The Best Kept Secret of Successful Authors

27 Jun

Yes, I’ve discovered the secret to becoming a successful author. It’s not what you think. Doesn’t have anything to do with talent, luck, timing, a good agent, a good editor, knowing somebody who works at Random House, fate, destiny, karma or a good cover.

Are you ready for this?

<<<<Drum roll>>>>

It has to do with YOUR NAME. More specifically, YOUR INITIALS.

Simply write your books using the initials of your first name and middle name. In other words, if your name is Nancy Olivia Thing, your writing name would be N.O. Thing. Maybe that’s a bad example, but you get the picture.

If you don’t have a middle name, make one up. It worked for a U.K. author named Joanne Rowling. Her publisher figured her target audience of young boys might not want to read a book written by a woman, and asked Joanne to use two initials, rather than her full name. She came up with ‘J.K.’  Good advice, as it turned out, seeing as Joanne became a multimillionaire in five years.

If you don’t think two initials is adequate, use three, like John Ronald Reuel — or J.R.R. — Tolkien, author of Lord of the Rings. Or use your first name and then your two initials, like George Raymond Richard — or George R. R. — Martin, author of A Game of Thrones. Names beginning with the letter ‘R’ seem to be a particularly good bet, especially if you write fantasy sagas.

“But I don’t have three names,” you lament. Who cares? Pick one from a hat and use it. In my first example, adding one more name — Nancy Olivia Winnifred Thing — becomes N.O.W. Thing. Much better.

Now that I’ve discovered this secret, I’ll be using my new name from now on — Nancy Elizabeth Lauzon will be N. E. Lauzon. I know it reads ‘ANY’ Lauzon when you say it, which implies that ANY member of my husband’s family might have written my book, but trust me, no members of his family could have written it. Some of them don’t even read.

6 Responses to “The Best Kept Secret of Successful Authors”

  1. Selena Robins Musings June 27, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

    LOL! So your new name is NEL? Hmmm, I’ll have to think about this one. I guess I would be S.M. Robins, but not sure I like the SM, as it may imply I write about S&M, and you know me, my heroine would probably end up beating the crap out of the hero if he tried S&M on her.

    Unique names could be fun though, my last name Robin is in bird, I could change it to, Blue Robin? Sounds like a stripper though, Ms. Blue.

    I’ll have to play with more initials and figure it out.

  2. Jewel Divas Style June 27, 2012 at 8:26 pm #

    It seems to be the way doesn’t it. Your comment about boys not reading books by girls is true. I’ve heard this before and it’s the same for men who write romance novels. They either use initials or a female name. So when you see initials it makes you wonder whether a man or woman wrote the book. Although one other thing I read this week, even James Patterson doesn’t write all of his books these days. He farms them out to other authors but uses his plotline and he gets paid by the publisher as they use his name. Interesting.

    • nancyelizabethlauzon June 27, 2012 at 9:00 pm #

      Everything old is new again. They did that with the Nancy Drew Mysteries, of course. Carolyn Keene was actually several authors, both men and women, who used that name.

  3. 4amWriter June 27, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

    Good advice. This one I have to mull, as I have been debating on the usefulness of my married name, Johnston. It’s so…ordinary. Know what I mean? Besides that, just about everyone drops the ‘t’ so they come out saying Johnson, which is even more like dishwater. What’s a girl to do?

    Maybe I’ll just go by initials. That’s all. K.M.J. Now, there’s a winning author’s name. 🙂

    • nancyelizabethlauzon June 28, 2012 at 7:51 am #

      That sounds good, just make sure people don’t mistake you for a Dutch airline.
      My maiden name was Brown, talk about ordinary! =)

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