Last week we visited my ninety-year-old grandma in an assisted living home in Kansas. My grandma has always encouraged me to write, and I dedicated the first book I wrote to her. She is known for speaking her mind, but when it comes to me, Grandma mainly just reads and applauds. On this visit, however, she gave me some advice.
"That last book you wrote," she said, casting about with raised hand for the title. "The Bucharest one. People are buying it. That book is being read."
She named a few people who'd told her they bought it, or liked it, or both. I thanked her but sensed she wasn't finished yet. Sure enough.
"I think it'd sell more if it had a different handle," she said.
Handle? On a book? Grandma's mind sometimes slips a gear. She's ninety, after all.
But then she continued.
"Some people don't know what the book is about. They don't know what this white horse is. They're scared to buy it," she said firmly. "You should call it something simpler. I think it would sell much better that way."
I did not argue. Not everyone enjoys a metaphor.