Why the question mark?

There are tons of books with question marks in their titles. Are you there God? It’s Me Margaret and Who Moved My Cheese? are just a couple that come to mind.

Most of the time, as a word nerd, I would frown on using a question mark when it really doesn’t need to be there. In Publisher’s Weekly last year, Sloane Crosley wrote an article called “The Question of the Question Mark,” in which she explained why she left out the question mark of her book How Did You Get This Number. She simply doesn’t think adding the punctuation mark to a title is necessary. And, I will agree, it is pretty easy to understand the question without the mark in that case.

But, I have come to the decision there are some things that words alone can’t say well enough. The question mark can prevent a statement from becoming overly static, overly decisive, and … well … overly unquestionable.

So, why has WordStream Publishing made the decision to add a squiggly mark to a book title that turns the words into an interrogative phrase? The answer is found with the journey of readers whose lives will be changed by the content of one of our books releasing this fall.

Survivors of abuse often experience more than just wounds to their bodies and minds. Abuse and trauma can insert question marks in the most surprising of places deep within a person. The things that once seemed most sure, can seem shaky and unsteady. A person’s view of God and view of his or her own soul can become greatly distorted from a healthy perspective.

While working on the project Shattered Soul?: Five Pathways to Healing the Spirit After Abuse or Trauma, the authors and I — as well as Paula D’Arcy who contributed the foreword to the book — all had questions about making the title sound like it had a period at the end of it.

The truth, that those of us involved with this project believe, is that the soul itself is not shattered — ever — in a way that it can not be made whole again. It is a solid, found deep within a person, even if he or she is the survivor of the worst unimaginable experiences.

So, in the coming weeks, the cover of the book will change. The datafeeds will change. We are inserting a question mark where it might not seem to belong. We are inserting a question mark, to make absolutely sure that survivors never ever insert a decisive period where it doesn’t belong.

Shattered Soul? That is the question.

The answer: “No.”

Even though you question it and feel wounded, you can be made whole again. You can find the unshattered, unshakable core deep within yourself.

—Marti Williams, Publisher of WordStream Publishing


About WordStream Publishing

WordStream Publishing is an independent publisher with a focus on both print and digital formats. WordStream Publishing is committed to amplifying the voices of the most creative, inspiring, and progressive authors out there. We publish in a range of topics: memoir, contemplative life, peace and justice, spiritual disciplines, and historical fiction.
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One Response to Why the question mark?

  1. Vicki Schmidt says:

    Excellent explanation of the addition of the question mark. Grateful for that addition and
    clarity as the soul could never shatter it holds all our struggle, pain and suffering

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