What’s in a name?

What’s my name?

I have been trying to work out what to call myself when I get published. This may be a small problem in the grand scheme of things, but, as an author, it’s important.

My married name is Khalinsky, my maiden name is Gijsbers. Both are European and they are hard to spell if you don’t know how they are spelt. My Mum has a page of mis-spellings of Gijsbers, all are genuine!!

When I first got married and was sending my manuscript to publishers, I would use “Khalinsky-Gijsbers”. Now, that was a mouthful.

I’ve been thinking about it a bit. If people can’t spell my surname, will that make it harder for people to find my books, especially if they don’t know the titles?

At a gathering of a Christian Writers group I met through Facebook, someone suggested using my mother’s maiden name, Pickering. So, I’d write under the name “Melissa Pickering”.

I’m still undecided, so I thought I’d put it out there and see what you thought. After all, if you’re following my journey, I’m hoping you’ll want to read my books.

So, what’s in a name? Does it help to have a name that is easy to spell? Does anyone else have a pen name & how does that impact on publishing?

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  1. Spelling is likely important, as is pronunciation. BUT so is identity (gee, I’m a lot of help, aren’t I?) If you’re happiest as Melissa Gijsbers Khalinsky, or Melissa G. Khalinsky, or some variant on that, go for it.

    For writing for children, I’d tend to want to simplify. At first I thought I’d write as Elizabethanne, smushing my first and middle names together. I thought it looked cool. Then I began wondering if that would be easy for people to remember — and I thought about signing that 200 times in a row at a book signing (when you dream, dream big!) and so I simplified to my usual call-name, Beth (plus my last name).

    For my adult books, I plan to use a variant on my great-grandmother’s first name, and her maiden name. Not only will that keep my genres from getting mixed up, but her maiden name was Andrews, so that bumps me up nicely in the alphabet! 😉

    Personally, I’d go with Melissa Pickering. If you feel comfortable about “being” Melissa Pickering to everyone out there.

  2. Now that’s a thought. If you don’t want to have to write a really long name, what about Mel Pickering?
    Great to catch up yesterday.

  3. I LOVE Melissa Pickering. Sounds just like a children’s writer should. Easy to say and remember, and honours your mum too!

  4. Melanie Carter Winkler says:

    When I was thinking about what to call myself, I did Google my name.
    Now my husband wanted me to use his name (Winkler) and I was fine with that, it’s just there was someone named Melanie Winkler that was doing papers and writing. The same with Melanie Carter (maiden name). Then I decided maybe being a bit prideful, wanting old friend who may not know I am married to know it’s me writing.

    So I Googled “Melanie Carter Winkler” and no one else came up. I have a few people who hyphen my two last names. And two articles that are just under Melanie Winkler, but with the rest of my writing it is Melanie Carter Winkler for me

  5. I like Pickering, but there are plenty of well known children’s authors with less frequently used letters in their name. Like: Jarrett Krosoczka and Uri Shulevitz just to name two. Like you said, I don’t think a name makes or breaks you. Unless of course, your name is “Wrights Badd.”

  6. did a google search of Mel Pickering did you know there is an author called Mel Pickering. A children’s writer at that.
    I would do a google search to check the names before deciding.
    Your last name may be hard to spell to start with but is it pronounced as its written.
    If I was a writer I would have the problem that there is already an author with my name.


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