If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our September Author Interviews--9/6 Kathleen Valenti, 9/13 David Burnsworth, 9/20 Jeri Westerson, 9/27 Frances Brody. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

September Saturday Guest Bloggers: 9/2--Anne Bannon, 9/9 WWK Bloggers, 9/16 Margaret S. Hamilton, 9/23 Kait Carson, and on 9/30 Trixie Stiletto.


“May 16, 2017 – The Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) today announced the finalists of the second annual Star Award, given to authors of published women’s fiction. Six finalists were chosen in two categories, General and Outstanding Debut. The winners of the Star Award will be announced at the WFWA Retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 23, 2017.” In the general category, WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.
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Monday, September 17, 2012

Contemplating My Pseudonym

  What's in a name? that which we call a rose
      By any other name would smell as sweet;
      So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
      Retain that dear perfection which he owes
      Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
      And for that name which is no part of thee
      Take all myself.
Juliet, in Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare

My last name really isn’t Davis, but it’s similar. I wanted to use a pseudonym because of security (we do write about murder) and because I wanted personal privacy. Due to my horrible handwriting my last name, which is unusual, is often confused with the more common name of Davis. And that’s why I chose the moniker. (You have no idea how happy I am that it is a keyboarding world.)

I try to go with the flow, so I figured why not use the flaw to my advantage. I’ve been in many a doctor’s office where I’ve signed in at the desk and sat in the waiting room. Receptionists ask for “Mrs. Davis,” and I knew that they meant me. Of course, the doctor’s office needs to know my real name, so I’ve corrected them while apologizing for my lousy handwriting. But, from those experiences, I knew, when it came to signing books, I could use my signature and no one would know the difference. And that’s how my nom de plume came about. I thought it practical.

At the time, I didn’t know much about the book business, and in this business a rose by any other name is not just as sweet. Now that I know a bit more about the business side of authoring, I’m not sure if the name is an asset or a detriment. The name has one marketing aspect going for it; the initials eliminate proclaiming myself female, and because statistically most men don’t read female authors while women will read both sexes, the name doesn’t eliminate almost 50% of the reading population.


Others possess the name, which is a detriment. There is a black blues/gospel singer by the same name who possesses the url  “ebdavis.com.” There is an E. B. Davis, who is a basketball player and also another who is a professional marketer. When I started to write fiction seriously in 2005 and searched the Internet, I found those three people and debated the name. But due to my bad penmanship, I thought it was fate. Searching for myself resulted in nothing—virtually I didn’t exist. It wasn’t until we created WWK in 2010 that I had any impact on the Internet or social media. Since then, I’ve had six short stories published. Due to Google Plus, I now am listed second on the search engines and my blogger profile comes in listed at fourth, so I’m a bit more optimistic about the name.

There are those in book marketing who feel that the name represents a brand. If the book is of a particular genre, the name used is associated with that genre so that the reader knows what the product will be when purchasing the book. If the same author writes in a different genre, the writer must use a different name so that the reader isn’t disappointed or mad that the book is a different genre. Writers who change names annoy me. I read for the writing, not for the associated genre. As a reader, I’ll read almost anything as long as the writing is well crafted by an author, and therefore, is one I trust. I’m also not taken with the marketing concept because it presupposes that readers are stupid nonreaders. Doesn’t everyone read jacket covers before purchasing books?

I thought I’d get around that branding by associating my writing and name to the beach, as in “beach writer” since most of my fiction is set there, and I mainly write mystery. But sometimes my settings aren’t at the beach and occasionally I write romance or spiritual fiction so I’m not singular in that respect. A reader can’t always count on a beach mystery 100% of the time. So now I’m rethinking and wondering if I should change my pseudonym for different genres even if I dislike that concept.

A few weeks ago, a wonderful review appeared on the Internet for Chesapeake Crimes: This Job is Murder, in which my short story “Lucky In Death” appears. The review site listed each of the author’s names. If the author had a website, the names were links to their author sites. My name was not interactive because my only website is this blog. I’m thinking that it is time for me to have an author website. But since the blues singer “E.B. Davis” possesses the url, what am I to do? Change my moniker or obtain the url “authorebdavis,” which I’m not sure anyone will think to input?

What would you do? How did you determine your pseudonym?

29 comments:

Peg Nichols said...

Pseudonym? Read your blog post with interest (actually read it because I was looking for Warren Bull). I am self-published -- Mediation Survivor's HandBook -- a non-fiction book. However, if/when I get my fiction career off the ground, I want to use a different name, not for the purpose of confusing readers, but clarifying the difference. I've struggled with what that should be, especially since a casual conversation with a woman (while in a waiting line). When I said I was a writer, she pointed to her husband and said, "Oh, he never reads books written by women." I'm still trying to think of a rejoinder for that.

