One of the joys of being a publisher is seeing books develop over time.
One of the trials of being a publisher is helping to pick book titles.
Sometimes it is fairly easy. Agile Web Development with Rails pretty much summed up the book's content.
At other times, though, it's remarkably difficult. A back title can seriously harm a book. For example, Chad Fowler's first book with us is really, really good: a guide to managing and developing your career as a programmer. It was a joy to edit, and everyone who's read it loves it. But when it came time to give it a title, we were stumped. In the end, we decided to go for something a little jokey with some shock value, and My Job Went to India was born.
The title didn't work. We sold a decent number of copies (just under 10,000), but we *should* have sold 3, 4, or 5 times that. It's a very, very good book. But I blew it for Chad by going with the wrong title. (It says a lot for Chad that he went ahead and wrote Rails Recipes with us after that.)
And now I feel like it might be about to happen again. Jeremy Sydik is finishing off a wonderful book. IT's all about how to create web sites that can be used by people with disabilities: the blind and color blind, those with motor problems, and so on. We clearly have a responsibility to create accessible sites but, as this book points out, we can also benefit greatly in terms of traffic if our sites can be used by the whole online population.
So then we come back to the thorny title problem. Right now, we're selling the beta with the name The Accessible Web—Creating Content for Everyone. But that doesn't seem to be working; folks I've talked to aren't clear what the book is about.
We're thinking about retitling the book. The current front-runner is Designing Web Content for Users with Disabilities—36 Keys for Unlocking the Accessible Web.
So, here's my question. Does that work better as a title? Or is there a *great* title we're missing?
I want to give these books the audiences they deserve. Help me out.