Status: Drafting the fourth book in the PERILOUS series!

Monday, July 13, 2009

What's in a Name?

When I received my contract, it came with a letter saying to pencil in any changes I wanted to make, and we'd negotiate them further. Well, I didn't really find any changes I wanted, except one, and that is in my author's name. In my contract it stated that my name would be displayed as Tamara Heiner. I assumed that was because that's my name, and it's what I put on my cover letter when I sent in my manuscript.

I requested to change my name to Tamara Hart Heiner so we could include my maiden name. My thinking behind this is that I know so many people from college and my mission to Brazil, and they may not know my last name. If one of them should walk into the bookstore and see the name 'Tamara Heiner', it might not mean anything (especially since many from my mission never knew my first name). But if they walk in and see 'Tamara Hart Heiner,' they might think, "Hmm. I wonder if that's that girl I knew way back when." Then they'll pick up the book, see my picture, and go, "It is her!" And buy the book, of course, because everyone wants to own a book written by someone they know!

But then I got to talking to another author who's publishing with WiDo, and she said they actually requested her to go by M. Gray instead of her full name. Fascinating! I had no idea the publisher had a preference! With that in mind, I hope they they're not put off by my request!

They probably won't recieve my contract back in the mail until tomorrow. Then I'm sure I'll hear from them and see if it's a Yay or Nay.


Karen Gowen said...

That's exactly why I went with Karen Jones Gowen as my pen name, I havent' been back to my old Illinois haunts in decades, and I wanted people who knew me when to recognize my name!

David J. West said...

I think it matters to the publisher based upon what your genre is. I'm only guessing here but maybe Mary's is considered deep enough what with the Aristotlean logic (I probably didn't even phrase that right) that they want her name ambiguous so as not to be offputting.

I am not trying to sound sexist in that response but I can think of a number of other women authors that were asked to have male sounding names. I don't even know if it helped sales or not, but I do know companies keep doing it.

The first one that comes to mind is H.B. Moore and then L.Taylor Hansen. I know there are more but I am still feeling foggy.

I am guessing for your book, Tamara, it will be just as you want.

Mary Gray said...

David, you're right about choosing a gender neutral name. WiDo also mentioned it appears more "intriguing" than Mary Gray. Ha! I'm actually going along with it. At first I did lament that old acquaintances wouldn't know me, but then I finally decided I'd go for the intrigue angle. :)

But I totally see the side of using your entire name. This is fun! I'm excited to read everyone's books!!

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

How about J.K. Rowling? :)

Yes, I'm sure that's why they do it. I hope my name is suitable.

David J. West said...

My wife would never let me live it down that I forgot J.K. Rowling, she is one of her faves.

And I am sure your name is suitable.

Kate said...

I've always wondered if the publisher has an opinion about that.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

Hi Kate! Thanks for stopping by!

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