Friday, August 28, 2009

Aardvark Zygote

I've been thinking about alphabetization. What? Don't you sit around all day thinking about the alphabet?

Lots of writers have pen names. Privacy is a nice luxury and anonymity can be crucial if your boss at your day job might not be so understanding of your romance writing sideline. Picking a pen name can be a big decision. Hopefully, readers and writing collegues will be calling you that name for years to come, so kind of a big deal.

A writer friend of mine recently explained her rationale behind picking her pen name. She wanted something that was 1) easy to spell, 2) easy to remember, and 3) in the middle of the alphabet. Now, I'm totally onboard for #1 & #2. But the middle of the alphabet? What?

She then explained that she wanted her books shelved at "eye height" in bookstores. So not at the very beginning or end of the alphabet. Which presupposed that all bookstores have exactly the same height shelves and number of books and all sorts of other assumptions that seem pretty silly to me. I just can't get too worried about being an "A". I honestly don't think it's going to impact my career in a negative way. But maybe I'm underestimating the power of the alphabet.

I really think being memorable is more important. Which kind of makes me want to write a sci-fi book under the penname Zygote Aardvark (or Aadrvark Zygote) just to see what alphabetically inferior sales look like.

Seriously, does it matter? I like Cherry Adair. I like Scott Westerfield. I will go to the ends of the alphabet for them. Bending down, looking up, there is no shelf too high or too low. My love is not alphabetically impaired.

What about you? Are you a one-shelf shopper?


Vivant said...

I'm hardcore. I can often be found squatting or kneeling in bookstores to make sure I don't miss any gems that happen to be on the lower shelves, regardless of where they fall in the alphabet.

Hmm...another exercise for the activity log on my WiiFit -- literary deep kneebends!

Vivi Andrews said...

LOL. Excellent point, Vivant. Aerobic book buying!

Leah Braemel said...

I'm like Vivant, I'm often down on the floor looking for my favorite authors/books (all Samhain books are on lower shelf as eroticas are shelved alphabetically by publisher name. Even if your Samhain story isn't an erotica it's put in same area. *sigh*)

But it really depends upon layout of bookstore. Chapters stores have 4 foot high bookshelves. A's are at the top, then it depends on how many authors are in between as to where you end up from there. You could be a A and still be at the bottom, or a M and at the top of a shelf. Then next week you're moved again. *shrug* Luck of the draw.

Vivi Andrews said...

It's nice to know I'm not the only one who crawls around on the floors of bookstores. :) Thanks, Leah!