Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What's in a name? Part Deux

Last time I asked the question in a blog post, it was October, I'd just finished the JRWC, and I was renaming my book.  In error, I must add--if you recall, I made the decision to do so without ever consulting the people who might actually read the book.  Now, though, I bring the topic of name up in relation to the author, not the book.

Yeah.  Remember when I ditched the pseudonym?  Way back when I began, I was concerned that someone would confuse me with "the real" Stephen King--perhaps I should say the bestseller Stephen King now--and buy my book in error.  From a sales standpoint, such an error would count a success on my part (so long as they didn't request a return), but from both a marketing and an integrity point of view it would be a failure, so I created Evan. 

Evan didn't last long, though.  It soon became quite a chore to keep the two identities active.  My friends, after all, don't know who Evan is, and they're my initial primary market.  Yeah, if this book had been the initial resounding worldwide phenom I had naively thought it might be, the Evan thing would've been a good idea.  It wasn't, though, and so most of my initial sales are to people who know me.  As Stephen, of course, not as Evan.  Thus, for the same reason Stephen King killed off Richard Bachman, I killed off Evan Koenig: he was more trouble than he was worth.

Since then I've had several people ask me if I'd be bothered if somebody bought my book thinking it was written by the bestselling author.  Of course I'd be bothered.  I like to play by the golden rule, and I know that were I to buy something that wasn't what it claimed to be, I'd be irritated. 

That's why I insisted on the H. in my name.  Stephen King the bestseller isn't Stephen H. King; he's Stephen E. King.  I know that because I pay attention, but I don't expect many of his fans to know that.  What I do expect them to realize is that, no matter what his middle initial is, he doesn't sign his books with it.  Granted, he also has something along the lines of "#1 New York Times Bestselling Author" in his cover somewhere and I don't, but some day I expect to have that as well.  Thus, the H. is what I'm sinking my hopes in to keep people from being fooled. 

All that said, it was funny how quickly my publisher was asked about it.  His blog post, swiped merrily from his site, is:

Question from a Literary Agent yesterday to Trestle Press marked URGENT: “Did you just publish Stephen King?” Our answer, “Why yes, we did!”

Heh.  So I'm a celebrity, of sorts.  Read on:

"Hey we did and we are extremely proud of it. His name is Stephen H. King and he has written “Cataclysm: Return of the Gods”. It is a very good full length novel selling for $4.99. It clearly states on the cover his full name and his bio (which I have placed below) gives you a nice snapshot of all the pertinent information.

What the bio does not tell you is that he is a really nice guy that flat out can write. I for one am very thankful that I get to work for him. He makes no bones about the fact that he is the “other” Stephen King that is why he adds the H. to his name. He could go without it and try to gain a few sales just on his name and the similarities, but I have way more respect for him and his work that he wants to be known for his writing skills and content, not the name sameness.
It is nice going to war every day with a talented author that wants to be known for his own skills and ability, so yes we say with a great deal of pride, That we do publish Stephen H. King; he rocks. To us “Stephen King” is the other “Stephen H. King”. 
One last thing, the REAL Stephen H. King has a great sense of humor. I think it would make a great blogtalk radio show and be very entertaining if anybody knows the “Other” Stephen H. King tell him I am looking for him. I would like to interview both on the same show. Just ask him to email me:"
Okay, I gotta admit that having such cool stuff written about me is--well, cool.  I also gotta say that being on a show with the bestseller Stephen King would be even cooler. 

In the meanwhile, I just wanna sell some books. 



  1. Too funny! As an author named Carrie Green, I can relate. I'm very happy that my last name is not White, like the famous Stephen King character. It's bad enough having the same first name (quite a few of my peers shared that they thought it would be hilarious, if I ran for prom queen, so that they could toss pig's blood on me). All you can do is hope that it helps, rather than hinders in marketing your books!

  2. I initially wanted to publish under a pen name because to many, Eileen Schuh is hard to spell and difficult to pronounce. However, it has stood me in good stead. Google me and the entire first 5 pages are links to ME. (note: I am not the Kelowna gynocologist who appears on page 6)
    You are so right, Stephen H. King, about the need to market and sell to friends, family, and those who know you. It's those lovely people who prove to be a novice novelist best customers.