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Moments of a Writer's Life, #45


The Moment I Was Asked To Change My Name: Having previously said she’d never ask me to change my name, my editor called and asked if I’d change my name. It wasn’t her idea, she explained, but rather, it was the Marketing department asking for it. “We’re envisioning a time when you’re a big bestseller,” she explained. “We’ll want to be able to splash it across the cover in big letters, like they do with Nelson DeMille, but that’d be kind of hard to do with your long name.” Plus, she went on, with the hyphen and everything, librarians and booksellers might be confused as to how to shelve it; and then, too, it was a lot to expect consumers to remember in terms of spelling – really, the whole thing might be hard for people to remember. Her solution was that I choose between one of the two elements of my last name and go with that. Well, I did consider this – I try to make a practice of seriously considering any professional request, as opposed to doing the quick knee jerk. But ultimately, I explained to her, “There are reasons I hyphenated my name in the first place – I’m not one for alliterative names, at least not for me, so the idea of becoming Lauren Lise Logsted when I got married was a nonstarter. As for reverting to my pre-marriage name of Lauren Baratz, I can’t see divorcing my husband’s name now as a publishing expedient – the name stands. As for the other stuff – people having trouble remembering it or how to spell it or where to shelve it – I imagine if I’m successful, all those things will eventually take care of themselves. And if I’m not? It won’t matter anyway. The name stands.” And really, 40 years after the women’s revolution, don’t you think librarians and booksellers – people who regularly deal with the written word – should know how to alphabetize compound last names? If there’s no hyphen, it goes under the first letter of the last element (Mary Higgins Clark under C). If there is a hyphen, it goes under the first letter of the initial element (Lauren Baratz-Logsted under B). For crying out loud, it’s not rocket science, people.