Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Way Back: Blog # 3, What’s in a Name
By Gammy L. Singer

What is in a name? I’m not asking just to be Shakespeare-rhetorical, but I’m seriously thinking about how or who should submit the synopsis and three chapters I’m working on.

My chapter of Sisters in Crime and I had Linda Fairstein as a speaker at our May meeting, and I was quite intrigued by bits of what she said. First, it was notable that even she, a best-selling author, harbors trepidations about the “next book”—whether it will sell well, etc., but I also picked up on her use of the “branding” term and how she definitely relates it to her “product.” It is not just a buzzword thrown around like a frizzbee among marketing professionals, but it’s a very real consideration in bookselling and book-buying. So we authors should pay attention to branding. I should pay attention. You should pay attention.

What I've learned: Authors’ names are often their brand. Or their series may be their brand. But an author's name or series name should be short, memorable, and easy on the tongue. Hmm… but I wanted to call myself Annamaria George for my next submission. Works well with my numerology folderol. Is that too long? (It’s my given and middle names switched around. Georgeanna Maria.) And is it memorable? Ugh. Does it roll trippingly, off the tongue? (Channeling Shakespeare today—sorry, guys!)

I personally think the name Gammy L. Singer is more memorable, that's why I've used it professionally for all these years--(if you Google me, I pop up quite a bit)--but it seems I’ve trashed that name, put it in the toilet with low book sales. But, but, but hark ye--I’ve spent so many years building it up—do I have to let it go now? Hey, it took GE and Coca-Cola a lotta- lotta’ years—talk about branding!

Okay, supposing I compromise, maybe plug ahead with future mysteries under Gammy, if my new agent (whoever that's gonna be) concurs, and this new venture into Romance, Romantic-Suspense, Romantic-mystery (??!)--whatever--I use Annamaria George. Anna George? Scooby-Doo?

And how should I deliver the project I’m working on now? My current plan is: send it to the editor, bypass my agent, written by (new name) and submit. But how's the editor going to know who it's from? I have to let her know it's me. But that screws up the whole “New Identity” thing.

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”
Shakespeare again.

Well, okay, if there’s a bite and an interest in publication, I’d contact an agent for representation (other than the one I have now, but with whom I'm not really happy) and we can go around the whole name thing at that time. Reasonable?

No, people, suffice to say, I have not ditched my current agent yet. Hedging, don’t want to do that until I’ve secured another. (I feel like Dick Cheney with all this skullduggery, but an author’s got to do what an author’s got to do, right? Should it be this hard though?)

What’s in a name? (hyperlink to Blog Branding et al.) Yikes. I guess I’ll find out.

(Does anybody say “yikes” anymore?) Did Shakespeare say it?


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