What’s in a Name?
I wrestled mightily with the idea of self-publishing MagicLand, because I didn’t want to wait several years to find a combination of agent and publisher to see the project through. Not at my age. I wanted it out the door asap.
To make a long story short, with a little luck and a little pluck I found a New York publishing house for MagicLand, and I am seeing two benefits already.
Benefit Number One
Only about four and a half months after finding the publisher, I have a cover. That’s pretty fast work in the publishing business.
The eBook will be released in June, with print editions appearing in bookseller inventories by November and actual hard copies on store shelves in December.
Benefit Number Two
But the most important benefit might be this: the intrepid publisher has found that another C.E. White (my previous “pen name”) exists on Amazon, which could create inventory headaches once the book goes to print, and is definitely an SEO problem. Bad enough with a common name like mine, but made worse by the fact that my chosen pen name is already “taken.”
So I changed the author name to a pen name I used when I was young when I wrote like a fiend but before I tried so hard to get things published.
This new name is now being reflected in my Medium account.
Better now, when I still only have a couple hundred followers, than later, when I might have 300. Laugh out loud.
The use of pen names is actually fairly common in the book writing business. Some authors who collaborate on a project settle on one name, for example. For marketing purposes.
These days, it really is all about marketing, which most authors aren’t very good at. Having a name conflict isn’t going to help that cause.
The most famous example of an author using a pen name is probably that of Stephen King, who used the name Richard Bachman (on successful books, no less).
Of course, his situation is quite different than mine in ways that don’t need to be explained (think dollars and sales). Interestingly, King wanted to see if his stuff would sell without his famous name. They did.
If I sell a fraction of books that Richard Bachman sold, much less Stephen King, I’ll be a very happy man, and you can call me anything you want at that point.