When I got to be in middle school, or junior high as we called it then, kids began to shorten it to Barb, as though those extra a’s just took way too much effort for their vocal chords. I was afraid to tell them I preferred the original written on my birth certificate. I certainly didn’t want anyone to think I was uncool though. So I let it go.
Later, in high school, friends politely asked what I wanted to be called. I told them, and then they immediately forgot and called me Barb anyway. So I gave up and went along with the flow.
At least the short version of my name is still somewhat the same. I’ve often wondered about the reasoning behind nicknames for Richard or Robert. Why change them to Dick and Bob? Confusing, right?
Some people add an “e” sound to the end of every name. My son had a bestest friend when he was two years old. I guess she thought since she had a daddy, a mommy, and a doggy, everyone else should be the same. She called me Barbie for a time. It was cute coming from her, but my son didn’t think so. When she called him Bennie, he yelled, “That’s not my name! I’m Ben!!” I don’t think she tried that again. He was very firm about it. Unusually so. Not like me. I just let it go.
Before my first book was published, I contemplated using a different name for my novels. I thought maybe I’d go with B.B. Sutton, but that sounded like a jazz singer. My daughter said I should use my middle name and the street where we live. So Ellen Davenport was bantered about. But I thought that sounded like a starlit from the 1930s. Just so you know, at no time did I consider using “Barb.”
Ultimately, I went with my legal name. I do tend to second-guess myself a lot, so when I changed genres to write a young adult series a couple of years ago, I thought maybe that would be a good time to try out another name, at least for that series. But fellow writers talked me out of it. They thought I’d lose my reader base or confuse people.
I now have nine novels published under my full name, Barbara Ellen Brink, but it just sounds so… unimaginative to me.
There is a sense of anonymity in using a pseudonym. And many authors choose to travel that path. I simply chose to use my real name. Barring the advent of stalkers or serial killers popping up in the future, I think it works. For now. Although, hiding behind a fake name might make it easier to deal with bad reviews…
Thanks for stopping! Leave a comment and let me know what you think about author pseudonyms.