My nonfiction-work-in-progress is still a long way from seeing the light of day as a finished book, but even since its earliest stages I’ve intermittently pondered the question of what name I should use once I’m published. My instinct it to just use my first and last names, Alison Morris, and keep it simple. But, here’s the catch — there’s already an "Alison Morris" out there who has penned a couple of children’s books. One website had even attributed her books to me at one point, until I corrected their (understandable) mistake. The simple solution might be to go the middle initial route, but "Alison L. Morris" doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue, and I’m not sure it simplifies things enough. A very embarrassing case in point: just this week I learned, for the very first time, that Michael Rosen and Michael J. Rosen are NOT the same author! Anytime I’ve seen "Michael Rosen" with or without the "J" I have (I now realize) skipped over the step in which one reads the author’s bio. because I thought, "Yep. I know who he his and I know his books." But not so! It turns out Michael J.’s middle initial didn’t spare him 10 years of my idiocy, so perhaps "Alison L. Morris" isn’t a safe solution after all.
I could go with my full name, but "Alison Louise Morris" sounds… a bit more formal than I’d like or perhaps a bit too feminine for some of the topics I most want to write about. I’m not inclined to go either the "A. L.", "Ali" or "Al" route, so…? Hmm. This all feels a bit tricky.
Given the normalcy of being raised with a not-so-oddball name, I can’t imagine that my situation is all that unusual, but it’s not one I’ve heard authors and illustrators speak about before, so…? I’m asking. Those of you with books under your belts, how did you settle on your published name? And if you decided to shirk your workaday identity and use a pen name, why did you make that choice? How do you settle on the name you’re using?
If you haven’t got an answer to any of those questions, at least tell us what silly name you’re assigned by Professor Poopypants’ Name Change-o-Chart 2000 (thank you, Captain Underpants and Dav Pilkey, for giving the world this mindless form of entertainment). According to Professor Poopypants (and who wouldn’t trust a man with that name?) I could consider publishing as Stinky Bananafanny, which would CERTAINLY stand out on my book’s cover, I should think. Though perhaps not quite as much as Crescent Dragonwagon.