WHAT’S IN A NAME

 

 

I need a good nom de plume.  Something the rolls off the tongue easily.  A name that anyone could remember.

 

See, I’m working on a book aimed at 8-12 year olds.  My previous books have been written at the behest of a textbook company.  They’re part of a reading curriculum sold only to schools.  So even though my name is on the cover, no one will ever notice or care who wrote that fishing book.

 

The current book is my own project and will someday grace the shelves of Barnes and Noble and other fine booksellers.  (I’m thinking positively, ok?  Just go with it.)  So I’m expecting children to scour the shelves searching for my name, and to type it into search engines to find out what other masterworks I’ve produced.

 

My own last name, for which I have my husband to thank, is unspellable by any normal human.  And judging by the way every telemarketer mangles it, it’s unpronounceable too.  There’s also the privacy issue.  The last thing I need is to have hordes of pre-teen paparazzi following me around. 

 

I’ve considered using my maiden name (doesn’t that phrase sound quaint, nowadays?), for which I have my father to thank.  But even though it is easy to pronounce and to spell (except for a pesky “is it e or is it u” ambiguity), I never much cared for it.  Also, it screams “Jewish.”  I’m not keen on having any psycho pre-teen Nazis hunting me down, either. 

 

I’ll probably keep my first name, even though many people insist on spelling it with a y instead of an i, but what to put after it?

 

Much as I like Transvestite Rabbit as a Xanga handle, it doesn’t translate well to Real Life.  Jodi Rabbit sounds like a stripper name, though I kind of like Jodi Trabbit.  I think I need a two or three syllable last name.  Nothing too esoteric but not too common, either.  I don’t want anyone googling my pen name and coming up with somebody else’s LinkedIn page or, god forbid, MySpace. 

 

Suggestions?  

 

 

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35 thoughts on “WHAT’S IN A NAME

  1. I doubt this will be very helpful, but one little “game” we used to play in high school was “what’s your hooker name?” Maybe a similar experiment could be applied to find you a nom de plume.
    The idea is, to discover your hooker name, your first name is the name of your first pet, and your last name is (either) the name of the first street you lived on as a child, or your mother’s maiden name. (Ironically enough, my mother’s maiden name and the name of the street I grew up on are the same.) I’ve always loved my “hooker name”:
    Charlie Miller.
    So, what’s yours? My boyfriend’s (Ginger Connoly) is ridiculously inappropriate, but I’ve always thought I could live with mine if I had to go incognito or enter the Witness Protection Program.

  2. Your brother wanted to use the last name “Random” when he was in college.  D. J. ing on the radio, I think.  It might be a good way to get “Random House” interested in all those books you will be writing!   It might be better to use the “J” sound for a last name.  ‘Jaybird’ or ‘Jester’ or ‘Jeffries’.  Maybe ‘Jacobs’.  Look in the phone book!

  3. To be more accurate, you have your grandfather to thank for your maiden name.  Go with Jodi Lynn and forget the multi- syllable stuff.   Simple yet elegant!  And you won’t have any nazis to deal with. 

  4. Gwenstylez up there has a good idea you could play with.  Or you could take on something really affected like Madeleine L’Engle, or silly like Mary Pope Osborne.

  5. Ah, so my hooker name would be Buttercup B, (Avenue B doesn’t translate well for this game) or Buttercup Decker, which is just ridiculous….
    I like Jodi Trabbit…you could try one of those name generators…a Viking one gave me my Thora the Beserker xanga handle, and there are tons out there.
    Good luck.  Are you going to tell us your pen name so we can rush out and cause a riot at B&N when it comes out?  🙂

  6. I like my “soap opera” name – using your middle name as a first name, and the street where you live as the last name.
    Or you could use Jodi “T.” Rabbit. The use of the middle initial makes it far too weighty a name to be a stripper name.  : )

  7. I was going to suggest the already-suggested variations of pet name, street name, maiden name, mother’s maiden name. I like TR something. Do you have a street or pet in your past that would fit after TR?  I didn’t hear the “game” as a ‘hooker name” but as a “romance author” name. Pepper Springbrook would be mine, going with the pet/street name variation. I’ve been into creating personas for clients lately, which has me coming up with not just a name but a picture. We seem to quickly glom onto a first name, then stumble around for a last name. Amazingly enough, though, about 80% of the time if we find a name we like I can do a Google search on images and find a picture who is PERFECT for our persona. Maybe you  could do the opposite and search images for someone who seems like your author-ego and then use their name….

  8. I actually did use the name “Marc Random” during my short stint as a radio D.J.  I’m impressed that Rockinbear remembers that.
    You could go totally off the wall, like “Lemony Snicket.”

  9. My pen name was given to me by a friend: V. Artemis Reyd.  But if I had to come up with one on my own, gods, I’d be where you are now.  My given name is good to use, because it’s pretty common if you google it. But that doesn’t make it memorable, like my nom de plume.
    Good luck!

  10. Hmm. Taking some liberties with the hooker/soap opera rules: Ginger Wayne gets 247 hits on Google, Claudia Wayne gets 392.  Penny Wayne gets 677, more but not overwhelming. I know Claudia really doesn’t count as your pet, but she sounds like an author, while Ginger screams “hooker”.

  11. I suggest you google character names of Dickens and Trollope novels.  You’d definitely come up with something that kids would think was funny and would remember.  That’s how I got my name for my blogger site:  Patience Crabstick.  (A minor character in Anthony Trollope’s novel The Eustace Diamonds.)

  12. Actually, Jodi Trabbit (or maybe Trabitt, even) does have a nice ring to it (although, given the trends in kids clothes nowadays, a hooker name might get you more readers…).

  13. I think last names that have 4 or 5 letters are the easiest to remember. King, Bond, Stone, Bone, um, can’t remember more, but you get the idea.
    Also, I read once, to come up with a pen name: Use your First pets name & the town you grew up in. I’d be Penny Graham.
    Don’t know if that give you any ideas at all…. :o)

  14. Excellent suggestions.  I like TR Washington.  You could then watch in amusement while your fans try to figure out on their internet fan site what the hell TR stands for.   

  15. Oooh, why not Dominique Devereaux?  (Heh…I watched Dynasty once, and I seem to recall that the last name did come from a phone book).  Or, how about the maiden names of your mother, grandmother, etc., or anyone else’s (related) maiden name?  I’m sure they’d be flattered, and it may not be too “Jewish”, “ethnic”, etc.
    Besides, Eddie Rabbitt (Rabbit?) had a good career with such a name, and I’m assuming it was his real name.  (He IS dead, isn’t he?  Funny, I can remember he wrote Kentucky Rain, but I can’t remember if he’s dead or not.  Damn my feeble brain!)

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