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Hey Gang...


I'm writing a book in 3 weeks. That's right...3 weeks! I'm actually trying to polish it off in 2 weeks.


In reality, I'm simply gathering together a lot of things I speak about and blog about and putting them in a book. This is a strategy I teach at the Speak It Forward Boot Camp.


Anyway, I need help naming the book.  The book is a "success" book for teenagers and will basically have 3 sections.

  • Live Smart (this will bring about an average life)
  • It's Your Life, Own It (this will raise you to an above average life and put you in the top 20%)
  • Forward is the direction of success (this will put you in the top 5% and bring about a WAY BEYOND average life)

Two quick thoughts on this basic outline:

  • You'll notice that the sections fit my business "Live It Forward." That's obviously on purpose.
  • Each section will have 10 short chapters (1-4 pages) with some follow up questions.


So, what I need help with, and quickly, is what to title the book.  Here's what I'm thinking so far. The title is before the hash mark, subtitle is after the hash mark.

  • Don't Ever, EVER Settle for Average--The Teen's Guide to Real Success and Awesomeness
  • Stop Being Normal--A Teen's Guide to Real Success and Awesomeness
  • Live It Forward for Teens--The Guide to Real Success


I have more...but these are my top 3 so far.


Thoughts, insights, and ideas welcome!


Views: 202

Replies to This Discussion


The first title seems too long and wordy.

The second has a nice hook in the "Stop being Normal" part. But still not my favorite.

The third gets closer to what the book actually is. So I like "Live It Forward - Real Success for Today's Teens"

Since your audience consists mainly of teens, a title that speaks to them is a must. Even though an adult may buy it for them, it will still have to resonate with teens before they bother reading.  Since that is the case, I'd avoid the Live It Forward for Teens concept.  It sounds too adult and kind of meh.

Speaking of "meh" - the current slang for "ho-hum" - you also need to avoid any here-today-gone-tomorrow slang because, one, it will quickly date the book, two, it may sound patronizing coming from an adult, and three, some may not know what you're talking about! Your two other choices seem like good candidates. I think "awesome" has survived the 80's to join "cool" in relative timelessness to stay in your byline.

How about Outrunning Average?  I can picture a bunch of zombies on the cover!


When I read your section contents, this title jumped into my head:


"Live The 1600 Life" 


1600 is a perfect score on the SAT. Appropos for the teen!  


I have read all of these suggestions.  AMAZING ADVICE everyone!!!!  Thank you, thank you, thank you! Keep it coming.


Right now, I'm leaning towards making sure the word "awesomeness" is in the subtitle...the swimmers on my swim team use that word ALL the time, so I know it's a word that connects with teenagers.


As for titles, it has to tie in to the keynote presentation I give. Whatever I decide, I'll likely end up changing the title of my keynote to be the same as the book.  So, right now, my top two favs are:


  • STOP Being Normal
  • Outrunning Normal (might even call it "Outrunning the Normal Zoombies" - thoughts?)


(Ted...whichever one I use, the cover will have "Zombies" on it...love that idea)


One last thing. We really do spend a ton of time on how to develop quality products quickly and effectively at the Boot Camp. If you want to be a speaker, products are almost a must-have. Products help market your speaking, can be used to creatively book speaking engagements, and add significant revenue to your speaking business. So, I hope you can join us for the Boot Camp...you'll definitely be equipped to succeed and profit as a speaker.


Hey Kent,

Actually, I like both.  I have 2 concerns with the use of "Zombies" in the 2nd title, even though I love the imagery for the cover.  First, one of the members mentioned making sure that you don't date yourself with the title.  Although zombies are hot now, how long will they stay hot before popular society moves on the the next thing?

Second, I think you run the risk of people not necessarily getting it when they first read the title.  I see the chance of "normal" being read as an adjective rather than the noun you really intend it to be.  Why would I want to buy a book on outrunning normal zombies?  Shouldn't I be more concerned about overachieving zombies?  So if you choose the second title, I would stick with Outrunning Normal and possibly include this image on the cover if I think zombies are more than a passing fad.

Just my 2 cents.  All the best!

I feel like having the "Teen" part on the front.  Something like "Teen Success:  How to get past Average into Awesomeness!"
Please don't use the word "awesomeness" ;)

How about this?  Live It Forward, Teens! - Going Beyond Normal and Achieving Awesomeness

or the subtitle could be "How To Go Beyond Normal and Achieve Awesomeness"


Who is buying the book? Teens, parents, school?


If you want the teens to buy it, the advice you got about asking teens (or just listening to them talk) is essential. If you want the teens to READ it, that same advice is still pretty critical. The fine line is to be "cool" (an antiquated term, I know) without looking like you're trying to be cool. And without using language that will be un-cool before the school year is over or that is good for one school, but not in another (like awesomeness).


I think they get the idea of Live It Forward and because of your brand, I think that should be somewhere on the title. Most kids are deeper than we give them credit for, but I'm not sure the term Success resonates with teens.


Love the idea of Ditching Normal or Who Wants Normal, Anyway?  ---Ten Ways to Live It Forward


Average and Guide sound too much like a grade and/or school.




Love your thoughts.

Teens and perhaps educators will buy it since I'm speaking at FCCLA, FBLA, Student Council events. That's where 90% of the sales will be.

Also, FYI..."awesomeness" has been here and will be here for a long time. However, I might not end up using it because I just found out this AM that one of the #1 speakers in the industry has it in his new title: http://joshshipp.com/book/

Keep brainstorming with me!


PS I'll probably do a "vote" soon...once I decide my top 5 titles.



       I am envious!!!  Write a book in two or three weeks.  You go man!!!   One of the talks I give when talking to teens is "Who's driving your bus?".   Basically the same ideasas yours urging teens to take charge of their lives.  so my book title suggestion would be ...............Who's driving your Bus?  Guiding teens to take the wheel of their lives.


Hope that helps!!!  Good luck and save me a copy!!




Okay everyone...after a lot of input and great discussion, here's what I'm thinking:


Title:  Who Wants To Be Normal Anyway!


Subtitle:  A Teen's Guide to Ultimate Coolness and Real Success


Cover:  The cover will have a bunch of dead-pan people that look exactly the same...probably in some sort of gray color...with one teenagers standing out from the crowd in full color.


There are three sections -- each will have 10 quick chapters (1-5 pages) with a page to that allows readers to personalize their response via "STOP Being Normal Action Steps."


  • LIVE Smart
  • It's Your Life--Own IT
  • FORWARD is the Direction of Success


Remember that 90-95% of the books will be sold during speaking engagements.  Most students will have no idea that I'm the president of Live It Forward LCC, so I decided I didn't need that in the title.  What more, I will probably do 1 or 2 more books in the next few years.


Let me know your thoughts...the good, the bad, and the ugly.  And remember, I'm trying to get this book done in 3 weeks (2 weeks left), so I need input immediately :)



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