Vote on William’s byline/author credit

6.29.10 | | 20 comments

So I’ve been listening to more Writing Excuses podcasts, and I got to the one on branding with Rob Wells, and I realized that I’m doing the cobbler’s children thing with my own poor self. I mean, I know branding — it’s a big part of my day job. And I’ve done that a bit with my life as a writer/critic, but at the moment there’s brand confusion out there. I’m using both William Morris and Wm Morris and the former isn’t search engine friendly to me at all (because of competition with the 19th century socialist poet and designer AND the talent agency) and there’s no chance of getting a vanity URL with it. I started out with just William Morris because I like the symmetry and the link to my forebearers in the fields of literature and public relations. And I have been using Wm for awhile because it’s shorter to type (that’s a bit nonsensical, but I assure you it made sense to me when I started doing it) and for some reason I like the way that there’s just the ‘W’ and the ‘m.’

So here’s a completely self-indulgent poll. Help me figure out what my byline should be. Comments (even mocking ones) are much appreciated.

What should William's byline be?

View Results

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20 comments: “Vote on William’s byline/author credit

  1. Wm Morris

    Does it? For some reason I never thought it did, but I’m warming up to the idea. Plus it does honor my awesome great grandfather whose first name was Elgin, but the rest was the same so he also had the two syllables in each name with lots of els and ens and ems thing going too.

  2. Katya

    I like “Wm Morris” because I’m fond of those sorts of 19th century abbreviations for names. (E.g., “Chas” for “Charles,” etc.) However, that may not be the best choice for all the forums and media in which you’re going to use the name.

  3. Rob Wells

    I’ve actually always liked that you use “Wm”. I think it’s very distinctive and different–it seems, IMO, to be both a little dignified and a little artistic.

    While I agree with Stephanie that William Henry Morris sounds good, it also sounds vaguely like some writer I should already know. (In other words, I’d hear it and think “Wasn’t he a poet from the 19th century?” not “Isn’t he a new up-and-coming author?”)

    But, those are just my impressions.

  4. Angela

    The only problem with Wm as I see it is then some people might be skittish about saying your name out loud. Are they supposed to say “William” or “Wum”? :-)

    It’s like Segullah: beautiful word, but kinda difficult to pass along by word of mouth if people are nervous about opening their mouths and saying it.

    I really like W.H. Morris as a pen name. Much more searchable, certainly, than William would be. But William Morris is such a nice name. So writerly. Other than being ungoogleable, it’s a great name for a writer.

  5. Wm Morris

    *sigh*

    I was hoping for a little more consensus.

    Thanks for indulging my self-indulgence, though.

  6. Jonathan Langford

    I voted for W. H. Morris. I dislike Wm bcse it seems like the knd of shrtning u get in sloppy online fast media wrtng. But then, I’m a literary dinosaur.

    I also think that avoiding “William Morris” is a good idea because even though I know you well, I have actually experienced moments of confusion about which William Morris I’m talking/thinking about. But then, I am a great fan of the “other” William Morris (I love The Well at the World’s End), so once again, I’m hardly a good sample.

  7. Kent Larsen

    Actually, Jonathan, I thought Wm gave it a bit of a nod to very old customs — Wm seems like a 17th century abbreviation.

    But I also think its kind of hip, and unusual.

    In fact, when I voted for Wm, I thought I was going to be the only one, and I was surprised to see it had the majority of votes so far!

  8. Jonathan Langford

    Eric,

    Oh, that’s very clever. And somehow not annoying. With all kinds of eschatalogical (spelling?) overtones.

    And Kent: Yeah, I know that’s what my reaction *should* be. But it’s not.

  9. Wm Morris

    Here I thought I was just posting one of those summer lark posts, but this discussion has turned out to be quite interesting (and not just because it’s about my name).

    To wit:

    See this is why it’s all a matter of perspective and context, Jonathan. To you that’s clever, not annoying and eschatalogical. To someone like me who is well acquainted with the mores of hip hop and with the artist himself (see http://will-i-am.blackeyedpeas.com/ ), it’s annoying and lame and shallow and my first impulse was to smack Eric upside the head for even associating my name with the guy.

