This week has been very busy for me. I’m deep into the final stages of prep before my new book comes out, but I was thrown a little when I was asked what name I was putting on the cover.
It took me a moment to realise that they weren’t talking about one of my many aliases, but instead which surname I was going to use. And honestly, it sort of threw me for six.
Short answer – I don’t know.
For a long time I didn’t publish anything, other than my thesis, under my own name, and it’s only been in recent years that I have started to use my real name. In fact, I have a variety of surnames that I use for different situations and people, so casually changing name isn’t something that has ever bothered me.
So what’s the issue?
Well, the name I’ve been using has not been my surname, but rather it’s been the one my husband gave me.
Well, since we have parted ways I’m unsure how appropriate it is to continue using that name. In other circumstances I wouldn’t hesitate to stop using it, but when one has built a professional following and portfolio under one name, changing it suddenly can be difficult. Readers may not make the connection, cheques get made out to the wrong name – resulting in hilarity at the bank, etc etc.
This is more of a problem for women, generally speaking, than men, given cultural expectations regarding name changes on marriage etc, and with 50% of marriages now ending in divorce, it’s a real issue that many of us working women face. It’s also part of the reason that many of my female friends haven’t changed their names when married.
So what do I do? I mean, changing my name again means I’m basically starting over, I will, no doubt, lose readers who won’t make the connection, and cause confusion. Not to mention the books on my shelf that are all bearing the name ‘Simpson’ – it’s not like I can go back and change previous releases now.
Or do I go forward, using the name that links me to someone I no longer wish to be linked to?
And let’s not mention how my future husband may feel about me still using my ex husband’s surname in a professional capacity- that’s a conversation/argument for another day.
Not an easy decision, and right now I’m just looking at two mock-ups the designer sent me – one with each name – and am ignoring the calls of people who are shouting at me to make a decision.
More coffee is called for.
Until next time – when I hopefully may have an answer.