Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Query Question: Can I be Forced to change my long, punctuated surname?

Dear Sharkly One,

As someone with a decidedly Upper Austrian name (I checked), I wonder if there are names where agents/editors/publishers advise/demand the use of a pseudonym. On one hand, sure, the name's unique, but on the other hand, people might want to spell it without tripping up badly encoded software and/or non-native speakers. The same thing goes for overly long or unfortunate names.

On the legal end: Can such a thing be mandated? Is this a thing you/your slithery colleagues ever negotiated? Or am I just being completely ridiculous and this isn't a thing?

Yours truly, Ten-Characters-With-An-Umlaut

I've never heard of someone being asked to change their name for spelling sake. I'm sure it's happened, but I don't know of any specific examples. And honestly now, in this day and age, we're all used to umlauts and other festive punctuation:

Jo Nesbø

Camilla Läckberg 

Not to mention my favorite author name:

Jennifer 8 Lee 

And it's not like Emily and Charlotte Brontë used nom de plums because of  their surname.

As for demanding it, well, you're not being forced to sign a contract at gunpoint, so if a publisher insists on something you don't want, you just say "sayonara."  Or as we like to spell it:



April Mack said...

LOL! Do you even know what that says in Japanese, or did you copy/paste it from somewhere? That cracked me up. So rude, yet so funny.

Kitty said...

Loved the movie "Jennifer 8" (with Andy Garcia!) which was mentioned on wiki when I looked up Jennifer 8 Lee. She wrote about Chinese food in the United States and "the unlikely, but true, story of how a batch of fortune cookies created 110 Powerball lottery winners."

Just me said...

Online translators are weird.

Google Translate says: 'Let's do it fool Damn it , I blur Ne orchid doing'

But Babelfish says: 'Crazy, stupid or deaf, or. oasis-I Bokeh'

And WorldLingo: 'It is to act playfully the fool you probably will do, doing, don't you think? viewing - the wa becoming dim'

So, what's that supposed to say?

NotaWarriorPrincess said...

Readers are going after the Japanese, but nobody has yet caught the Shark's sly dig at the fact that Acton, Ellis and Currer Bell had no umlauts when they published stories far too brutal and manly for a trio of respectably tuberculitic sisters....

Anonymous said...

Yes - or maybe the fact they were women...either way, as usual I learned something here. And here's sayonara in Japanese:


(Just because I love fiddling around on Google translator...)

Anonymous said...

And this...depends on how you spell it.


Anastasia Stratu said...

Oh, The Shark knows. Sharks always know...

Especially unique specimens like The Requin Reid, The Aloof Axelrod, and The Biteme Boggs...


Janet Reid said...

It's colloquial Japanese for a proud Arnold Schwarzenegger phrase which can not be printed on this blog without earning me a reprimand from the Standards and Practices office.

Unknown said...

Let's not forget J.K. Rowling. I admire your avoidance of it though, Janet.

Alexandra (Ola) J. said...

So, this is late because I forgot to check in yesterday (bad Ola!) but -- I'm taking first year Japanese again, so I'm gonna play.

ふざけんな = not a nice thing to say at all... will have to remember it for class :)
バカ = idiot, but i just learned that adding やろう makes it much more rude... also something to remember for class :p

I can't figure out the rest of the quotation (except the katakana at the end seems to say 'poke'), but it's really strange to see a choonpu after a hiragana letter! I know it's sometimes used but I haven't really seen it before.

I'd ask my teacher about the second part but I suppose I will offend him! :)

April Mack said...

For those wondering, here is a literal translation of the Japanese in the post (I don't know the Arnold Schwarzenegger phrase Janet says it's a translation of):

ふざけんな = Literally "don't joke around," but it's very informal and rude
バカやろう = idiot/moron, also ruder than the literal translation in English sounds because of the "やろう" ending
やってらんねーわ = I can't put up with this, drawn out in slang form
ボケ = idiot/empty-headed fool



in general translation (vs. literal) is:

Shut it, you f'ing idiot. I'm not putting up with your s**t.

Btw, donnaeverhart, さようなら in hiragana is correct, but it's rarely written in katagana.