Help me get this book out of my office and onto shelves.
August 8, 2008 8:55 AM   Subscribe

I need a new name!!! I've written a book for friends and non-primary caregiver family (NOT for primary caregivers) regarding illness and death.

The book includes things you can do and say as a friend or peripheral relative for someone in the hospital, at home bedridden, survivors of violence, young people, older people, grieving families. It also includes some of the things not to do and say.

I have a name for the book but it seems not to be working with publishers/agents. I'm not going to write the name because it tends to influence what people think about the book. Second, I can't for the life of me, come up with an elevator speech that makes sense which is probably preventing me from getting it sold.

Pretty much everyone who has reviewed the completed manuscript says a version of "OMG, I so needed this when my (mother/spouse/ friend) was in the hospital. Why hasn't this been published? Can I have a copy to give to my ______?" I had an agent for two years but she pretty much didn't do anything with it and I ended our contract.

So, my two questions are,
(1) What should I name this book? and
(2) Can you come up with an elevator speech that makes sense?

For the moment, I don't want to self-publish for various reasons. So there's that.

Thank you in advance for all of your help.

Oh, also, I have a very long and very strong background in health/illness/grief and social services.
posted by Sophie1 to Writing & Language (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
When Only "Sorry" Makes Sense.

Good Grief!

What to Say When the Pain Won't Go Away.

Living through Illness.

Empathy.

"Sucks to Be You," and Other Things Not to Say.

You CAN Go Through It.

It Happens to Us All.

Hospital Stays for Dummies. (just kidding here).


Can't help with the speechifying. There is a genre of these books to varying degrees. My father has a library of them. Look at some of the copy on those. Same for title ideas.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:10 AM on August 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is great:
The book includes things you can do and say as a friend or peripheral relative for someone in the hospital, at home bedridden, survivors of violence, young people, older people, grieving families. It also includes some of the things not to do and say.
Title: "What can I do? / How to be a friend when your friends are hurting"
posted by amtho at 9:11 AM on August 8, 2008


OK - Amtho - "What Can I Do?" was my original title. I had a feeling someone would come up with it but for some reason, it doesn't seem to be working for some people...
posted by Sophie1 at 9:17 AM on August 8, 2008


"What Can I Say?" (Or is that too much of a Britishism?)

And I agree that:

I've written a book for friends and non-primary caregiver family (NOT for primary caregivers) regarding illness and death.

The book includes things you can do and say as a friend or peripheral relative for someone in the hospital, at home bedridden, survivors of violence, young people, older people, grieving families. It also includes some of the things not to do and say.


...is just about your elevator pitch
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:20 AM on August 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think that "what can I do?" or "What can I say?" won't work without a subtitle, because it doesn't explain what the book is about. "How to be a friend when your friends are hurting" is more descriptive. Or "How you can help friends who are hurting" or "Support during illness: what you can say."

Maybe find a better agent who can help?
posted by dpx.mfx at 9:32 AM on August 8, 2008


It has had a few subtitles but I'm liking some of these so far. Please, keep them coming!
posted by Sophie1 at 9:51 AM on August 8, 2008


How can I help? has a similar meaning but more clearly expresses that the "do" in this case is directed outwards in a nurturing fashion. Although I suppose it also could have a "working in a bookstore" connotation as well.
posted by Deathalicious at 10:17 AM on August 8, 2008


When "I'm so sorry" isn't enough

And then a subtitle of some sort. I can't come up with anything i like, however. But if I had seen this when my boyfriend's mom was losing her battle with cancer, I would've bought it in a heartbeat.
posted by cgg at 10:19 AM on August 8, 2008


Thanks cgg. That means a lot to me.
posted by Sophie1 at 10:21 AM on August 8, 2008


Does the book have any anecdotes about people doing/saying the wrong thing? I would search through those for a short phrase that you could use in the title. Maybe something along the lines of How Not To ___ with an appropriate subtitle (see below).

What Can I Say? is an excellent suggestion, but as was mentioned, it should have a subtitle. Something along the lines of What Can I Say?: how to help a friend in pain. Along the same lines: How Can I Help?: a guide for friends of the hurt, sick, or grieving.

Another tactic might be to take something everyone does or says and indicate that there's more that they can do. Along those lines: More Than Flowers or Beyond Condolences. Actually, that last one works even without a subtitle.

On preview: Deathalicious and cgg had similar suggestions.
posted by ErWenn at 10:27 AM on August 8, 2008


'Who will help the helpers?'

Subtitle: 'Supporting the caregivers in your life.'
posted by jamjam at 10:32 AM on August 8, 2008


By "elevator speech," do you mean your opening pitch in your book proposal? In which case, I'd suggest something more personal, along the lines of:

Your best buddy has just announced that he and his wife are expecting their first baby. You and your other friends are full of congratulatory quips and smart remarks accompanied by much shoulder-punching. But you go strangely mute two weeks later when he informs you that his wife has suffered a miscarriage. Other than mumbling, "Gee, tough break, I'm sorry, dude," what else can you say? What can you do?

I've written a book for friends and non-primary caregiver family (NOT for primary caregivers) regarding illness and death.

The book includes things you can do and say as a friend or peripheral relative for someone in the hospital, at home bedridden, survivors of violence, young people, older people, grieving families. It also includes some of the things not to do and say.
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:43 AM on August 8, 2008


Sophie, it's so good you've written this book! And sooo necessary. Sometimes a publisher who has succeeded with one book on a certain topic is interested in doing another book on a similar topic like
Help Me Live: 20 Things People With Cancer Want You to Know.

I did a post on it, How To Talk to A Friend With Cancer.

Other title ideas:

Helping Friends and People One Loves Through A Difficult Time,
subtitled-
Practical Tips On What Is Really Appreciated

A Difficult Time
- How to Really Help a Friend or Loved One, When Help Is Really Needed

How To Help People
The Intelligent Person's Guide to Being A Caring Person to
Those One Loves When They Are In Need

How To Help People
The Intelligent Person's Guide to Being Caring
posted by nickyskye at 11:13 AM on August 8, 2008


I like "How to Care." If I saw it on a shelf, I would pick it up, and it implies you do care, but just don't know how to express it.
posted by Ugh at 3:18 PM on August 8, 2008


Hmm, for a subtitle, something like "Helping Your Friends Deal With Crisis, Tragedy, or Death in Their Family"?

I too was thinking of Beyond ___. Like "Beyond Casseroles."

I also like nickyskye's idea, something like "The Intelligent Person's Guide to Showing You Care."
posted by salvia at 3:37 PM on August 8, 2008


Seconding
How To Care
and
The Intelligent Person's Guide to Showing You Care
posted by nickyskye at 3:51 PM on August 9, 2008


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