E. B. Davis said...

Glad you stopped by and were looking for Warren! It has been statistically proven that women will read both sexes whereas men will only read men. That being said, I was thrill when I found my brother reading Marcia Talley! While he was explaining Marcia, I kept nodding and saying, "Yes, she's a former SinC president, Chessie,...and I read her too."

Anyway, it's the website that really has me upset. Perhaps I can get one that is ebdavis.org or with some other ending that will be easy for readers to search.

Thanks for stopping by, Peg.

Edith Maxwell said...

I had to select a pen name this year. I secured a three-book cozy mystery contract from Kensington for my Local Foods Mystery series at the same time as SPEAKING OF MURDER was under consideration by Barking Rain Press. Kensington said I couldn't publish any other mysteries under my name during the term of the contract. Barking Rain said they wanted my Quaker linguist professor book. A good problem to have, right?

So I read up on finding a pen name. Criteria include, yes, an available URL and twitter handle. Plus uniqueness in googling, easy to prounounce and spell, last name toward the top of the alphabet, and so on. I found the name Tace in Quaker archives and selected Baker as a last name. Bingo! Unique, for sure. And the book came out this week. ;^)

Good luck with the URL. The .org idea is a good one, or maybe ebdavisauthor, with the author at the end?

E. B. Davis said...

Thanks for the suggestions, Edith. I will still explore suitable website urls for my pseudonym. I hadn't considered that publishers may have name requirements! But, what if your readers of the food series like your writing and want more? Will you make your other names available to your readers? Privacy was a consideration, but I guess if you want to sell books, that a lesser concern. Good luck with both series. You are an inspiration.

James Montgomery Jackson said...

EB -- I agree with the logic of branding. The folks at P&G have demonstrated with billions in profit why branding works for anything.

I'm not a bit convinced regarding your statistics however and here's why. When it comes to fiction, men are only 20% of the market.

My experience is that few men who actually read fiction discriminate against female authors -- female protagonists, yes -- touchy-feely writing, yes. But if you write the kind of stuff they read, they will read it regardless of the author's name and hiding behind initials isn't going to fool a bigoted male in any case. There are plenty of female authors have large male audiences.

However, choosing an author name that matches the writing does make sense. For my bridge book we went with Jim Jackson because the writing is very informal. For Bad Policy the publisher wants to use James M. Jackson because my website is jamesmjackson.com and she believes there are marketing reasons to match.

I have a friend (male) whose books in the US are published under "Jack" and in the UK under his initials. The reason had to do with the look on the book covers. Go figure.

Write what people want to read and they will put up with any name you choose.

I would get a website though and ebdavisauthor would work well (name first, occupation second).

My 2 cents (discounted to .01 on Amazon).

~ Jim

Polly Iyer said...

I have a totally different point of view. I WANT people to know who I am. Why wouldn't I? I do, however, write other fiction besides mystery/suspense, and for that I have a pseudonym. They are genres I want to keep separate. Since you've written under the name E.B. Davis, I'd keep it. There are half dozen ways to name your website and still keep the name people associate with you and your writings. As far as men not reading women, a few of my best reviews have come from men. I grant you, most are from women, but I've had men read one book and then read another because they liked what they read. I think most men read thrillers, military, spy novels, and most of those genres are written by men. I really don't care who reads my books, as long as someone does.

E. B. Davis said...

Thanks for the 2 cents worth, Jim. Yes, it's the song not the singer, so I'll concentrate on the writing. But I still wish that blues singer didn't have the url! I'm not trying to discriminate against men, I don't want them to discriminate against me! I get what you're saying. If and when I get a publisher, it maybe totally out of my hands anyway, if Edith's experience is any indication.

E. B. Davis said...

Perhaps I will create a new name if I'm writing in a different genre, even though I don't really approve of that method. But, I will then publicize that fact so readers can find me. Thanks for the advice, Polly. I'll keep the pseudonym until I'm published outside of the mystery genre. I'm looking forward to reading your next book--which will be when?

Polly Iyer said...

Thanks for asking, Elaine. Goddess of the Moon, the second in the Diana Racine Psychic Suspense series--Mind Games is the first--will be out in October. I going through Ellis Vidler's wonderful edits now. The cover has been done for months.

Edith Maxwell said...

I am linking my two names as much as I can!

E. B. Davis said...

Just next month, Polly! Mind Games was terrific, and the one I would have picked for a sequel too. I don't know how you write so fast. Maybe once you are published your confidence level goes up. I dither, moan, discuss and only get shorts out the door. Good luck. We are fresh out of space this year for another interview. But, we have opened up Saturdays for guest blogs. Ask Jim if we have space in October or November. I'd like to hear about your new book on Salad Bowl Saturdays.

Kaye George said...

