Learn from my mistakes: Number 2 – What’s in a name?

What’s in a name? Quite a lot as it turns out.

My first novel is the story of a world of superheroes that went wrong and the redemptive quest of the remaining heroes to save the post apocalyptic world that they made. It’s a love letter to comics and at its core it examines the idea of what would happen if the heroes failed to save the world.

For those of you who don’t read comics, specifically superhero comics, the publishers typically have an annual cross over that runs through several of their monthly titles as well as having a book of its own. It’s a clever way of boosting sales and reinforcing the shared universe. This is known as an event.

Naturally when I came to give my novel a name I called it “After the Event” because that’s what it was about and it sounded good, simple but portentous.

Happy that I had a good title I put it up on Amazon and then the fun started.

“Which one is it?” asked friends and family.

The answer was neither. My book was still going through checking but there were already two entries in books on Amazon with that title.

The first not only had the same title it was also book one of the After the Event series of eight books. The second was a box set of post apocalyptic novels, two and a half thousand pages for 99p.

I should have looked before I leapt, a five second search on Amazon at the outset could have saved me all of this trouble. I could have changed the title, but I didn’t because I’m stubborn and occasionally stupid, besides I still liked the title. Interestingly some people assumed that the eight book series was mine and I was just writing under an alias, I would have done well to keep that quiet.

Searching on my name on that fist day wasn’t helpful either. I’ve never met another Mark Willoughby but there’s one on Amazon and he’s published a book too.

“Did you write a business sex satire?” asked my confused niece. I didn’t.

For the first time in my life I typed my own name into Amazon, there was the other Mark Willoughby’s book from 2012 and below that was “Mark Willoughby and the Impostor-King of Lazaronia (Mark Willoughby Book 1)”  the first book of a seven book series.

Not only was my author name not as unique as I thought I was also a fictional character.

Today’s lesson: Search for your proposed title and main character names and search for your own name to decide if you should use that middle initial you never really liked.

About Mark Willoughby

Mark Willoughby is the author of "After the Event" an adventure story set in a future full of superheroes, giant robots and aliens. He is currently working on a spy novel so he has a very dodgy looking search history.

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