Let’s talk names. Even Shakespeare famously said, “What’s in a name?”
For this episode of The Write Focus, we look at the writer’s best tool and the process of developing it. It’s part 1 of “What’s in a Name?”
Welcome to the Write Focus, a podcast for writers at all levels wanting to improve. Improve what? Process, productivity, craft, and tools.
Process is how we go about our writing. Productivity is managing our daily energies to produce content. Craft includes the elements of character and plot and more, for fiction and nonfiction. Tools, that’s what we use to make the writing happen.
The Write Focus is packed with suggestions and tips to guide your epic writing journey. Writing is epic, and you’re the hero of your writing journey.
As with all journeys, you’re on a quest, and the treasure you will find may be that pot of gold OR your name in flashing lights on a theater marquee or something more down-to-earth as you turn your dream into reality.
That’s our touchstone, by the way: turning the dream of writing into the reality of publishing your writing.
And our motto is Dream It. Believe It. Do It.
For now, we need to Start our next series which is “What’s In a Name?”.
A Name is a tool. Whether your writing name, a book title or a series title, or a character, all of these are tools.
That name is one key element to connect with an audience.
As a writer, your name will become your Author Brand. A book title can intrigue the reader and hint at the genre and offer a promise of your writing craft. A series title keeps everything hooked in to your brand and each book title. And your character names personalize those mannequins walking stiffly through your stories, hopefully relaxing those stiff limbs and joints to enliven them.
So, how do we pick a name?
Here’s our first tip: names—of podcasts, books, series and more—must connect with our audience. The name should have a key word that leads to the focus. We’re creating audience expectation here. Our names should draw in our intended audience.
Tip 2: Names should be easy to remember. That means they have to be catchy. They need to spark interest.
Metaphors are rich ways to develop titles. Contrasts / contradictions work very well with titles. Alliteration helps. Strong images are actually more powerful than alliteration.
Tip 3: Try to have a unique name. Be aware, though, that nothing (except us … and fingerprints) nothing is unique. A unique title is not possible. You may start unique, but that won’t last.Your name won’t be unique.
If you want to trademark your name or your series brand, you will have to create a certain uniqueness to the words. Apple Computers is a brand because computers have nothing to do with the apple fruit. Trademarks can be generated by combining words with images, but a unique characteristic is required. And trademark law requires an attorney, which I am not.
The search to name this podcast offers an excellent example of the process of choosing a name, whether that’s your author name or a character’s name or the title for a book or a series.
So, Tip 1, remember, is to connect with the audience. This podcast is purely nonfiction, grounded in fact. The title should reflect the nonfiction focus. Tip 2 is to make the name easy to remember. Tip 3 is to have as unique a name as possible.
So, when I first contemplated this podcast, I started the NAME SEARCH with Think like a Pro Writer. That’s the name of my series of How-To books for writers. Think like a Pro Writer is a good description, but it’s not immediately interesting. We have bare nano-seconds to capture a listener (or a reader, when we’re selling books), so Think like a Pro Writer isn’t going to HOOK anyone searching for a new podcast.
Think like a Pro Writer is also five words. The podcast title will be on a thumbnail image, among other thumbnail podcast images. Color will help the image standout. The words on the colored background need to be few. No more than 3, and that’s including THE as a word. So, Think like a Pro Writer is fine for a series title, but not for a podcast title.
Catchy titles often use metaphors. After tilting my head a little bit, I landed on Write with Wings. That’s a great name. It offers a graphic, the image of wings, maybe with a pen or laptop flying off. It’s three words, short and catchy. It has alliteration with those W’s. I loved it.
Tip 3 is to start unique. I turned to research on the internet to see if Write with Wings was in use. The first search page was FILLED with several different websites using that name. Immediately, I backed away from that title.
Why? That title has a lot of potential.
Here’s the reason. I’m struggling with the name problem with my dominant pen name, M.A. Lee.
When I started my own epic writing journey, back in 2013, with M.A. Lee as my pen name, I searched the internet for M.A. Lee and books or novels or writing. I searched on Amazon, the biggest distributor of ebooks. No one had that name. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.
I published in October of 2015. Within that very year, another writer was using that name.
The other writer is contemporary romance—with steamy covers. My books are historical mysteries and suspense with nothing steaming except the corpse in the cold English air. Different cover styles, different genres, different steam level. But … still.
So—as much as I loved the metaphor and the graphic potential of Write with Wings, it’s a Nope.
