What’s in a name?

19 Nov

Both of the first two books are now published and I am making some sales, though not enough to make a good living at the moment. There is a book signing mid December, and it is in the newspapers and newsletters. I suppose I shall have to sign in my writer’s name. Several times I have been asked why I chose to use a nom de plume. Well, partly because I had quite a few technical documents out there under my real name and I wanted to avoid confusion. But, more than that, I thought my real surname was too long to make a snappy statement on the cover of a book of commercial fiction. The name is a large part of the brand. If you buy a Dan Brown book you have some idea of what you are going to get. Then, what name to choose? Wakeham was my mother’s maiden name, so I selected that. My middle name is James, so I chose that. James Wakeham it would be. Then the posters went out for a little play I wrote, and the name came out as John Wakeham. Unfortunately, that is the name of a Tory politician from Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet. Wanting to avoid confusion I corrected the name to Jon Wakeham in all the programmes, and Jon Wakeham I have been since.

As part of a marketing campaign I have decided to a bit of reverse Psychology, and try to sell the books on resistance to the instruction NOT to buy the books. I’m reasonably sure that this will work on a significant proportion of British readers. If you tell us not to do something we will automatically do the opposite. I will have to see how this goes and review the strategy as I go along. After all, I am still learning this game. Until I can get some suitably obscure photos I shall have to use this one.

Wish me luck with the approaching round of publicity.


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