Sunday, April 29, 2012

What's In A Name?

I've never been exactly happy with the name that my parents chose for me. After all, it's difficult to overcome a name that rhymes with "booty." So when I thought about creating a pen name for myself as an author, I figured it would be an easy task. Wrong!

At first I sat down with pencil and paper and began writing down all the ideas for pen names. I thought about Paige Turner, Louisa E. Anna, Pearl E. Gates, Amber Waves. I think you get the picture. I was getting nowhere fast.

Frustrated, I turned to the internet for ideas. I searched articles on "How to Choose A Pen Name" and "Why Choose A Pen Name" and, the best one of all, "The Pen Name Generator." Their advice was to choose a name that's in the middle of the alphabet so that our book is placed on the middle shelf in a bookstore. "You don't want your book located on the top shelf," one article noted. "Nor do you want your book located at the very bottom. After all, no one wants to bend down or reach on their tippy toes to choose a book. They just want to stand there and look at the middle shelves. It's easier."

Then there was the whole question of how long or short your name should be. "If it's too long," the article states,"people can't remember it. If it's too short or common, people won't remember it, either. Or worse, they will remember part of it and find another book with the same first or last name and take that book instead." Horrifying thought, let me tell you.

Some of you may be asking, "Why not just use our own name? Wouldn't that be better?" That's the tricky part. I read an article about a woman named Patricia O'Brien who had her book "The Dress" rejected 13 times. She changed her name to Kate Alcott and it was published. So, in her case, the name was very important. It made all the difference to the publishers.

For me, the plan is to write in different genres. My first book is a young adult, and I intend to write under my real name for this genre because I'm a middle school teacher, and I want my students to be able to find my books with ease. However, for my adult books, I don't think it's a good idea to use my real name as they may not be suitable for my preteen students. Using a pen name will differentiate between the two.

So, I ask you, what's in a name? Shakespeare said, "... a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." I would have to agree with Shakespeare, but then look at his name. It's pretty catchy.

What's the secret to finding that perfect pen name that everyone will remember? A Pen Name Generator, of course!!! It's fast and easy! However, is it effective? Here's what popped up for me. I will let you be the judge.

Temple Drake
Grace Foster
Claire Hill
Zoe Miller
Lexie Michell
Sian Forest
Dawn Davis
Kate Stone

I would hope that I would be able to come up with a pen name by the time I finish my upcoming adult book. It's in the outline stage at this point. Meanwhile, I'm open for suggestions!!


Trudy Edgeworth is a sixth-grade science teacher who lives in Rogers, Arkansas. She is married to the love of her life, Keith, and was blessed with four amazing children. Despite her busy schedule with her career as a teacher, she finds time to pursue her true passion ... writing. She is currently working on a fictional piece for young adults at the request of her students and plans to have it finished in May 2012.


Jennifer Blake said...

Hmm how about Claire Michell? But it might depend on the genre of your adult books...

Kathy Faucheux said...

I like Dawn Davis, but I've always been partial to alliteration. Temple Drake and Lexie Michell are also catchy, and Zoe Miller sounds girl-next-doorish and appropriate for those Robyn Carr and Debbie Macomber-style books. I hope you find the perfect name! When you finish with this list, maybe I could use one of your rejects!

Landra said...

Wow! That's a wide list of choices and now that you mention it, each one sparks a genre for me. I never really looked at pen names that way before. Makes me wonder what genre people naturally think of when they see my name.

If I had to choose I would say: Temple Drake - for urban fantasy or paranormal
Kate Stone- for supsense or thriller
Zoe Miller- for chick lit or contemporary style

I'm with Kathy! Good luck on the selection, and I also hope you find the one that speaks to you.

P.S. It's funny how small this world is when you live right in my backyard.

a bit of earth said...

I struggled with pen names too. Eventually, like you, I decided that multiple names - for multiple genres - would be best. Pen names also help protect your privacy!

And I like your name very much- Trudy Edgeworth sounds sophisticated and smart. But I'm also partial to Claire (because it's my middle name) lol!

Best wishes in all you do,

Trudy Edgeworth said...

I agree with all of your comments as far as matching the name with the genre.

@ Aunt Pat..... I like Claire Mitchell. That's catchy. Somehow, I feel like I am a Claire. LOL

@ Landra and Kathy.... Thanks for matching the names with the type of genre. That helps narrow it down. I see what you mean about how the names seem to just fit a certain genre. Landra, how close are we talking here?

@ Susannah, sophisticated and smart, huh? Wow, I need you around all the time. That really boosted my ego a bit. P.S. I'm partial to Claire, too.

Landra said...

@ Trudy... We're talking I work in Rogers, AR and live 15 minutes from there. Lol! If you ever want to go to lunch let me know. I'm up for it, especially with school wrapping up soon.

Trudy Edgeworth said...

Landra, that's so amazing. I think it would be cool for us to have lunch together.