Thursday, May 04, 2006

Writer Name Rant (cont.)

STATUS: Giddy. Got my Brilliance audio copy of LOVE YOU KILL YOU today. It’s the agency's first bona fide audio book.

What song is playing on the iPod right now? CRUEL TO BE KIND by Letters To Cleo

Methinks that sometimes the readers of this blog take me too seriously. Unless your name is Charles Manson or something equally creepy, I’m certainly not going to nix somebody’s query or partial based on their name alone or how they sign it.

A name can be changed. Story in a moment.

But let’s talk about this some more.

I think an author’s name should fit the genre they write. A nice hyphenated last name might work well for a literary work but would be too cumbersome for romance, mystery, and thriller. SF and Fantasy can swing either way I think.

Middle initials are just the bane of my existence. Drop ‘em. If your name is super common (as is Kristin Nelson), I’d seriously consider a pseudonym for your writing career. And, no need to provide that middle initial for your query either. Trust me, that single letter isn’t going to distinguish you enough if your name is Jane Smith.

When we respond to partials and actually do put the writers name in the heading, we leave off any titles (Mr., Ms., or Dr.) and initials. First and last name only. We don’t have time for anything else.

Not to mention, long or difficult names are not easy to remember. Let’s do a quick quiz.

Name five literary writers. Go….

Okay, off the top of my head without even thinking, these writers pop to mind:
Salman Rushdie
Toni Morrison
Marilynne Robinson
Alice Munro
John Fowles

Easily remembered names.

As much as I would like them to, folks like Michael Ondaatje and Chuck Palahnuik (and Annie Proulx for that matter) don’t leap to mind easily.

Is it hurting their sales? Probably not. I will venture a guess that book buyers probably don’t ask for them by name (if they are like me, pronunciation is slippery) but by title.

Gets the job done. Still…

Off to the airport. Will have to share my good author name story tomorrow.