Here's the cart. Horse to follow.

IT is a truth universally acknowledged, that a writer in possession of a good novel idea must be in want of a web page.

All the books and websites I've read about writing, and the woman I met at work who happened to be a writer, say that it's vital to have your own author page, especially if you're considering e-books or self-publishing.

Until I actually finish the book I'm writing, I am very reluctant to talk about it as if it were a foregone conclusion. As confident as I am in myself and my writing, I don't want to make any unearned claims. After all, when someone else talks about the book they* are writing (or going to write) a part of me always says, "Put up or shut up."

Not out loud, of course. That would be rude.

So, why should I be any easier on myself? That wouldn't be fair.

On the other hand, conventional wisdom is that a writer needs to self-promote like crazy, online and wherever else they* can be heard. And I can't wait until my book is actually done, can I? I'm burning daylight, here.

Also, more practically, if I don't stake my claim to the good URLs they may get snapped up. I've even heard rumours that if you use a domain registrar's search box to see what's available, that company may snap up the ones you searched for but didn't get. That way if you change your mind, or even if you were just comparison shopping, you're stuck paying the big bucks if you try to get it later.

And that is why I have this author website, as well as patchworkgirl.net, for my current project.

If I change my mind about the title (again), well that sucks.

Next episode: Why I have a pen name. It's a very boring reason.

*I use "they" as a gender-neutral singular pronoun. It's not a perfect solution, but it's better than "he/she", "one", or self-consciously alternating between "she" and "he". 


The Pen Name And Its Point
2/19/14

There are people who chose pen names to conceal their gender (George Sand), class (George Orwell), number (Ellery Queen), output (Stephen King/Richard Bachman), or simply their identity (John le Carré). Why am I calling myself M. K. London?

It's easier to spell.

Honestly. My real last name is not long, but it has a consonant pair that no one ever gets right the first time. Some people don't get it right at all. Thing is, in the days of the old-fashioned card catalogue and alphabetized bookshelf, that wouldn't have mattered. The first three letters of my name would put you in the right neighbourhood at least. 

But nowadays, to a search engine, there's little difference between "nearly right" and "totally wrong". If you're lucky, someone made the same spelling mistake as you, and you can follow their trail. And considering how important my online presence is (do you like me so far? do you? do you? do you?), whether I wind up published or self-published, I need something unique, spellable, and short. So, my actual initials (M. and K., obviously), and the six-letter name of a famous city.

Now, "M. K. London" may remind some people of "J. K. Rowling". Two initials, one of them "K", and a reference to England. Well, my pseudonym does owe something to hers, but not what you'd think. Like her, and like K. A. Applegate*, I'd rather not have someone decide whether my books are for them just because of my gender. Of course, between my female protagonists and the social prejudice against boys reading, it may not make a lot of difference. Still, I'm a writer, how can I help but live in hope?

Patchwork Girl is set in Middleton, a medium-sized Canadian city in the exact same location as my home town of London, Ontario. In fact, Middleton would have been London, Ontario, except every time I mention London, Ontario, I have to say London, Ontario, to make sure nobody thinks it's London, England. And with all that leftover London lying around, I figured I'd use one as my surname. Waste not, you know.

Next Episode: Where do I get my ideas? No, honestly, where? Do you have any idea?

*I looked up K. A. Applegate on Wikipedia. It listed all the books she's written. Damn! that's a lot of books. I may be a little intimidated now.