  10. Th.

    .

    I spend a lot of time with a similar question. Fortunately, I start out googleable, but Theric has advantages over Eric and Eric has advantages over Theric and I’ve been so inconsistent with self-labeling….

    That said, I lean to Wm Morris because I think it’s the variant you’re already the most vested in. Which is a compelling reason, imho.

  11. Eric James Stone

    I chose to use my full name as my byline mainly because there was already a mid-list thriller author named “Eric Stone.” Fortunately, “Eric James Stone,” while not unique to me, is uncommon enough that I am able to completely dominate the search results for that name.

    Plus, some of the authors who have most influenced me use three names in their byline: Orson Scott Card, Eric Frank Russell.

    Naturally, I voted for “William Henry Morris.”

    “W. H. Morris” would work fine, I think. There are plenty of authors using bylines with that pattern.

    “William H. Morris” presents a problem, because I think it’s easy for people to forget the middle initial, at which point the problems of “William Morris” apply.

    “Wm Morris” and “William M.” are too affected, in my opinion.

    To my surprise, “Will Morris” might work. The current top result on Google is a college athlete’s bio, and there’s not a particular person who dominates the results. There is another author using that name, but based on Amazon results, not a very popular or prolific one.

    (I’m discussing this in terms of a byline for use in publishing books and stories/articles in various publications. As a byline for use in blogging, I think you can use whatever you want.)

  12. Jonathan Langford

    I spent my sixth grade year signing all my schoolwork as “Kimo,” my alter ego from freeform fantasy role-playing with my best friend. Any childhood nicknames you feel inclined to resurrect for literary purposes, William (or Wm)?

  13. Wm Morris

    Thanks for the analysis, Eric. I think I also need to figure out exactly where I want to place my emphasis. The problem is that at the moment there are three areas of my writing/public personae that are in various stages of development — Mormon blogger/critic, higher ed PR person, aspiring genre/literary fiction writer (and that slash there is less of an either/or or even both/and and more reflective of my interest in the mixing of the two).

    Jonathan: I don’t have any childhood nicknames. I was Will and then went to William when I came back from my mission.

  14. William Morris

    Ha! You are very lucky to have that a in your last name, Howard (although a Google search shows that Schlock is strong enough to get first pages results for both Taylor and Tayler — well done).

  15. Adam K. K. Figueira

    I went with William Henry Morris. I agree that Wm. is fine for blogging – I actually like it a lot – but I also agree that it doesn’t have the speakability that enables unfettered word-of-mouth.

    W. H. Morris is my second choice, and it was hard to pick between the two, but the family connection ended up being the deciding factor.

    The way I see it, the primary factors are distinction, personal truth, and image, not necessarily in that order. One initial is easily forgotten (if it comes in the middle) and therefore confusing. Two are iconic. I think of E. B. White as an example of that. I don’t have any idea what the initials stand for, but I sure know who he is.

    I’m lucky enough to have three given names, so I can have it both ways. Not that there are a lot of Adam Figueiras around. I’ve only ever found one other, and I’ve looked.

    I think William Henry Morris has such a dignified sound that it will lend credibility to your work. Using your whole name shows that you take yourself seriously. It says, “this is who I really am, and I’m not ashamed to let the world know that.” You stand by your work. In these days of internet anonymity, it’s refreshing to see someone willing to tie an online persona unapologetically to a living identity.

    My thoughts about my own name guided my vote in the end, though. Adam Kyle Kekoa Figueira is kind of a mouthful, so I don’t expect folks to deal with it, but I insist on the K. K. because of what the names mean to me. Mainly it’s that the second K. was given to me by my fraternal grandmother, who was my only living grandparent at the time of my birth, but who I have no living memory of. The name is all I have to tie me to previous generations. The giving of Polynesian names by grandparents is also a generations old tradition in my family, and it’s in tribute to that that I identify myself by the whole set.

    So your connection to your ancestral Henry strikes a chord with me.

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