Making a Soft Skills Book: Part 2, or, Title Dynamics

In the previous Part of this series, I talked about the basic origin of my new book. But there’s a twist.

The same week the book — titled, Soft Skills: How to Success in Your Technology Career — launched in Manning’s “Early Access Program,” we decided to change the name.

I’d never loved the “Soft Skills” title, to be honest. I know it’s the term everyone uses, but it’s just hollow for me. These are skills nearly every major company actually tracks for their employees, so how “soft” are they? Communications isn’t “soft:” it’s a science! But authors don’t always get full control over a book’s title. Factors like Amazon search ranking play into it, along with dozens of other concerns.

In this case, the book is the successor to a prior book that the same publisher had produced under a different authors, and that caused a little bit of reader confusion, and some push-back from the original author. Fair enough. The basic term “soft skills” isn’t trademarkable in any sane world, but trademarks aren’t the only market concern. So the publisher reached out about a re-title.

One of the things that I feel makes my book unique is the focus on you owning your career. You define “success.” Your career serves you and your needs, not my vision or conception of you. The first chapter of the book focuses on that, and it’s a pervasive theme. So the publisher suggested “Own IT,” with the clever “it” being capitalized so it can also mean “Information Technology.” The subtitle would remain the same, they suggested.

Mind you, this came after a weekend of loony brainstorming ideas from both me and the publisher, but they’re the ones who hit on something that really resonated with me: “Own IT.” Own your career. Own your success. Own your life. These skills are nothing more than tools to take you where you want to go.

And so the book’s been retitled. As I write this, it’s still unavailable for purchase, although I suspect they just need to redo the cover. You can check my page for the book, which contains a purchasing link; if you don’t see “add to cart” buttons then it’s not back online yet — try again in a few days!

Next post, I’ll get into some of the nitty-gritty about how I organized the book, and the “wrong road” I went down on the way to what’s now being published.