What, indeed… I don’t know about you but names stump me most of the time. I may have mentioned this earlier but lack of a name will literally keep me from finishing a story or sometimes even writing one. It’s one of the reasons why I am so stuck on my werewolf series–I can’t figure out what to call them! So when it came to my own name, I wanted to make sure it fit.
Yes, you have gathered correctly that Alianne Donnelly is my pen name, not my real name. It was inspired by (what else?) fictional characters I was reading at the time. I may have outgrown those books in terms of what I like reading and writing now, but the characters have stayed with me and so I honor that with this small gesture, hoping some of their greatness will rub off on me.
In case you were wondering, I use a pen name because no one would be able to pronounce my real one, let alone remember how to spell it. I had some back-up choices, too. There was Tris Sinclair and the ever-dramatic Christabel MacPherson. #3 got scrapped right off the bat. It brought to mind too many dramatic bodice ripper covers which were just not me. Tris Sinclair is still in the wings (she is also a character in one of my long ago stories which will never see the light of day), but I have come to realize the power of a name, so it is very unlikely that I will use it.
Your name is your brand. It’s how people know you. It will be in your web address (when you’re ready for a custom URL) and on the covers of your books. The more you put it out there, the more people will see it (which is also why it’s better to have one name than write under several), so be sure it’s a good one. If you are comfortable with people knowing your real name (if you like your real name) then you got it made. If not, give some thought into it before you make a choice. Make sure it’s unique and fits who you are and what you write. Make sure it’s easy to remember and especially spell. Nothing will kill the spread of your fame faster than someone fumbling over how many l’s or r’s are in your name. I know this. My mom chews my arse out about my name every time she has to look for it online. “Is it two l’s or one? Where did you come up with such a stupid name?” (speaking of which, I have to bookmark my site on her computer…)
Think about it. Will you use two names or three? Or one, like Madonna? Initials? A traditional name or something completely off the wall?
I did a little research and for those interested, John Doe is already taken. But so far I haven’t found an author by the name of Jane Doe, or Jane Doe Smith…