Lessons from a Liberated Life/Knocking on Doors

While the developmental editor was reading my book, my project manager had been talking to Beaver’s Pond Press staff about the book title. The original working title that I had dubbed the first vignettes was Lessons from a Liberated Life. My husband had HATED that title. He never called me a “liberated” woman, nor did he espouse or embrace women’s libbers. He didn’t deny that I was liberated, he just didn’t like the term. Many of the beta readers didn’t think that Liberated was the best title, either. So I thought about what the book was about. I had been a sales person early in my career, and salespeople are constantly knocking on doors, asking for the order. So that’s how I came up with Knocking on Doors. I really liked that title. It spoke to what a salesman does all day. And it was really what I did for 20 years; I knocked on doors, trying to gain entrance to what had been an exclusive boys club.

When the manuscript went to BPP, it went under the title of Knocking on Doors. I had decided that it was a title infinitely better than Liberated, and I was ready to run with it. I could already picture the book cover, plain country white doors, closed tight.

As I was waiting for the developmental editor to do her work, I recorded several videos of the vignettes from Knocking on Doors. My long term goals include speaking engagements, and I know that recorded videos will be an important part of selling that part of the business. I prefaced every video with, “Knocking on Doors.” Big mistake.

My project manager Hanna came back to me as I waited for the editor’s feedback with concerns about the title. She said people around the office said it sounded too “salesy.” And that the stigma of being a salesperson hung in the air. A part of me rebelled—what’s wrong with being a salesman?

Of course I KNOW what’s wrong with being a salesman. It’s not like being a doctor or a lawyer, or even a merchant or thief. Well, maybe thief…since often people think salespeople steal from their clients. But I believe a salesperson is really a great communicator and listener. I tried to explain this to Hanna. And I told her that the truth was that I really WAS a salesperson.

I liked the title. It was what the book was about. I was trying to get in, rise up, succeed. I thought about digging in to defend the title.

But I thought, “Why?” Why should I try to change the world’s outlook on sales? I didn’t have the time, nor did I feel as though that was my mission. I needed to heed the advice I was getting and think about changing the title.

I hadn’t a clue where to begin.

In my 40 years of working, I had named several products, programs, processes. I often start by brainstorming. So I started brainstorming names for the book. I wrote down anything that came to mind, and from one idea other ideas would spawn.

But nothing jumped out at me.

Then one day I was walking through a Barnes & Noble bookstore. I wish I could remember which one—Edina, Mall of America, The Shops at Legacy in Plano—I can see the bookshelves, the bright light coming through the windows, the books facing me, their titles shouting out.

And I knew—the name had to be short, memorable. It had to speak to what the book was about. It had to beg to be picked up and examined.

And three words formed in my mind.

LET ME IN.

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