That's a dilemma, all right. I think appending author would work fine. I'm not sure about using .org or .net. Org used to be for non-profits only, but I don't know if that's still true. As long as you provide links to the website, the name might not be as important as your visibility on search engines. My two cents, but no discounts being given today. :)

E. B. Davis said...

I think getting readers to realize that you write under different names is important, Edith. I've wondered if some of "my" authors died because they wrote under different names and couldn't find them, like Katy Munger (just one writer among many). I read various genres. For me it's all in the writing. Let the public know, and thanks for answering my question.

E. B. Davis said...

BTW, Edith, I invite you to blog on Salad Bowl Saturdays as well, unless your books will be published next year--then I'll want an interview, if you are up for it? Deal?

E. B. Davis said...

Yes, I think org and net as second best. I should probably reserve ebdavisauthor.com NOW. How do you do that anyway? Have any ideas, Kaye or anyone? Is there a place to go to reserve a url?

Kaye George said...

Mine are at domains next and at godaddy.

Betsy Bitner said...

I'm like Polly - I want people to know who I am. I didn't change my name when I got married so it didn't make sense to change it when it came to writing.
As for a url, what about ebdavismysteries.com or something along those lines that furthers your brand?

Polly Iyer said...

Elaine, Mind Games was written in 2003. I had a body of work before I started to self publish. Much of the time I was querying agents, got one, waited while she queried editors, waited, waited, waited. All that time I was writing, writing, writing. I'm now working on the very first book I wrote, so it isn't that I write fast. Not at all.

E. B. Davis said...

GREAT suggestion, Betsy. Thank you so much. I really like ebdavismysteries.com. I'll go to GoDaddy.com and register that. Thanks, Kaye for the push. Is there some central place where someone keeps track of all the urls? There has to be, I never thought of it before.

Thanks for reminding me, Polly. If writers keep working--eventually they get a backlog, which can then put them a head of the curve and then their productivity shines.

Polly Iyer said...

I also like EBDavisMysteries.com I think that says what you want it to say. Good suggestion, Betsy. Go for it, Elaine.

Gotta say, your captcha code is challenging.

Warren Bull said...

I have also thought of writing under a pseudonym because I write everything form noir to young adult. But I want people like Peg to be able to find me. I haven't decided yet. I want a body of work but I don't want to limit my subgenres. There are ending for urls now than there were.

E. B. Davis said...

I think that the most common is .com, Warren. As long as word gets out about the other names under which you write, I see nothing wrong with writing under another name. But so often it seems that the information isn't publicized, as if it's a secret. At one time, I think the publishing industry frowned on revealing pseudonyms, partly because of privacy, but I also think there was possession of a name/writer involved, perhaps even agreements of exclusivity, which I'm not sure are valid in today's world. Correct me if I'm wrong on the history, anyone. But Edith's publisher seemed to have issues.

Kaye George said...

I don't know of a central place, but I keep track of mine myself, and the renewal dates in case the email reminders goes to the spam file.

E. B. Davis said...

I just registered at Go Daddy--talk about being baffled! They just emailed me a ton of stuff. Actually, Kaye--I asked the question--there is an international registry company called Verisign that evidently keeps track of all urls in the entire world. Amazing, but that's what the customer service rep told me. Now, I have to activate everything I bought (why isn't that automatic?) and build a website. I also paid $20 to add visibility to this blog, which will be my experiment. How much more traffic will we get? Should be interesting.

Kaye George said...

Thanks for telling me about Verisign. I had no idea! As to activating, I bought a site a couple of years ago and haven't used it yet, so in that case I didn't want it activated. I'm planning on using it, but just not yet.

E. B. Davis said...

Yes, I kind of figured there was some good reason as to why they weren't automatically activated. So--now I know. Thanks, Kaye.

Linda Rodriguez said...

EB, I think different publishers have different takes on pseudonyms. Sometimes, they want all the books you publish under one name, so you have to. Sometimes, they're okay with books by another publisher under that name--if it's in the same genre. They really like to switch names when you switch genres. Some readers will and do ignore the cover, the synopsis, the blurbs, everything, and then post nasty reviews because this book wasn't the kind of book they expected from Author X.

E. B. Davis said...

I guess that I shouldn't be surprised that readers don't read, but when you spend money....

I hope that I find out what publishers want, Linda. It would be nice to have someone make decisions for me, but then, I'm sure that their constrictions can also be painful.

Thanks for your insight. For now, I'm staying with E.B. Davis and will see what happens.

Gloria Alden said...

Like Polly and Betsy, I want to know my books are by me, E.B. Also, my brother-in-law has read all of Louise Penny's books and is looking forward to her next one. As someone said, I think whether or not men like the book depends to some extent on the protagonist and type of mystery.

Jane Langton writes both adult mysteries and middle-grade children's books under the same name. A way to get around that problem, she puts on the covers "A Homer Kelly Mystery." That's what I'm going to do with my adult mysteries. I also have a middle-grade mystery written, too.