In some comments, I was asked by someone who knows my full name how I intended to present my name when published. I gave him the short answer but I put a lot of thought on how I want my name to appear on books, etc should I ever get published. I did this for several reasons, and the name that I finally decided on is only vaguely related to the name I have now.
Names have to sound right. And I believe that the right name can help to make or break a book. A name that gets tangled on the tongue, as mine can, can prevent people from buying a book. CS Lewis published that way rather than have his whole name, Clive Staples Lewis, out there. Who really wants to read a book written by Clive? While I have seen published books with full names on the cover, but they flow. However, along with CS Lewis, a number of successful authors have only partial names out there: JRR Tolkien, and JK Rowling. I also enjoy JR Ward.
Are we seeing a trend? I believe so. I think using initials can help sell a book to a wider audience. Some women may not want to read a book by a man, and vice versa (especially in the SF genre, or so I hear). Using initials makes the author, in a sense, gender neutral. Another reason to use initials: I really hate it when people mash up my name. I have seen my name misspelled by those who are holding a card with my name on it. I have heard it misprounced just after I say it. I mean really, how many ways can you pronounce one name? Dorothy. Having problems? Do not pronounce it like in _The Wizard of Oz_ with three syllables “Dor-a-thy.” My name has two syllables. Dor-thy. And do not misspell it by leaving out the second “o.” A good way to circumvent these problems is to use the initial only. D.
Okay, but what then? I’m far from fond of my middle name. I and the initial set “DM” sounds too close to “BM” for my liking. Perhaps I’m being finicky, but I wouldn’t buy a book with someone’s initials “BM.” However, my last name starts with a W. I like DW as an initial set, but the name sounds unfinished.
Enter another solution: I’m engaged. What does this have to do with my published (if I ever get there) name? As a woman, it is traditional to take on your husband’s name. I happen to like my last name. I like the history of it, and the sound of it. And I really like the initial set “DW” as I’ve said before. If I take on my husband’s last name, I don’t have to get rid of my first last name. I would add it on to my name as it is, and I like the idea of having four names. I think it’s kind of cool to say I have four names. Not a hyphenated last name, but four distinct names, two middle names.
DW Ellis. I like the sound of it both for my personal life and publishing. It has the benefit of being initialized, like many great authors, while at the same time being different enough to make it stick in the mind. In fact, I might add, that I like the name enough for publishing that I have considered legally changing my name early. I’m still debating on that one, but there’s no rush at the moment.
I could have chosen a full pseudonym, but I didn’t really like that idea. I want to be known for writing my books as me, not as a different person. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has put some thought into this concept. When you’re published, or if you are now, how does your publishing name differ from your given name? And how did you choose this name? Are you going to write under a pseudonym?
- Your Book Is Out! Ten Tips For Promoting It (broadsideblog.wordpress.com)