The Name Game, or The Road to Marrakesh

What’s in a Name?

Naming books is hard. I think it used to be easier, back in the day when people walked into bookstores and scanned their eyes over actual books, and could go to their section of choice, see the sizes and cover designs and pick up and flip through ones that looked interesting. The ones that looked like something they would want on their bedside table or coffee table. Back then, you could name a book Silent Spring without worrying that people would mistake it for a DIY household hints book.

Today, you have to consider how or if it will pop up on a Google search. (Just try Googling how to silence a spring. You’ll get about 400,000 possibilities. Is it for a bed? Or a rocking chair?) Take a book we’re working on right now, Susan Schaefer Davis’s fine survey of women textile workers in Morocco. Well first of all, we probably shouldn’t say “Moroccan textiles,” because only 24 people per month search for that term, versus 60 who search for “Moroccan crafts.” But wait. Does “crafts” include pottery and leather goods? We don’t want to mislead the masses.


What you call these women is tricky, too. “Moroccan women” gets searched 2,880 times, versus “women in Morocco,” which is of interest to only 132. “Morocco women,” which sounds sort of ignorant, gets a score of 864, though. We do want people to find the book when they go looking. You can grind on this kind of research all day long, but what does it get you? A bundle of insecurities. And we haven’t even gotten to the heart of the book yet.


The Heart of the Matter

It’s a vibrant book, full of the stories of interesting, spunky rural women scraping a livelihood making beautiful, useful rugs and clothes. They’re following in the footsteps of mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers back through the ages. They’re sitting at their looms together, or sitting at their looms alone, struggling to make a dollar a day in many cases. They feel blessed to have this work to do. They hope it will last through the next generations, because it is central to their culture.



Susan and Karen Brock and I have been kicking around all the words we can think of that might both describe the spirit of the women, the beauty of the work, and its economic importance to them and their families. And play well with Google. Help us out here. What grabs you? What would be better? Send your good ideas and strong opinions to (If you come up with a terrific title and we use it, we’ll send you a copy of the book, gratis!)

The Possibilities:

Weaving Power: Rural Women Entrepreneurs in Morocco (though not all are weavers)

Hands with Power, or Persistent Hands

Beauty and something about hidden power or support

Stories of Beauty, Hands of Power: Women Artisans of Morocco

Women Artisans of Morocco: A Wealth of Spirit, Pride, and Persistence

Women’s Textiles in Morocco: A Wealth of Strength and Resilience

Beauty, Strength, and Spirit: Women Artisans of Morocco

A Tradition of Persistence: Women Artisans of Morocco

Pride and Persistence: The Future of Women Artisans in Morocco

And so forth. When I worked at Interweave, we had endless meetings with many, many people to determine the titles of the books we published. I remember one in particular for a book of handcrafted toy patterns—it went on and on for hours, and in exhaustion or desperation or brilliance, we called the book Stitchy Kitty Fuzzy Puppy. (Thank you, Anne Merrow.) We sold a lot of those books. Did the title help, or hurt sales? Nobody knows.

All photos by the masterful Joe Coca.

Thrums Books: The World in Textiles. Available at ClothRoads, Amazon, and at your favorite local bookshop.


14 thoughts on “The Name Game, or The Road to Marrakesh

  1. Kay Ostrom says:

    Morocco: Women Artisans and their Threads for Life

    This was a great project. By now, the title is long before chosen, I am sure. I really look forward to getting a copy of Susan’s book.

  2. Hicham Achelh says:

    Thanks a lot for this effort. It is really heart-warming that foreign researchers show a deep interest in writing about the traditions of my country. I am from Marrakesh, a Moroccan city known for its traditional carpet and rug-making. In fact, I love the idea of the book and it will be of great use to people willing to explore the country and its exotic handicraft. As a suggestion, I would like to name the book as “Women Artisans of Morocco: Eternal Wealth of Beauty, Pride, and Persistence”. Hope this one will be the best

  3. Dorothy says:

    Putting “Women Artisans of Morocco” first in the title makes the most important words more prominent and then “Spirit, Pride and Persistence”. “A Wealth of” is unnecessary. I think of all the women artisans we met as having those qualities and not so much some of the other descriptors suggested.

  4. Claire Nagel says:

    I like “Beauty, Strength and Spirit: Women Artisans of Morocco”.
    Three strong words and the title is not too long.

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