You would expect the most important thing to become a successful author is that you can write well, but this is not the whole story (whether well told or not).
In order to get the largest advances from a publisher, what you need is to have been born into the right body! With this, you will get free publicity and pre-sale interest even before you’ve written a word.
Just look at Prince Harry who’s been given a multi million dollar deal for books yet to be produced. Of course, you are meant to divulge all your secrets, spill the dirt on your family and maybe sell your soul to the devil. But you will get a book deal!
Obviously, no one is going to ask me to sell the secrets of my family because I wasn’t born into royalty. That was just accidental – I am sure I was meant to be, but I must have been standing behind a pillar when they were handing out soul assignments.
If you’re not selling secrets, then trading on your name can be a bit trickier. Sarah Ferguson falls into this category with her children’s books. The familiarity of the name can bring in the publicity, but if the story doesn’t appeal to its readers, the book may not be successful. Certainly writing children’s books at a time your ex-husband (Prince Andrew) is being pursued on sexual assault charges on a minor is a great juxtaposition!
Unfortunately, the advantage or disadvantage of where we’re born is something no one has control over. So, I won’t be anticipating any huge advances from prospective publishers, just yet. However, maybe if there is a next life, I’ll get a chance then.
After ranting on about the injustices of having an ordinary name in the last blog, it’s to be remembered there are advantages as well. You shouldn’t have to spell your name for anyone (although you can always meet someone who can’t spell!). Although some common names can be spelt in a variety of ways which doesn’t make life any easier.
If you have a unique name, you often end up with a unique spelling as well. While your parents may have thought it was a great idea honouring you with such a special title, you will probably spend the rest of your life explaining to people how it is spelt. I put names like ‘Litte’, ‘Ryilee’ and ‘Gianna’ all in this category.
As parents, we usually come with pre-selected family names which may or may not be easy to explain (do you really want to be called a Pratt?) but you are actively choosing your child’s first name which they will carry for life, unless they decide to change it.
I had a quick look at what unusual names you could find for girls and came across suggestions that ‘will never be common in the playground’. One of those was ‘Binky’. How could you possibly give that name to someone who is intended to grow into a fully functioning adult? It would be bad enough in the playground to be labelled with the common nickname for a baby pacifier, but how do you explain it on a job interview?
Maybe it’s a ploy by parents to toughen up their little darling – like the old song by Johnny Cash called ‘A Boy Named Sue?’ If you’ve never heard it, you can find it at
Perhaps the theory is that if you give them enough to rebel against, they will get ahead in life (or pitied for having such uncaring parents.)
Naming is a huge responsibility for new parents. Even using the most popular names of the time can become dated as years go by and come from a different generation. ‘Deborah’ was once popular, but is on the wane. Pity my friend, Karen, whose name went extinct last year on birth registrations!
I may have to consider a name change – the ‘d’ on my laptop is becoming very dodgy and I may end up as Eborah instead!
I promise to a change of topic next time.
Following my last blog, I have to confess that my identity crisis continues!! I thought after discovering that my name was a pseudonym for Sabrina Jeffries (see previous blog), who is a much more published author, that I would show my other ‘talents’/interests/things I do on a website and that would distinguish me.
Well, guess what? I find there is a Debrah Martin (she obviously doesn’t know how to spell) who is not only an author but also an artist (hey, I wanted that title!) and does a lot of other things as well.
Am I having an existential moment? Can I be true to myself? I have had this name since I was born and nothing, including marriage, has deterred me from using it. So, I guess I will carry on and see what happens. Just, please, don’t confuse me with others using the same name, as I don’t write historical romances and you could be disappointed!
Perhaps we could start a book club with just members called Deborah Martin? British comedian Dave Gorman in his early career started out on a quest to find other Dave Gormans around the world – maybe I could do the same?
If you are named Deborah Martin, please get in touch. Who knows, there might be a book to be written.
P.S. This is not my fingerprint. I just hope it doesn’t belong to a serial killer.