Every author has to decide on how to present their name when publishing work…
- Do you go for the straight first name followed by last name format?
- Or first initial followed by last name?
- How do you present any middle names?
- Should you reverse your names for impact as a pen name, or even discard your own identifiers and use something completely different?
The choice about whether to use a pen name will be driven by many factors, including a desire to maintain anonymity or wanting to match the prevailing style in your chosen genre. But whether we’re using a pen name or not, the same question arises – how should I format my author name?
I decided to let some research inform my choice.
I looked at the top-50 ranked science fiction authors in a large online survey and broke their names down into 2 categories:
- initials followed by last name, or
- first name(s) followed by last name.
I then counted the syllables in the individual parts of their names (initials counted as 1 syllable each), and expressed them in this ratio:
Count of all syllables before the last name vs Count of syllables in last name
– here are three examples:
The conclusion was that using initials is not usual (just 5 from 45 authors had chosen that style), and a 2:2 balance in the names was most common.
I found this very helpful when revising my author name to match available .com domain names – I settled on:
- Author name – Lee J. Russell
- Domain name – leejrussell.com
Here are the full results – do they help you to choose how to format your own author name?