Daddy's Christmas Angel

Sunday, March 17, 2013

What's in a Name? Marketing the Right One Makes a Difference

The author with her correct name at Petersburg Regional Art Center
What's in a name? A lot, I've discovered, especially when it comes to marketing.

Last week, I read a good post by author Marilyn Meredith who wrote about the importance of internet visibility to gain name recognition. From her article I got the message that even if you are not making book sales on the Internet, people will see your name and start to remember it. You are working on marketing for the future.

At the March meeting of Chesapeake Bay Pen Women, I sat across the table from three lovely ladies named, Mary Ann, Martha Anne, and Mary Claire. It struck me later that all of these women have and use their double names. It also struck me that I do not use my double name, Mary Montague, when I post on the Internet. I use a nickname instead.

I started to think, there is no author by the name of Monti Sikes. There is no artist (except for a few Monti Just for Fun paintings) by the name of Monti Sikes. There is, however, an author and an artist named Mary Montague Sikes. I am that author and artist, but for almost three years, I've been promoting the wrong name. That has to be a big mistake.

The Pen Women taught me a big lesson. Thank you! I've added my name in the title of this blog. I'm going to make changes elsewhere on the Internet.

What about you? Are you marketing yourself in a correct way? Are you using the name you want people to remember? Is your name in the title of your blog?

What's in a name?

Probably a lot more than you realize,

--Mary Montague Sikes


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've used my name everywhere and for everything. It does makes sense to be consistent.

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

That's the best, Alex. Not being consistent is also lacking focus--not a good thing. Thanks for commenting.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

One thing I learned at Epicon this weekend is marketing is all about name recognition. Good post.

Holli Castillo said...

I used my real name because I am vain. I sometimes wish I would have used my legal name, which is hyphenated, but it seemed too long to expect people to remember, Holli Herrle-Castillo.

My maiden name is actually much catchier, Holli Herrle, (pronounced Her-lee) and I really did want to use it because, again, I am vain and wanted my childhood/high school friends to know it was me if they ever saw my name out there, but I also wanted the people who have been around since I got married to know it was me.

I also felt it was somehow just wrong not to use the last name of my husband and children, which I guess makes me surprisingly old fashioned.

Interestingly, some people who never knew me when I wasn't married call me by my maiden name, which I write off as one of life's little mysteries.

Billie Johnson said...

Great post,, Mary Montague! However, if you recall, I have been stressing name recognition for many months! This 'light bulb' came on for me a couple of years ago. Also, we have numerous references to this factor in our new Book Marketing Handbook...I'm delighted to see that this is connecting with our authors!

Billie Johnson, Publisher
Oak Tree Press

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

Thanks, Marilyn. I'm glad you started me thinking how very important this is!

Holli, you have a really unique name. I can see why you wanted to use it. I admire the women who never changed their last names or use it hyphenated! Thanks for commenting.

Thanks for the reminder, Billie. I guess I believed I had a chance with two, but it doesn't work that way, especially when one name is not on any book cover--unlike pseudonyms!

Unknown said...

Oddly, I would think that you would be better off if your name was unique...Hence the use of the double names when your name is common. Such a strange thought that you would want to have the same name as someone else...Life is filled with strange thoughts.

Helen Ginger said...

I use my real name, Helen Ginger. So far, I've only come across one other Helen Ginger and she's a judge.

Bob Sanchez said...

Your name is fine the way I've seen it: Mary Montague Sikes. And I agree about the value of consistency.

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

Patrick, I like my unique double name and should have been using it instead of a nickname on my blog, Facebook and elsewhere. Thanks for visiting.

Helen, your real name is great. I like real names unless you have something to hide and need a pseudonym. Then, you would probably get caught anyway!

Bob, thank you!!!

Elle Carter Neal said...

I've done the opposite to you, Monti. I started off branding myself under my real first name, but I really hate it and couldn't stand the thought that I might be automatically called a name I hate rather than the name I prefer. There are now fewer and fewer people in my immediate circle who still call me by my old name; I tend to introduce myself as "Elle" and most of my friends barely remember that there used to be another syllable. I added the Carter recently to break up the Ls. So now I need to go around branding (brandishing?) my pen name.

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

Elle, I think as long as you are using the name you want to promote, you're doing the right thing. I wasn't using the name that's on the books I've written, so I was missing out on an important connection. Thanks for commenting!

Chancelet said...

Interesting thought. I never considered using my name in the title of my blog. I did change my email to use my name (mostly), but like the uniqueness of my blog title, that I didn't want to use my name. But it is something to consider.

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

Nancy, I thought the same, but now I've changed my mind. If I didn't have books with my name on the covers, I wouldn't care. Now, I've discovered it matters. Thanks for visiting.

Sharon Himsl said...

Good point. I've struggled with this. A family member and I share the same name, so I use my maiden name with current on Facebook. Then again, I'm published with my middle initial. What a mess. Best to start with one name and stick with it. Then again - Monti Sikes does have a nice ring to it:)

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

Thanks, Sharon. I'm going to push the real name for a while.