When I first began writing I had an aim in mind. Well I say that now, in truth many years have passed so this statement is a tad spurious, but certainly, as long as I prepared to remember I had a definite aim in mind. It was a simple enough aim. I wanted to see my name on the spine of a novel on a bookshop shelf. On the cover as well, but mostly the spine, because that is where you see most authors names. The exceptional ones, the famous ones, you’ll see their names on the cover when you look at a bookshop shelf. As one or two of there books will face front. But my dreams were never that ambitious. I would be happy to see my name on the spines of books on bookshop shelves.
This was an aim from way back. From the days where the place you went for books was always a bookshop. But it is an aim I still have, such a simple aim don’t you think.
Sure I want to write good books, even great books if I have any say in it, but having written them, I want to see my name on them. I want to hand a copy to my mum, (and there goes the image of the hard-boiled cynic.) with my name on it. The name she gave me when I was born, and while I am still waiting on the day, I walk into Waterstones and see my name on the spines that grave their shelves, that simple idea of handing my mum and dad a copy of a novel I have written was achieved some time ago now. And hey, you know what, that was a great day, (even though my sister had already bought my mum a copy before I got down to see her and ruined the surprise utterly… ) Such is the way with dreams…
My parents gifted me with two names, unlike my sister, and my brother I have no middle name. Just Mark Hayes, and a file name that might be. Mark is derived from the Roman Marcus, and means of mars, the Roman version of Ares, god of war. While my surname Hayes is derived from the Irish pantheon and means descendant of Aed god of fire. So it’s a fine name, a name derived from the gods themselves… Which may explain its annoying popularity…
Therein lays the problem. As I have no middle name, as I am just plain Mark Hayes, and as I don’t have any desire to use a pen name, all my books are listed as written by Mark Hayes, my author’s page on Amazon is the author’s pages of Mark Hayes. Where you can find all my work,… But if you search Amazon by my name you don’t get a link to my author’s page, what you get is twenty pages of results.
- There are the works of Mark Hayes, the writer of church organ music.
- Mark Hayes, the arranger of gospel music ( who may be the same one)
- The works of Mark Hayes, the Irish guy who lives in LA and writes books about being dumb, with Robbie Williams
- The Mark Hayes who wrote a book about the Ideology of fascism and the far right in Britain
And several others. All of which are not this Mark Hayes. You see the problem?
Mark Hayes, the novelist, is my brand. It is who I am, and whom I want people to read. With due respect to all the other writers called Mark Hayes, I don’t want my brand, such that is is, confused with thiers. Even the Irish guy whom books look fun, ( really must get around to buying one just to satisfy my curiosity there.). The guy writing about the far right may not be of that inclination himself ( I sort of hope he is not) but I don’t want to be associated with his books either. I don’t want people looking for their books buying mine by mistake, or vice versa, I don’t want to infringe on their brands any more than I want them infringing on mine. (though I am sure the lovers of church organ music are unlikely to buy Cider Lane by mistake, mildly hilarious through that may be given some aspects of that novel.)
I started this saying I had an aim in mind when I started writing all those years ago, and certainly, it was true when I finished my first novel back in 2015. So it never occurred to me at the time to check if my name was already common parlance. It never occurred to me I should perhaps consider a pen name, and I suspect it never occurred to Patricia and John Hayes back in the grim dark days of March 1970 to give their son a middle name on the off chance he published his first novel 45 years later. So I don’t even have a simple option of using my middle initial… Like good old Phil K Dick ( the K stands for Kindred btw.. strange but true) If I want to stand out, or more to the point want to differentiate myself from my fellow writers I will just have to make one up…
So at some point, I suspect I will, and Mark Hayes will become Mark D Hayes ( D for danger, as “Danger is my middle name”. because, why not?) or Mark F Hayes because well Mark F-wording Hayes appeals to the 70’s child rebel in me. Or Mark (insert letter here) Hayes, because the letter doesn’t matter.
But that’s the problem, no matter what middle letter I chose, no matter what reasoning I use to come up with one. It won’t be my name on those books any more, not the name I was given back in the day days of 1970. When life was simpler, and google didn’t exist…
21st centuries problems and all that…
Is there another Mark Hays who writes the same genre of fiction? If not, don’t worry about it; very few authors have unique names, but no one in your target audience is going to mistake you for musician Mark Hayes or nonfiction author Mark Hayes.
There are certainly loads of particulars like that to take into consideration. That is a great point to deliver up. I offer the ideas above as general inspiration however clearly there are questions like the one you carry up where crucial factor might be working in sincere good faith. I don?t know if best practices have emerged around things like that, however Iâ€™m certain that your job is clearly recognized as a good game. Both girls and boys feel the influence of just a secondâ€™s pleasure, for the remainder of their lives.