Onto more brainstorming.
Writing Ink. Write Force. Write Power.
Obviously, WRITE needed to be in the podcast’s name. That is the draw, the focus for the listener.
That’s the primary reason you chose this podcast, isn’t it?
So, Write Power. Write Energy. Write Lightning. WRITE LIGHTNING! I totally loved that.
The first search turned up two names in use. Should I pick it?
WRITE can be easily confused with WHITE. White lightning is moonshine. Write Lightning could be a pun on that illegally distilled liquor that hasn’t aged in barrels.
Maybe the tagline could be Write Lightning: Jolts of Energy for Your Writing.
Moonshine whiskey burns all the way down and gives you a “fire in your belly.” To devote yourself to writing, to the publication of your writing, you need a metaphorical “fire in your belly”.
I could describe the podcast like this:
Write Lightning will spark your creative energies and jolt you out of the humdrum. OR it’s a lightning bolt that will energize your writing.
However ~ the word play MIGHT bring people looking for the true water of life, White Lightning moonshine. I’m not opposed to moonshine, but people might leave nasty comments when the podcast isn’t what they expected.
WRITE LIGHTNING has been used twice as a website, but the phrase shows on other search pages. That creates the same problem as Write with Wings.
Do I want the confusion issue? Will I encounter more Write Lightning in other locations?
I’m back to Square One. Seriously, I headed all the way back to Think Pro Writer. Still not catchy.
Inspiration 4 Writers is also claimed, even more so than Write Lightning although not as many as Write with Wings.
You’ll encounter this naming problem as you start your writing business.
Your pen name or book title or series title may launch into the world as unique, totally unclaimed in the marketplace, but it will quickly spring up other places, like guppies or rabbits.
It’s as if our very searching sends the words into the universal ether. Once it is there, swirling around, others find it and start using it. Ouch!
Several, several years ago, two books in the same genre with the exact same title and very similar covers were published in the same month. From different publishers, at least, but still—.
The naming problem will occur.
So I head back to brainstorming to lessen my future difficulties.
I like mazes – writing mazes. Nope. Amazing World of Writing – Nope.
Writing Journey—nope. It’s taken and the audience may expect travel writing.
Discover Your Writing. Now---hmmm. That comes up in blog posts but not as a website. It’s closer to titles of how-to-write books. I have a bundled ebook Discovering Your Writing already associated with M.A. Lee.
Maybe--? It’s not sexy, but—it is rich for metaphors! What could be the graphic? A map? Searching through a forest? Looking through weeds? Needle in a haystack? Whoa, those are busy graphics. Too busy for a podcast thumbnail.
A telescope? Whatever I pick, I need to claim it quick before the universal ether throws it out to everyone. So, a telescope. The focus window in a camera lens. Nope, looks too much like a sniper targeting.
I can use a maze graphic. With a pen at the heart. A question mark at the start. An exclamation point at the end. Nope. The graphic’s getting busy again.
Telescope. Focused Lens. The Write Lens. The Write Eye. Yuck. The Writing Camera. Oh, the Write Focus. That’s a good name. It’s not a great name. Not like Write Lightning! Or Write with Wings!
But we have a metaphor. We have a clear three-word title. The name and image both point straight to writing.
Remember our Tips?
Tip 1: Names create audience expectation. That’s a first connection with podcast listeneers. The very first connection is the image. I think a strong clear color and a bold pen graphic.
Tip 2: Names have to be catchy and easy to remember. Easy to remember means Easy to Find. We have to avoid confusion with other people and things our there on the World Wide Web.
Tip 3: A unique name and title are not possible. You can start unique, but that won’t last. Start with a standout, individuating name.
Goodness, we’ve covered a lot, haven’t we? Just by exploring the process of coming up with the name for this podcast.
Next time, we’ll look at claiming your writing self in the world wide web. That’s right, we looking at Pen Names.
Remember to check the show notes for links and this episode’s transcript at thewritefocus.blogspot.com.
See how the name became even more important? Something easy to remember so you can find us on the internet!
If you find this podcast helpful, please drop a comment at firstname.lastname@example.org That’s supposed to be an easy to remember email address as well. WINK as an abbreviation for Writers Ink Books, the business under which The Write Focus, M.A. Lee and my other pen names operate.
That’s at www.writersinkbooks.com.
Thank you for joining in The Write Focus. Write on.!