Thursday, December 11, 2008

Oy! Can’t Anyone Around Here Spell My Name Correctly?, by Reed Farrel Coleman

This entry comes to us from Busted Flush Press author -- and two-time Edgar Award nominee -- Reed Farrel Coleman...

There’s no such thing as bad publicity as long as they spell your name right. How many times have you heard that one? Well, I’ve got a problem. No one, it seems, except critics giving me bad reviews, manage to spell my name right. Okay, so it’s not quite that bad, but, man, sometimes it sure feels that way. The weird thing is that the misspelling seems to be getting more frequent and to be taking on new dimensions. When I was being published by one of the largest and most prestigious imprints in all of publishing, the PR department sent out a press release accompanying the ARC of my latest novel with my name spelled Reed Farrell Coleman. When I called to point out that my middle name has but one L and that all the PR department needed to do was look at the cover of the ARC to check the correct spelling, I was told, in no uncertain terms, to stick to writing the books. Over the last ten years, I cannot count the number of times my middle name has been misspelled in this way. In recent years it’s gotten so bad that I have considered either dropping my middle name altogether or going back to Reed F. Coleman, the name I used as a poet. I would say that roughly half the letters, Google Alerts, blog entries, name badges, reviews, etc., I receive come with my middle name misspelled. It happens so frequently that when you Google Reed Farrel Coleman, you get a prompt asking you if you meant Reed Farrell Coleman. Basically, it happens so often, I can almost laugh off. Almost. Recently, things have taken a strange turn. A few months ago a blogger called me Reed Farel Coleman. One L, yes, but one R too! Then a couple days ago in a major magazine's article on Bleak House Books’ list of Edgar nominees, I was referred to as Read Farel Coleman. I believe it has since been corrected. I’m sure many of you reading this are wondering why I take it so seriously. I’ll tell you why. For one, it’s my name. I use my whole name because in some ways it sets me apart and because it’s a small way to honor my late parents. Secondly, what do author’s really have other than their names and reputations? As a professional in a very competitive business—writing is art, publishing is business—in the age of computers and nearly instant cross-referencing, getting the name right is crucial. And it is because of the easy access to cross-referencing sources that I am most perplexed by people’s inability to get my name right. When I’m writing, I always have my internet explorer at the ready. This way if I need to check the proper spelling of a name, place, manufacturer, or product, I have my answer within seconds. Okay, I’ve had my say. It won’t do any good. I think I’ll just change my name to Michel Connolly or Janet Avonovitch or Lea Childe or…


Reed Farrel Coleman is the 2008 Shamus Award-winning author of The James Deans and Soul Patch. Visit him online at http://www.reedcoleman.com/. Note that you don't need to know how to spell his middle name in the URL!

3 comments:

Bill Crider said...

Just be glad your name's not Swierskiski, er, Sweirskurs, er, never mind.

David Thompson said...

Bill, You are so right!!

Gerard Saylor said...

I believe that is spelled Swizzlestickerinsky