Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Consider Your Writing Name

Y O U R  W R I T I N G  N A M E
Bird Wearing Hat
Have you ever given serious thought to the name you use in your writing world? If you haven't, you should. 

Are you thinking All I care about is being a good writer. Or I want my work to be published. Maybe My name is not as important as what I write. The first two are what most writers consider to be important. It's that last one that many slide right by. 

So, why is your name that's tacked onto your writing of importance? It's your identity in the writing world. It's what you will become known as by your readers.

In my non-writing life, I am Nancy Kopp. In my writing world, I am Nancy Julien Kopp. I didn't start using my maiden name in the middle until the day I discovered that there was another Nancy Kopp who was a writer. She wrote mystery novels, completely different from my kind of writing. Even so, I didn't think there should be two writers with the same name. 

I had some choices. I could have chosen any of the following:
  • N. Kopp
  • Nancy J. Kopp
  • Nancy Joyce Kopp
  • N. J. Kopp
  • Nancy Julien Kopp
I spent some time writing the different versions of my name and finally settled on the last one in this list. I decided it might stay with readers more than the others. And I felt like it had a little more sophistication. 

I always use the full three names when I submit work to an editor. You would think that they would automatically use that name when publishing my work but that's not always the case. I recently had a story published in a magazine with a large circulation. I was thrilled to be in this publication. When my author's copies arrived, I turned right to my story, and there was my name Nancy Kopp. Why? I used all three names in my correspondence with the editor which entailed several letters, also under the title of the story I submitted. You would think that it was obvious what name should be used with the story. Sometimes, I will mention that Nancy Julien Kopp is my writing name, so please use it. This time, I did not but wish I had.

When I attend my state authors convention, I am listed as Nancy Julien Kopp and I am introduced with that name when conducting a writing workshop. When you register for a conference, use your full writing name.

Take some time to think about the name you will use in your writing world. Make a list of all the possibilities and then select the one that appeals to you most. Consider the pros and cons of each.

If a woman is writing for a magazine geared to men or boys, she might consider using just initials. That should be the decision of the writer but perhaps discussed with the editor. Other than situations like this, be consistent with the name you use when writing.

Your writing name is important. If you've been using one form for a long time and fear changing it now, go ahead and do it. Once a little time has gone by, your 'new' writing name will become familiar to your readers. 

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