Jeanne: What’s in an (Author) Name?

Because I’m a feminist, there was no question that, when crafting my author persona, I’d include my maiden name.

Because my husband has been wonderfully supportive through multiple dead-end manuscripts, a year of grad school, and all the expenses and woes attached to self-publishing a pair (so far) of romance novels, there was equally little question I’d want to include my married name.

So that’s how my author name ended up being Jeanne Oates Estridge.

It’s not the most euphonious romance author name in the world. (The most euphonious author name is Lorelei Celador (I just made that up. Close your eyes and say it out loud. L’s and R’s and S’s are the most pleasant sounds in the English language.) ), but it is who I am. That means it should be a) natural for me to answer to and b) easy to enter into whatever software requires it.

Right?

Enter the KDP Dashboard, the portal where self-pubbed authors enter the information necessary to publish their books on Amazon.

If you’re publishing both an ebook and a paperback, you have to fill out the book details twice, including:

  • Language
  • Book title
  • Series Title
  • Primary Author
  • Contributor(s)
  • Blurb
  • Publisher
  • Keywords (7)
  • Categories (2)
  • Age and Grade Range
  • Pre-order info

For the ebook, the primary author name has two fields: first name and last name. For the paperback, it has five. So, title, first name, middle name, last name and suffix.

Which still doesn’t account for how I managed to enter my name correctly twice for The Demon Always Wins and get it wrong twice for The Demon’s in the Details.

But even if I did, that’s minor, right? Hardly worth a blog post.

Except that if you get it wrong (say, as “Jeanne Estridge” rather than “Jeanne Oates Estridge”), your two books won’t show up together in an Amazon search.

Which is what happened. As soon as I released Book 2 on January 15th, I started getting texts and FB messages saying the new book wasn’t coming up when people searched for it. I went in to correct the setup, only to learn that for paperbacks, once the book is published, you can’t change that field.  (It let me fix the ebook.)

I figured I could unpublish and re-publish it, only to learn that even that doesn’t work. The only way you can change the author name is by unpublishing, changing the title, and publishing a whole new book. Which I don’t want to do.

Once I fixed the ebook, a search on “Jeanne Oates Estridge” began returning both editions of both books but they aren’t together, the way the two editions of The Demon Always Wins are.

amazon screenshot

It was a shivery warning to me that I’m going to need to corral my lack-of-attention-to-detail when I load new books into Amazon.

So what do you think the most euphonious author name is?

5 thoughts on “Jeanne: What’s in an (Author) Name?

  1. Wow, this is good to know. Although I only have two names, so there’s that.

    For me, because I have little kids, I wanted some insulation from the Real World and the Writing World. “Covington” sounds English and I’m writing historical romance (set in England), so bonus there. “Justine” was so I’d have the same initials (easier for signing books!) and it’s something everyone can SPELL! My real name gets butchered, both in pronunciation and spelling, every. single. time. It’d make Amazon searches a nightmare.

  2. I’ve been kind of shifting my writing name from Michaeline Duskova to E.M. Duskova for the sake of thumbnails and also people need to be able to pronounce it. (For the record, it’s like the male name “Michael” with an “een” on the end — my mom didn’t study French, she studied Spanish.) I figure the M stands for Michaeline, and the E can be anything I want. Everything, for example, LOL.

    Duskova is an old feminine version of a family name — one of the oldest I could find on the paternal side. And in terms of bookshelves, it’s not at the very top of the shelf, and not at the very bottom, either. I don’t know exactly if it’ll help in a lot of lists. I probably should have chosen E.M. Aardvark.

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