Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Writing Name

When I first began writing, I used the name Nancy Kopp. Why not? It's my name, and I was proud to have it on my work. Some writers choose to use only initials and last name, others use both names and still others might choose to use a pseudonym. I've always thought they did it if they weren't proud of their work, or perhaps they wanted anonymity only for privacy sake. If I spend hours writing an article, story or poem, I'd like my real name on it.

One day I was walking through Walmart and passed by the book section. It's hard for me to ignore a book browsing spot, so I turned around and went back to scan the shelves. My eyes moved from one shelf to another until one book stopped me cold. I couldn't tell you the title today, but in big letters under the name of the book was the author's name NANCY KOPP. I grabbed the book and started checking the back cover, frontispiece and inside to see who this imposter was. Turned out that this Nancy Kopp works at the University of Wisconsin in Madison and writes mystery novels on the side. What are the odds of having two Nancy Kopps who are both writers?

The only thing I could do was to change my writing name somehow to differentiate between the two. The simplest solution was to add my maiden name, so I typed it to see how it looked, and I rather liked it. It looked professional and rather nice, so my new writing name came into being. I've used it for a good number of years now, and it feels comfortable. It's especially comfortable when an envelope arrives by Snail Mail addressed to Nancy Julien Kopp with a check inside in payment for something I've written and sold.

If you want to write, give some serious thought to the name you want to use and be consistent in using it. The nurse in the doctor's office may know you by one name and your readers by quite another. Pick a name you feel good about. I share the Julien part of mine with my oldest granddaughter. Her name is Alexis Julien Kopp, and believe it or not, she'd like to become a journalist someday.

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