Celebrity Author? Have We Got a Book Title For You

What famous folks call their memoirs is based entirely on the kind of celeb they are

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Peter Kramer / AP

Demetri Martin, actor and author of 'This is a Book'

Perhaps you’re famous. Perhaps you want to write a book. This may be a very good idea, but only if what you’re famous for doing is, well, writing books. If not, there’s a very good chance that your book will be—how best to put this?—bad. That doesn’t mean it won’t sell a great many copies. It probably will, which is why people who write books for a living but don’t sell many of them will hate you with a white hot, searing rage that you will never, ever know.

But never mind, write away—only beware that there are rules to this game, particularly when it comes to the title, and you break them at your peril. You think Malcolm Gladwell really wants to call his next book The Winky Moment or something inane like that? You think Robert Caro doesn’t stare at the ceiling at 3 AM and ask himself “Lyndon friggin’ Johnson? What was I thinking?” No, but they’re brand names now and they’re stuck. Same with you. What you call your book will be entirely determined by what kind of celebrity you are. Just look below, find your category and you’re good to go. (Oh, and don’t forget to write the book!)

Conservative pundit: Anything that evokes highways, big rigs and the wide open west (Liberal Roadkill and the Future of America). In the alternative, simple invective is always a nice choice. (You’re Dumber Than You Look)

Liberal Pundit: You’re smart—very, very smart, and everyone needs to know that. How? Titles with lots and lots of words. (Indecisive Deciders, Febrile Fibbers, and the Plutocratic Plunder of the Once-Great Middle Class)

Celebrity before rehab: Go huge; you deserve it. (Victory! The Bigness of I)

Celebrity after rehab: Go Zen; Carrie Fisher may make it a movie. (Asleep in the Cyclone Garden)

Politician running for President this year: Something that sounds reliable, contractual, as if you’re legally bound to do all of the things you say you’re going to do but almost certainly never will. (The New American Compact)

Politician running for President four years from now: Duh—a gerund, a metaphor and some variation on America, in any order you choose. (Retooling the American Engine)

Retired politician: Contrition, wisdom, folksiness and a peek inside the clubhouse. (What I Know Now That I Didn’t Know Then—But Sure Wish I Did!)

Male Athlete: Puerile pays; don’t be shy: (My Life With Inflatable Balls or My Best Pucking Year)

Female athlete: One word—plus exclamation point. (Soar!)

Comedian: Something meta. Remember, you’re not actually writing a book; you’re ironically writing a book. (When is This Book Due? or Do I Really Have to Write This Book?)

’60s rockers: Go for a mix of venues and nonsense; Boomers can’t really follow much more. (Fillmore, the Haight and the Great, Big Gobsucking Sound)

’70s rockers: You spent the decade in platforms and mascara; might as well own it. (Stardust Balloon)

’80s rockers: You’re pretty much locked into the nihilist thing now; sorry. (The Year We All Died)

Ex-model and life coach: You spent your life as the center of attention; time to flip the polarity and go full frontal second-person. (You and the Youness of You)

Broadway diva: Two words: Name drop! (Merrick, Sondheim, Papp, Fosse, Hammerstein, Hal and Little Old Me)

Retired General: Any mix of a type of metal and a bird of prey. (Iron Hawk or Brass Eagle)

And finally, Author writing a book about being an author: Talk about meta! Be pithy and cynical, with a world-weary disdain for both the field you’ve chosen and the other people who occupy it. Oh, and you must include wordplay: (Monsters’ Ink)

(MORE: Confessions of (Another) Book Reviewer)