What’s in a Name?

The Adventure Book by Jennifer M Zeiger

Last week I reminisced about the color of The Adventure’s cover and the balance between loving the cover as it is and trying to use it for marketing. In other words, trying to make it visible on a book shelf or a screen.

This week, please bear with me while I share the learning curve on names.

One, in the book’s title and two, in my author name.

Book Titles

Like book covers, in traditional publishing, the publisher tends to have more control over the title than the author. For instance, Twilight started out as simply Forks (named after the town the story is placed in).

However, that wasn’t interesting or unique enough, so it was changed to Twilight. A publisher, without a doubt, would have changed The Adventure to something else. And in hind sight, I should have too.

Here’s why…

Let’s have a little field trip. Go to Amazon and pick books. Then type in The Adventure.

Can you find the book?

I’d be seriously impressed if you could. It’s lost in pages and pages of other books, and maps, and piano book lessons, and Pathfinder game guides, and… I could go on for 100 pages worth of titles. (literally).

I liked the simplicity of The Adventure. I still do. But for marketing purposes, I should have picked something not only simple, but more unique.

Author Name

An author’s name is an author’s name. A traditional publisher doesn’t get to control that. However, they might suggest something different if it’s hard to find or your name matches someone else’s.

Let’s try another field trip. Go to Amazon and type in Jennifer Zeiger.

What do you get?

You get Jennifer Zeiger, but it’s not me until the second page. Now, if you type in my full author name with the middle M, you will find me, but this is such a subtle difference that it’s often overlooked.

On a side note, the other Jennifer is related to me by marriage. She writes for Scholastic and has often answered my random questions when she can.

Now, I knew there was another Jennifer out there who wrote books. When I decided to use my name for writing, I figured I’d have my full length novels published traditionally if anything, and they’re in the fantasy genre (YA and Epic). I figured these were different enough from what the other Jennifer wrote that it wouldn’t be a problem.

However, add that to the fact that The Adventure itself is difficult to find and everyone gets confused. (Including family. I’ve had aunts contacting me thinking I’m the other Jennifer.)

The takeaway from all of this:

Find a distinct title. And be choosy about the name you write under. These are the two gateways people will use to find your writing online. It’s worth taking the time to pick well.

What catches your eye in a title? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Until next time, Blessings,

Jennifer

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6 thoughts on “What’s in a Name?

  1. kat says:

    As a kid, I thought I’d use a pen name that started with an A so it would be at the beginning and everyone would see it. Then I realized most of the books I actually picked up where by authors with a name from the second half of the alphabet. Though on a list of authors, I can see having a name with an earlier letter being better because eyes have yet to go glassy.

    As for titles, that’s a good question! I never thought much about it, but I realized I’m drawn to titles that mention something I like, like cats and magic, or something that sounds like high fantasy, like Robert Jordan. Though sometimes I don’t really notice the title until after I’ve bought it.

    For me, the title and cover are secondary. I like to pick random books and read a page from the beginning, middle, and end. If it doesn’t draw me in, I won’t get it.

    • How interesting that the title and the cover are secondary for you! I’m right with you on the being drawn to titles that mention something of interest. Or that sound like fantasy. I’ll definitely put in more thought before picking my next title!

  2. Pop Pop says:

    So good to reflect and continue learning. So, in retrospect, heart strings may pull to satisfy a need, however may not “market” well to your audience. First question that comes to mind is, who are you targeting? Then how do you get there with what you have already learned? Keep in mind that your audience may change in time, so, don’t box yourself in for the long term.

  3. J.C. Wolfe says:

    Sounds like The Adventure has been quite a learning experience for you so far, Jennifer! I understand your author name struggle; when I chose my pen name, I didn’t consider that W would put my books toward the bottom of bookstore shelves, not to mention there are several other authors out there with the same surname. My real surname is distinctly “European” and probably harder to remember (which is why I chose a pen name in the first place), but in hindsight, I should have been using it all along because my name is definitely unique! 🙂

    Despite all the struggles, you should be proud of having published your first book! I’m sure everything you’ve learned so far will help you through your career as an author! Good luck! 😉

    • I never thought about where my name would place the book in the store until I saw it. Then I had a ‘duh’ moment. =) The things we don’t think about until it’s staring us in the face! But these are the things I wanted to learn with this book before I publish my novels. This is definitely my learning book =) And if I can share some of that with others who can use it, all the better =)

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