I’d been set on the subtitle “How to Start, Earn, and Keep Your Career as a Videogame Reviewer” for several years. Then I started to think it was unwieldy, and the moment I said this out loud, everyone agreed. Hmm.
First I removed the word “Earn” per Kat’s suggestion. Then I tried cutting “Start” at a another friend’s suggestion. Then I realized the whole thing was just hopelessly overwritten when Kat asked “Well, what’s the book about?” I said, “It’s about how to review videogames for a living.”
Duh. That only took, what, eight years?
I had that subtitle long before I had Critical Path, to be honest. I originally wanted to call it Paid to Play but a book with that title came out after I had most of my first draft done, so that was off the table. Then I just couldn’t come up with a good pun to take its place, which is really unusual for me — ask anybody who has had to edit my copy. Kat and I kicked around lots of ideas — some serious and some not — over a plate of chili fries at The Counter a few months back. One of our beliefs is that you have to say the bad ideas out loud to get rid of them and make room for the good ones; there’s something seriously useful about saying the jokes or the clearly unworkable ideas on your way to the idea you wind up using: Among the brainstormed phrases, both serious and silly, that didn’t make the cut: The Next Level, Will Work For Games, Super Review Fighter, Critical Conditioning, Critical Hits, Be Your Own Miniboss, The Best Job Ever, and A Game Critic Is You.
All told, I like Critical Path. But Be Your Own Miniboss might make it to the back cover.