed me from the start. I’d have to see what it was about. The others not so much.

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    • By the way, looking forward to reading it. Let us know when it is out!

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  18. Dabney,

    First, before addressing titling, you have a built in platform. You are a survivor.

    I would think you can get endorsements for your work from your attending physician staff …. being able to say you have a forward from Dr. xyz would be an added plus.

    Plus you should be able to get friends and medical people to give you one paragraph blurbs about your miracle.

    Second, get out and speak to people about your experience. Once you have been on local talk shows and spoken to womens groups, church groups, and local schools, agents and publishers see that as a willingness that you will help sell the book.

    Most books only sell a few hundred copies. You want them to believe in you as a seller …..

    And I would suggest that you start writing major morning shows (national).

    OK, title is important, but it is not a show stopper.

    A mother, her cat, her family, and her new life. — just remember the title should reflect the content ….

    God bless,

    Wayne

    Post a Reply
    • Wayne,

      I really appreciate your feedback, and you gave me a great idea. I have two doctors who will endorse the book. Didn’t think about that. Also, I do speak, but I’ve never advertised. It’s always been word of mouth. I know I need to step that up and seek out more opportunities.

      Thank you again for all of your suggestions. Really appreciate them!

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  19. Well????

    Sleepless in Dabneyland

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    • Ha-ha…I know. I need to decide on a title. Someone suggested Defying Death: Nine lives and counting, or Defying Death: One woman’s encounters 9 modern-day miracles. Something along that line. Oh, to have limitless time to fiddle around with a title. This is more difficult than naming a child. The title has to draw readers in, and yet not be self-centered (which from what I gathered, Dabneyland would imply…so happy I asked:). I’m still praying. I also realize a publishing house (if I’m picked, Lord willing) will most likely change the title. All this brainstorming for nothing. Thanks for keeping on top of this, Jim. Do you guys have a title yet for your book????

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      • Yes. God gave us the Title. (I’ll tell you about it in a private memo.)
        The title is:

        “Severe Grace”
        The Life of Christ Lived Through Makayla Joy Sitton

        We will not allow anyone to change “Severe Grace”. The second line is negotiable.

        Any Ideas?

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        • LOVE Severe Grace because it explains your situation beautifully. Sadly, what I think would increase readership (since getting the message of Christ is the ultimate goal) would be something like MaKayla lives on after the Thanksgiving Day Mas.. (I can’t even finish typing the last word). But you know what I mean. That’s what the tragedy was named throughout the headlines…and that’s why people will purchase and read the book. Something along those lines. I hope this isn’t hurtful to read. I always want to be sensitive about this subject…but I also think the whole world needs to hear the wonders God performed through Makayla and surrounding that situation. I think you’ll have the back cover to explain the rest, but you’ve got to grab them in 5 seconds. And for the none-TV watcher, that title would make them stop and ask, “What was the Thanksgiving day Mas…?” I believe they would read on.

          I need to go back through your titles again because you had some AMAZING suggestions. Thanks for your help. I REALLY do appreciate it.

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  20. Good point. I think you’re right.
    Now, WHAT’s YOUR Title?

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  21. Your testimony at Muriel’s baby shower teally touched me. I’ve heard others say the same. Thanks for making it such a sweet day!

    jim

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    • Jim,

      You know I would do anything for you and Muriel. You both hold a special place in my heart. Praying for this new sweet baby. Can’t wait to meet her!

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  22. Hi, Dabney! :)

    I met you at the Writing for the Soul Conference, and just recently subscribed.

    I realize it may be a little too late, but here’s my Top Two favorites for a title: “The Professional Patient: One Woman’s Miraculous Redemption From Nine Life-Threatening Illnesses,” and “Defying Death: One Woman Survives Nine Life-Threatening Ilnesses.”

    Of the two, I think the second is more marketable. I would definitely pick up your book if I saw that title! “The Professional Patient” is really creative and strikes the curiosity as well, but it seems a little long. However, it would be a great phrase to maybe work into the back-cover copy or something like that.

    How did your appointments at the conference go?! I’m hoping someone picked it up, because I would love to hear your story sometime.

    I’m so glad I got to meet you! :)

    -Elizabeth (Lizzie) Veldboom

    Post a Reply
    • Hi, Lizzie!

      I’m so glad we found each other on the net! I subscribed to your site, too. :)

      Thank you for your feedback. I really appreciate it. The conference was great, and yes, a few editors where interested. Actually, I’m about to post a recap of my week. I’m not sure how it will be received, but I’m kind of new at blogging and haven’t really pick one niche topic to focus on (as I’m sure you can tell).

      Please, please keep in touch. I really enjoyed meeting you and hearing the words of wisdom you had to share.

      Again, thanks for the suggested titles. They’re both catchy!

      Blessings,

      Dabney

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      • Hey again! :)

        I’m so sorry for this late reply! February has been such a crazy busy month for me.

        I’m so, so glad we met and can keep touch through the good ‘ol net as well! That’s the wonderful thing about technology.

        Thank you so much for subscribing! :) It’ll be fun to see you around there, too.

        Eeek! That’s so exciting! I’m so happy you found some editors who were interested. Keep me updated, will you?

        I don’t know what you’re talking about when you say you’re “new at blogging.” I think you have a great blog going! How long have you been blogging for again?

        I will definitely keep in touch as long as you promise to as well! 😉

        Talk to you soon,
        Lizzie

        Post a Reply
        • It’s so good to hear from you! Just seeing your face makes me smile. :)

          I’ve only been blogging since May, so I’m still a newbie at this. I think I’m having more fun changing the design of the site. Love WordPress.

          Thanks for commenting. It’s nice to know I’m not alone here in Dabneyland!

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  23. Hey Dabney! I’ve been following your blog sporadically and saw this post. I read allot of books and am looking forward to reading about your journey.
    As for my choice of title:

    I like Jim’s suggestion of: Nine lives +One God=Me except I would lay it out like:

    9 Lives
    + 1 God
    ________
    ME

    I think by laying it out in this way it will make the title grab your attention on a book shelf (ensuring you 5 seconds) and it is intriguing because it is a non tradition title format. Math problems grab allot of peoples eyes because they are like puzzles and you have to solve them. You’re in my prayers.

    Hugs,
    Kendra

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    • What a great suggestion! Love creative people like you. And, I’m happy to hear more than just my mom is reading this blog. :) You brought a smile to my face today. Thank you.

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    • On the title, or the book??? Not on the title (bummer), but I’m writing every day. How about you guys? How’s the book coming? When can I steal your wife away! Miss that pretty little lady and can’t wait to see the baby!!!

      Post a Reply

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