Saturday, 5 August 2017
Choosing the Write Name
One of the first big decisions facing any budding author hoping to publish their novel is deciding what to call yourself. There are two options.
Option 1: Be yourself.
Plus points are that it's easy to remember who you are (until dementia takes over, when you have to rely on friends and family). And it stops that look of vague terror crossing your face when being introduced as a guest speaker. Or seeing a poster with your face and stranger's name under it. It also makes the banking of meagre royalties easier, and stops HMRC from going into meltdown every time you fill in a self-assessment form.
Option 2: Be someone else.
Initially, that's what I was going to do. I wanted a different name for the author of Diamonds & Dust etc. As it was going to be my first 'adult' novel, I thought I'd like to create a new identity to go with it. And I wanted something that would place my books at eye-level on the bookshop shelf - something that not enough writers factor in when choosing their author name. (Think supermarket and bottom shelves). Plus I wanted a name that suggested the book was a historical novel. Thus Victoria Collins was born: Victoria after the Queen; Collins after Wilkie Collins, writer of the first detective novel. Great name! Or so I thought.
Alas, just as I was beginning to develop a split personality and quite enjoying it, the negative aspects of my decision began to surface and niggle at me. To launch as an unknown historical fiction writer seemed a bit risky, didn't it? How would anyone who already knew me, find me? A quick trawl on the internet also threw up a couple of other Victoria Collins. Both established writers, both with blogs. My alter-ego had competition before she'd even started.
However, 'Carol Hedges' existed as a known entity, and had a presence on Amazon, Wikipedia and other sites. It seemed daft to turn my back on what was already set up and running. So sadly, Victoria and I parted company. Purely for commercial reasons. But I like to think that she hasn't completely gone away; that she is still out there, somewhere. A spiky, scatty version of me ... in a bonnet and crinoline. Causing trouble.
So how about you? Do you use your own name to publish your books? Do you prefer books written by 'real' people or doesn't it matter? Please contribute below...
STOP PRESS: The Victorian Detectives will be returning soon. And they've got a brand new mystery to solve!
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I use my own name - but did angst about it when I took the leap from Child Protection into writing - I was fairly well-known in my field and now doing something so very different. But then decided I am who I am. And life was confusing enough without changing my name!ReplyDelete
Existing on Wikipedia? You never stop learning something new. Ma'am, you're even more famous than I thought. I'm more than awestruckReplyDelete
needs verification by not me..but I am thereDelete
Georgia Rose is my pen name, and I love having a different online persona. I decided to go this route because I started out writing, and publishing, in secret, and also there was another author already using my real name. I've never come across this person but she writes books about cats wearing waistcoats and carrying pocketwatches and I didn't want there to be any confusion!ReplyDelete
So interesting to hear the 'other' view point. I think of I was starting out afresh, it would be a consideration, but coz I have a backlist, it would cause confusion.Delete
So glad you stayed with your own name, Carol, we wouldn't know what you were up to otherwise!ReplyDelete
I've yet to publish a book but, apart from a few, all my magazine stories have been published under my own name.ReplyDelete