Every step in researching, writing, publishing and marketing books has frustrations, some lesser than others. Even choosing a pen name can have its zany frustrations.
When I wrote my first book, the publisher told me I couldn’t use my last name because an Asian last name appearing on an American historical isn’t likely to sell.
Okay, I could understand that. So I chose my Scot-Irish maiden name, McPherren.
Good I thought. I have a pen name.
But no. The the publisher said I really should not use my first name either.
“Well,” they said, “it sounds too . . . modern, too new age.” I argued that my first name is an old Scot-Irish name, but I lost. They compromised by suggesting Charlotte. “It’s very very historical sounding,”,they assured me.” So Charlotte McPherren it was.
The first book signing I attended I was cursing the choice. We’re talking major writer’s cramp after only a few signed books.
Now, years later having my name “sound” historical is not necessary. Still, using my Asian married name might confuse people. So again, I’m not using it.
But I definitely wanted a shorter name.
Hence, Sharla Rae! And best of all it’s my real name, more or less. No problem!
Well, almost no problem. Another romance author whose books I happen love calls herself Sharla. Sharla Lovelace to be exact.
And so I resigned myself to the fact that no matter what I called myself, there would be many people, including authors who shared at least a part of my name. There’s just no getting around it.
The next step of course was setting up a website with my new name. The shorter the web address, the better. A simple .com after my author name would be easier to remember. Alas, it wasn’t to be.
One trip to the Internet and I realized I was destined to make another compromise.
The first Sharla Rae I came upon had dibs on sharlarae.com. She’s a physic medium. And like me, she’s blond and blue-eyed. Who knew? Wonder if she’s had visions of me. Probably not. I’m not dead yet. But I digress.
The funniest Sharla Rae I came across? Well, actually my author friend Lyn Horner found this one. Um, there’s a racehorse called . . . you guessed it, Sharla Rae. At least she appears a pretty darn good one – came in first at a few races.
And that’s why my website is called sharlaraewrites.com/
So how about you? Are you using your real name or do you use a pen name and how did you decide?
Be sure to stop by my new author Facebook page and say hi: https://www.facebook.com/sharlaraewrites