Crowdsourcing Is Us

Or not. (I’m not such a fan of the whole “let’s crowdsource this book” thing.) But: how’s about the title?

For my last book, I came up with what I thought was a great title: descriptive, indicative of thesis, etc. Got rejected (a fact I did not learn until the publisher sent me a copy of the book jacket. Lo and behold, a new title…)

So this time around, I decided to play it safe: Go with simple, straightforward, to the point. As in: MEAT: AN AMERICAN HISTORY. (Using all caps for titles in a publishing/writing convention.)  

And yesterday, after my editor read the Wall Street Journal article in which I was mentioned, she emailed me to say, in effect, “not sure I like that title. We need something that conveys the ‘argument.'” [UPDATE: the link may or may not work. WSJ has a paywall, but I grabbed a link from Google cache. If you google Dizik and kangaroo, you’ll probably be able to find a free version.]


This is a "thought bubble". It is an...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anyway, new title. Whaddya think, folks?

The title I slapped on the proposal that my agent used to sell the book was: IN BEEF WE TRUST: MEAT AND THE MAKING OF AMERICA. Apparently the editor sort of likes that, although she came up with a slightly different subtitle: AMERICANS, MEAT, AND THE MAKING OF A NATION. (And, yeah, that’s better than my in-thirty-seconds version.)

My second title, after I’d started working on the book, was: CARNIVORE NATION: MEAT IN THE MAKING OF AMERICA. (Crucial difference in the subtitle is using “IN” rather than “AND.” Small but crucial difference.)

I liked it so much that I bought the domain name (carnivorenationDOTcom), which I’ve since let go because thought I wouldn’t be using it. And, frankly, it smacks of coattails (eg, FAST FOOD NATION, OMNIVORE’S DILEMMA), so as far as I’m concerned, it’s a non-starter.Problem with IN BEEF WE TRUST IS that the book isn’t only about beef, so it’s a bit misleading.


So. Thoughts? Ideas?

10 thoughts on “Crowdsourcing Is Us

  1. Well, it’s catchy. Problem is that the E Pluribus part doesn’t make much sense (which is too bad because I like it!) “Out of many, meat-eating”??? My personal fav is CARNIVORE NATION. Also too bad.

  2. I love “CARNIVORE NATION” I think it says it all. And brings up several discussions just in the title. [Americans eat more meat than the rest of the world, right? except those crazy luxemborgers]
    as for the WSJ ‘mentioning’ is it in the video? or do i have to subscribe to it. ?


  3. Reggie, I totally agree and was VERY surprised my editor rejected it. Last time around (beer book), she dumped my descriptive/argumentative title in favor of simple/clean, so this time I thought I’d beat her to the punch. So much for that. I REALLY don’t want a cutesy title and am already worried about the jacket design. (PLEASE, God of Book Jackets, no farms, barns, silos, cows, pigs, or chickens. Please.)

  4. Not stupid or cutesy??? I did have this idea the other day: the title in a style that makes it look like one of those USDA purple meat stamps. (“USDA approved”) We have an iron pig sculpture in our yard and I really wanted to have that on the cover (iron pig, factory meat, get it??) but my editor took one look and said (and I quote): “No.” Sooooo. I just don’t want the obvious, you know?

  5. Oh yeah, that purple stamp, i like that!

    Pig iron, get that!

    Well, what’s left?

    There’s no way i could deal with this kind of presser, LOL

    Good Luck!



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