One of the first things I had to think about when I decided to write a book was my author name. You might think that would be the last thing on my mind but in fact, because of the way in which I started this process it makes a bit of sense. When I submitted the synopsis for the book I had to state my author name so while it wasn’t the first thing on my list it had to be bumped up just for the process to start.
So why an author name and not use my own? There are lots of reasons for an author to use a pen name. This is not the post to explore that so I’ll leave you to your own research if you want to know more. This one is about my author name and how I got to it with a little help from my friends.
So this is how it started. With a text message…well, a lot of text messages and an almost relationship breakdown (because yeah, I nearly broke him).
After a million texts later. No word of a lie and he really did nearly break up with me, we came up with the name Ella Clarke. It means nothing but I kinda liked it. So off I went and set up an email address with my new author name so it looked all professional and proper, right?
Wrong. The thing about names that are fairly common is that they are fairly common, and one thing I hadn’t considered was what people would find if they did a search for my author name. From a marketing point of view I don’t think anyone would want their customer to look them up and come across newspaper articles about someone else, relegating them and their business to the bottom of the list. You know, those links no one ever goes on? Go on, I dare you, look up Ella Clarke…you know you want to…
I am on a LGBTQ writers group on facebook and my fellow groupies are amazing because while some are established authors, others are very much aspiring and everybody is so helpful. I asked them about their author name and how I would come up with one. I immediately got a lot of ideas and insight on their own process to find a name.
Believe it or not there are random name generators on the internet and you can spend a ridiculous amount of time playing around. I tried lots of different combinations of names and surnames to see if the internet would somehow give me my author name on a platter wrapped with a bow. No chance of that happening.
I decided after a while that I would keep my first name and just find a surname. My first name is Ana, I like it and if one day I take over the literary world and have people chanting my name then I want it to be my real one! Ok, the chances of that happening are slim to none but still, one person out there might one day want me to sign a copy of my book (yeah, the one that hasn’t been published yet, shut up) and it will be a lot easier to write my name than have to remember my fake one. So the decision came to just finding a suitable surname.
My very helpful friends on facebook helped out a bit with this. They said it should be something that means something to me but also to make it unique so that when people look up my name they won’t find another author with the same name. I considered a few different surnames and after looking them up I realised that there were other authors with the same or similar name. Something to avoid when those authors have written children’s books and I’m writing content that is best suited for 18+ ages.
It then suddenly hit me. I have the name! I was writing down an address to send a parcel to someone close to me and two words on the address merged in my mind and I knew it couldn’t be by chance. Newfolk is the combination of Newmarket, Suffolk. This place means a lot to me so while the name itself doesn’t roll off the tongue easily I do like how it looks on paper and I know I will never forget it.
If this goes according to plan I hope one day I will be able to publish under my own name. For lots of different reasons, it’s not the right time for me to be doing that. Maybe something I can talk about here in the future, we shall see.
For now, armed with a name, a new email address and all the social media you can imagine, Ana Newfolk is here to stay so please keep following and thank you for reading so far.