Have you ever looked to see where your surname fits on the shelves in your local book-store? Which other authors surround you? Whether your surname will be a help or a hindrance?
I had a very interesting conversation with a member of staff in my local book-shop today about surnames. (Actually I hate the term ‘member of staff’. My thoughts fly to ‘member’ – phallic object, and ‘staff’ - long wooden stick for aging Druids. They do not fly to nicely helpful shop worker. This could be because I am blessed with a mucky mind though.)
My question to the nicely helpful shop worker was which letter of the alphabet works best as a surname for authors amongst the shelves. He didn’t even bat an eyelid (which is why I love and adore the folk who work in book shops). Without hesitation he told me that surnames beginning with ‘A’ do well, as do ‘M’ and ‘S’ – however he said this was because there are a lot of authors with surnames already beginning with those letters so people often head to that part to look for a specific author, and maybe pick up other books while they are there.
The reason for the question is that I was musing on which name I would publish under when the great day arrives (sings as in Gospel choir – Great Day). Now a few of you already know that I actually write this blog under a pseudonym.
Don’t be dismayed that my name is not Jayne
I did not mean to be a pain
Or to confuse, or to lie
You see the reason is I’m really quite shy
But the name ‘Jayne Ferst’ is dear to me, not just chosen at random. That will be a post for another day. But I didn’t think about whether or not it would be good on the shelves - damn, missed a trick! Had I but thought about it I could have been Jayne McFerst. Or Jayne Serst (which sounds like Jayne’s Erst – erstwhile life, maybe?)
Nicely helpful shop worker said he thought ‘F’ wasn’t a bad letter for an author’s surname; he reeled off a list of literary dignitaries that jostle around that area. If I keep with ‘F’ I would be in good company. No one else has the same surname, unlike the real one, which is already glorified by three other authors already, and whose web-domains went with the beginning of the Internet.
Where do you sit on the shelves? Do you think your surname will be a help or a hindrance?
I will draw the results of my contest this weekend - either Friday or Saturday. Sorry - week has been hectic!