Monday, January 26, 2009

What's in a Name?

I wish my name sounded spookier. Seriously, Aaron Polson doesn't inspire terror, does it?

Here's the real debate, spurred by a discussion my wife and I had while looking at the back cover of Monstrous. I've been calling myself Aaron A. Polson for the purpose of bylines for the last year and a half. Aimee suggests I keep the A. because it makes my name longer, thereby taking up more space and making it more noticeable. (Yes, we really did have this discussion.) I think the extra initial might sound pretentious. I loathe pretentiousness and never want to exude that vibe. A number of publications have just listed me as Aaron Polson despite what was on the manuscript anyway.

So what to do? Do I "officially" drop the middle initial? There aren't a superfluous amount of Aaron Polsons running around; it's not as if I'm trying to separate from the herd.

22 comments:

Catherine J Gardner said...

I'd drop the 'A' - it looks prettier without it.

And yes, isn't that middle letter just way too pretentious. :) But without it I'd be plain old Catherine Gardner and that's about a boring a name as you can get.

Jamie Eyberg said...

I would drop the middle initial. If there were two of you it would be a different story, or even someone in our field with a similar sounding name but I can't think of any Erin Polson's or Erik's or Andrea's for that matter.

You are the only Polson I know of come to think of it.

K.C. Shaw said...

Aaron Polson (without the A.) flows better. And it's an unusual name but easy to remember, so you're ahead of the game here.

Rob Brooks said...

I vote for dropping the A. I don't necessarily think there's anything inherently pretentious about a middle initial, but yours is a unique enough name to do without.

And Catherine, you can get more boring than yours--try "Rob Brooks" on for size. I can't even use my full name because my middle intial is also A., and then it looks like my name is "Roberta Brooks." And R.A. Brooks sounds like I'm trying to rip off R.A. Salvatore.

Jeremy D Brooks said...

Is that why authors use their MI? Page space? I guess it makes sense...I use mine because there are some famous folks with my name (including serial killers and gay porn actors, and--even worse--another writer).

Phonetically, I think it sounds better sans the "A". I did a quick Google on you with no MI, and you rule the first couple of pages (at least) on the Google already. I'd vote to drop it.

Aaron Polson said...

Cate - thanks for making me feel better about my name.

Jamie - there used to be a Polson Liquor in Manhattan (Kansas); no relation, though

K.C. - I never thought of it that way...

Rob - thanks, too, for reminding me that unique name is a good thing in this game

Jeremy - Googling my own name is a guilty pleasure...I had to get that off my chest...

Bobbie Metevier said...

If you drop it now, folks might think there ARE two of you. I'm in the minority here, but I like the "A" a great deal. I don't feel it's pretentious at all. It says writer or something . . .

Aaron Polson said...

Bobbie - Maybe there are two of me...(evil laugh).

Jeremy D Brooks said...

There you go...you can do a Charlie Kaufman Adaptation-type switchover...the "A" Aaron wants to take a dark, artistic tack on a story, but his twin brother, "", wants to put in lots of gunfights and long love scenes. Of course, that means writing yourself into your story, so maybe not too many zombies in that one...and, if there are, maybe make them slow zombies. On crutches.

Aaron Polson said...

Adaptation was a great flick. I love the idea, Jeremy.

Robert said...

Too much space is not always a good thing. Take TC Boyle for instance. His publisher convinced him to change his byline because TC Boyle would look bigger on book covers as opposed to T. Coraghessan Boyle ... which he still uses for his short fiction.

Also, Dean Koontz started out as Dean R. Koontz, and now the R is dropped.

Really, in the long run (when you sell a book, etc), it won't be left up to you. The publisher will decide what's best. [speaking in robot voice] Because the publisher always knows what's best ...

Besides that, my vote is to drop the A. My reason is because you already have two As in your first name. Just too many As going on for me.

Robert said...

... and yes, ADAPTATION is a great movie.

Felicity Dowker said...

I like your name better without the "A". Also, I actually think your name is perfect for writing, especially speculative fiction. Y'know that scene in Fight Club, "his name was Robert Paulson"? I always think of that when I read your name (not identical but similar surname, y'see). And I find that eerie. So. There.

Jameson T. Caine said...

I think it rolls off the tongue better without the extra A. The only reason I put the middle initial T in my name is because I tend to go by Tim most of the time.

Jamie said...

Jeffery Dahmer wasn't a spooky name either. Its what you associate with the name...plus you could always be A.A. Polson and rip of winnie the pooh! Think about it zombie/vampire Pooh.

Jamie said...

my wife wrote that last little bit.

Aaron Polson said...

Robert - yep, in the end, it may not be my choice. I love T.C. Boyle by the way, especially his short "Greasy Lake".

Felicity - hooray for Fight Club! The last name, Polson, is actually a derivative of Paulson (or Paulsen?), basically meaning "Paul's son" at some point. Spooky indeed.

Jameson - I do like the T in your nom de plume.

Aaron Polson said...

I've thought about A.A., but alas...too Pooh.

BT said...

I'd get rid of the second A. It's not necessary. If you don't currently introduce yourself with the extra letter, then why would you want people to know you as that?

The only things we have in this life which we can leave behind to remind others is our work, our mistakes, and our name. Choose wisely.

And Cate - what's wrong with Cate Gardner? It's somewhat informal and welcoming, like introducing someone who you know will already become a good friend.

I write, and have been published across a number of genres, including erotica. Many have told me to use different names so one body of work isn't tarnished by less accepted work. Personally, I think it's all my work so why shouldn't I put my name on it? If it makes a mark, a dent on my future prospects, then so be it. One would hope I write well enough to overcome that sort of thing...

Natalie L. Sin said...

Don't drop it. A middle initial makes you SO much easier to find, which helps fans. If you want proof, google my name then google it without the "L."

Rob Brooks said...

Maybe you should just drop all the A's from your name. I'm thinking of dropping all the O's in mine.

I think Adaptation and Fight Club are both great movies (Not that anyone asked). In fact, Fight club is probably my favorite movie. Ever.

...zombie pooh. Funny, Jamie's wife. Funny.

brady said...

I don't think middle initials come off as pretentious. It just makes names distinct, and maybe gives them a little more rhythm.

That said, the initial "A" is tricky, because of the indefinite article.

"Aaron A. Polson" isn't all that different from "Aaron The Polson."

Which could be another way to go, I guess.