What's In An Author's Name?

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Before you publish, take a moment to think about how your name will appear on your cover

Once the the final drafts of your text and cover have been approved, it’s impossible to backtrack and change.

The name you want to appear on the cover of your book should be written in the Display Name boxes on your Profile at the earliest possible opportunity so the information that goes out on the book through the company and to cover designers/editors and then to the trade is consistent from the start.

Please do not add your qualifications to your name

Although some authors like their name to be prefaced by “Dr” or “Rev” or “Shaykh,” or followed by MA or PhD, these do not appear on international bookseller databases which may confuse “Dr” with your first name, or merge “PhD" with your last name, making your book harder to find.

In fact, a number of the world’s bestselling authors, published by major houses, add to their cover qualifications that they bought off the shelf for a few hundred dollars - that’s not a practice we feel comfortable with.

We believe that the vast majority of serious authors do not parade their credentials like this.

Do check if there are authors with the same name as yourself

A quick Amazon search is likely the quickest way to do this. It’s not an insuperable obstacle if there is another author with your name. However, you might want to tweak your name (with an initial or middle name) to avoid confusion.

Make sure you are consistent with how you present your name across all your publications

If you have other books and articles, with slightly different names on all of them, it’ll be hard to search for your work in bookshops and online. People might think they are written by two or three different people.

Please don’t use a pseudonym if you can avoid it

We prefer you to publish your book under your own name. Sales people want to know who you are, where you’re from, what you’re doing to promote the book, and it’s confusing for everyone if you’re doing that under a different name.

In general, we don’t believe it is worth using different names for different markets (for instance, if you want to write business books under one name and fiction for children under another).

It is unlikely that readers in one market are going to come across the other books, or that if they did it would somehow make you sell less books.

The exception, of course, is if your potential readers already know you by your pseudonym, or if you have a professional name that is not your birth one.

You cannot use a single name!

On most databases a single name will appear in the first name field, when the surname field is used in database search. When people look for your book, bookseller databases will say your book is not in print.

If possible, don’t make your name too long!

Most book databases only allow for 15 characters, starting with your surname so if you have a long name, it is likely to be truncated, and your book harder to find.

Avoid ampersands, hyphens, apostrophes or similar punctuation

If you have a surname like Rupert Cave-Brown a bookseller will type Cave Brown onto the screen and it will not show as being in stock.

Sometimes names do change, whether through divorce, changing your religion, or whim, but we do not believe it is practical to change the name on your book, even if it is a new edition. It would then be on the databases under two different names, with two different ISBN numbers, and people would not know which one to buy or order.

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