A choice of names

I always hoped and expected a literary agent would be able to help me choose a name to publish under. Should I have a pseudonym? Initials? My full name? I feel like women’s names are loaded and articles about the apparent bias towards books written by female authors don’t make it any easier to know what to do. Now that I have decided to self-publish, however, choosing a name is something that I have to do without professional help.

I get a little sad every time a woman I know changes her name when she gets married. At the same time, I know that the name we grow up with is usually only the name of one parent’s family, and usually our father’s.

Legally I’m a Gibson, and I love being a Gibson. But technically, historically, even emotionally, I’m just as much a McKinnon. And if I was any other woman I would probably be a Murphy by now.

The easiest thing of course would just be to publish under Alison Gibson. It has its bonuses, the main one being it is easily searchable online. But it just doesn’t feel right. Names are malleable and by choosing one surname it seems to discount the other parts of me, and the other families I’m a part of.

A pseudonym also doesn’t feel right. This is my work, and I want to be proud of that and own it publicly.

So I have chosen Alison Theresa. It may cause confusion being so obviously two first names, and no surname. It’s not like I am Madonna, Kylie or Elvis after all. But it is still my name, still me, and I think it has a nice ring to it.


By Alison Theresa

Writer in progress. Australian in Birmingham. MA student at University of Birmingham. I write words and sometimes people publish them. I am working on my fourth (and fifth) novels.

2 replies on “A choice of names”

I love Alison Theresa and as I was reading your blog I was saying why don’t you just choose Alison Theresa! That is you! That answers your dilemma well I think. I hear all you say Ali. X x


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