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25 Aug, 2009

Get Your Book Title Right!

Posted by: The Coaching Academy In: Coach Plus Articles|Coaching Articles

Get Your Book Title Right! - Coaching Blog

A few years ago I wrote a book for parents offering them help and advice on how to support their children through the school years, from three to 18. As a weekly advice columnist for The Independent, with a long career writing about education and three children of my own, I knew exactly the kind of book it was to be. Although I wasn’t training as a coach at the time, I knew instinctively that all of us, as parents, need to keep our fundamental values and long-term goals in mind as we deal with the daily realities of tests, exams, bullying, friendships, teacher conferences, pocket money, TV and all the other many issues of parenthood. If we don’t, we end up being tossed around in the storms of modern life like corks on the ocean.

My book was squarely aimed to helping parents to think about what sort of children they wanted to bring up, and how they could best do that. I talked about love, time, respect, boundaries and all the other fundamentals that children need have in place in order to grow, flourish and become their own persons. No way did I talk about how to get your children into the best schools, find them high-flying tutors, hover over them as they do their homework, and generally push and shove them to the top of the pile.

Unfortunately my publishers came at the project as if it was a self-help book for adults. Self-help books, they said, sell best if they have the word ‘succeed’ in the title. So they insisted my book be called How To Help Your Child Succeed At School. And ever since then, every time I’ve ever spoken at a conference or written an article in connection with it, I’ve had to explain that this book is not a manual for pushy parents but one that highlights the deep importance of love, respect and balance in parenting, and promises   that, with these in place, all the other things that parents worry about, like good school results and happy friendships, will almost certainly follow.

I am now training with The Coaching Academy as a personal development coach, in order to work with parents, students, schools and other education organisations and have thought, since I started, how useful the GROW model would have been to me as I’d argued with my publishers about the title of my book. If I’d been able to apply it at the time, I know I would have ended up with a book thats title was true to itself, and to me and everything that I stand for.

So I would like to say to all my fellow coaches out there – when you are communicating with the wider world about who you are and what you do make very sure that nothing, ever, dilutes or changes your essential message. Whether you are writing a book, an article or a website, be crystal clear that you know what your message is, that you have stated it clearly, and that no-one, along the way, has been allowed to misinterpret or change it in any way. Otherwise, like me, you will find yourself wasting an awful lot of time and energy trying to explain yourself away afterwards! 

By Hilary Wilce
www.hilarywilce.com

5 Responses to "Get Your Book Title Right!"

1 | Sarah Kent

August 26th, 2009 at 10:52 am

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Thanks for your article Hilary.

There is so much information out there on how we ‘should’ title our books, ebooks, courses and teleclasses.

I have found this to cloud what i mean and want to say.

Your article has given me a nice boost to seek clarity and go for it!

Sarah

2 | Merete Langler

August 26th, 2009 at 4:09 pm

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What an honest and insightful article. It’s so easy to get pushed off track or sidelined, and you have really clearly illustrated how important it can be to ‘stick to your guns’. Thank you!

3 | L Neath

August 27th, 2009 at 12:15 am

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I am a qualified Coach and I can totally agree with what you are saying regarding distractions whilst parenting. I have three young children of my own and I have witnessed with my own eyes time and time again how parents push their children to be on ‘The Top Table’ to seek gratification for themselves and are blinkered when it comes to looking at their childs withdrawn, distraught when they get something wrong and eager to impress behaviour. They use their own children as measuring sticks. School is important but I believe that it is not the absolute goal to be top of the class or craving to better than others. I agree a loving caring home is the most important thing you can give a child – not a pushy one!

4 | Alberto

August 27th, 2009 at 8:00 pm

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Hilary,

Thanks for your insights, I agree with you that the essential message is more important than the wrapping; I also understand that when we enter new territories it is easy to be led by those who appear to know them better than we do.

The other thing I like about your article is that you demonstrate how the experience helped you learn something and you are prepared to share your learning with others.

Thanks again.

Alberto

5 | Sarah Fraser

September 4th, 2009 at 10:55 am

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Hi, great article. Can I also add that I’m a big fan of using plain English to get a message across. Yes our English langauge has a rich vocabulary providing ever more impressive ways of saying something, but usually the most obvious word or phrase will connect best with our reader. I would encourage all writers to pause before reaching for the Thesaurus! Sarah.

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