I am having something of an identity crisis.
Writers, particularly writers who self-publish, have to build very heavily on their brand – and their brand is their name. The most successful writers (King, Rowling and the like) can sell a book based on their name alone – people will buy it without even knowing what it’s about, simply because they know who wrote it and they know that person’s writing is good.
For the smaller fish in the sea, it is important to build up our names by making connections – in the blogging community, on Twitter, on Facebook. Connect with people, get your name out there, become known in your own small way and make enough ripples so that when people hear that your book is coming out they don’t say “Who?”, they say “I know her, she’s a good egg, I’ll take a look.” Then, hopefully, when it comes to the second book you can sell it on your name and also off the back of the first one’s phenomenal worldwide success. (Best-case scenario.)
So the name is important. And I’m starting to wonder about mine.
It’s the G, my middle initial. Originally, when I picked ‘Susie G. Murphy’ I thought I’d end up writing as ‘Susie G.’, my hip, cool nickname. But that hasn’t caught on so much. I mean, I can’t really write my signature at the end of a professional query letter and just sign Susie G. – makes me feel like I should add a gangsta ‘Yo!’ as well. So of course I have been obliged to include my surname Murphy on lots of things. And that has a very different feel to just ‘Susie G.’. I’m beginning to question whether ‘Susie G. Murphy’ is a bit too wordy in the mouth and I also fear that the middle initial might be a little on the pretentious side. Overall, it doesn’t seem to roll off the tongue very well and the few times I’ve had to speak the name out loud, I’ve stuttered over it. If I can’t even say my name, I’m in more trouble than I thought. 🙂
I would really love to get some feedback on this. What do you think? Am I imagining things? Or do you see my point? In your experience, what is the kind of author name that works best?
There are a couple of reasons why I’m bringing this up now. In the past week or so, I’ve been in contact with a book cover designer for my first novel – the final design is due to come to fruition this June. Obviously, once my name goes on the cover, there’s no going back!
I have also only just become acquainted with the notion of Facebook groups and – whoopee! – have found a bunch of them called ‘I love historical romance’ and suchlike. The only thing is you have to be an actual person to join these groups, whereas my writer persona on Facebook is consigned to my Susie G. Facebook page, which is a page that you ‘like’ as opposed to a person you can befriend. I’ve already joined a few groups as my ordinary, non-writer self (Susan Murphy) but that could get messy very quickly. So to do things properly, I should really create a new personal profile as Susie G. Murphy to be able to join these groups in my writer capacity. Might as well make sure I create a profile under the name I definitely want to call myself.
Of course, the thought of altering my name, even just losing the G, is very daunting. ‘Susie G. Murphy’ is included in everything – my web domain name, my email address, my Twitter profile, my Facebook page, and every blog or newsletter I’ve signed up to. Do I even consider trying to change all that? I don’t know!
So those are my doubts. All comments are welcome and much appreciated. What do YOU think?