Forget the content – my name is too long!

I have to blame one of Douglas Adams’ characters for pointing this out.  The fact that I have yet to even attempt to publish a word should make this point mute, but now I know it – I can’t unknow it.

“David says it’s the first thing any publisher looks for in a new author. Not, `Is his stuff any good?’ or, `Is his stuff any good once you get rid of all the adjectives?’ but, `Is his last name nice and short and his first name just a bit longer?’ You see? The `Bell’ is done in huge silver letters, and the `Howard’ fits neatly across the top in slightly narrower ones. Instant trade mark. It’s publishing magic. Once you’ve got a name like that then whether you can actually write or not is a minor matter. Which in Howard Bell’s case is now a significant bonus. But it’s a very ordinary name if you write it down in the normal way, like it is here you see.”  (The Long Dark Tea-Time of The Soul, by Douglas Adams)

Now go on.  Take a look at some of the best sellers; those Authors who’s short, concise, names on the cover means they can have it printed in a ‘big ass’ font size and still fit across the cover or down the spine…

Danielle Steel
Wilbur Smith
Stephen King
Jeffrey Archer

It also seems to work the other way, with the short first name and the surname slightly longer…

Tom
Clancy

Dan
Brown

Clive
Cussler

Anne
Rice

Ken
Follett

Sidney
Sheldon

Enid
Blyton

Dean
Koontz

Nora
Roberts

Agatha
Christie

Robert
Ludlum

John
Grisham

Leo
Tolstoy

Jackie
Collins

These are fortunate enough to have enough of the ‘skinny’ letters such as ‘i’ and ‘t’ and ‘l’ for their names to still to work…

James
Patterson

Alistair
MacLean

Patricia
Cornwell

But I have no such luck. One possible solution, other than changing it all together is to abbreviate – S. A. Hodgekiss

Dr. Seuss
J. R. R. Tolkien
C. S. Lewis
J. K. Rowling

But maybe there is some hope after all –

Sally-Ann
Hodgekiss

Edgar Rice
Burroughs

William
Shakespeare

Or perhaps… I just have to keep the adjectives.

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One thought on “Forget the content – my name is too long!

  1. Pingback: Forget the content – my name is too long! | Everything and Nothing

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