Sunday, March 27, 2011

My big name

Last week I asked my editor to send me an updated cover for LOVE STORY, which will be published on July 19, because I am buying an ad for the book. I’ve had the cover for several weeks, but sometimes the publisher adds things to help sell the book, like teaser lines or quotations from other authors.

To my astonishment, my editor told me that the publisher is redesigning the cover to make my name bigger.

Now, I blogged last year about the size of authors’ names on their covers. To make a long story short, my critique partner’s name takes up a huge portion of her book covers

whereas my name has always been petite, almost as if the publisher were trying to hide it. 

Peek-a-boo! I was thinking last year that perhaps my name would grow between the cover of GOING TOO FAR and the cover of FORGET YOU, but you see how that turned out.

And now, finally, my name is growing. This means one of two things. Either I am a huge author and enough people know about me that they will buy my books because of my name alone, without needing to be convinced by a catchy title or a beautiful cover--OR, the publisher wants to give the IMPRESSION that I am a huge author.

Bookbuyer 1: “Who is this Jennifer Echols person?”

Bookbuyer 2: “I don’t know. I have never heard of her. But her name on this cover is GINORMOUS! Therefore she must be a best-selling author and her book must be spectacular! Let’s each buy three copies!”

So, am I a big author, or am I just pretending to be one in the hopes that I actually will be? I do not know, and I did not ask my editor. I do not make a habit of calling people up and requesting that they rain on my parade.

But I am certain of two things. First, I am very happy that my name is growing. And second, this all sounds like a cross between a Nikolai Gogol story and a cautionary tale for children.

Once upon a time there was a chick named Jennifer who lived in a pink office. Jennifer spent her days staring at a computer screen, writing novels for teenagers, and copyediting medical journal articles about nasal polyps. "If only my name were bigger on my novels," she said to herself, "I would not have to read about nasal polyps anymore."

Suddenly a genie bottle appeared. Out popped Christina Aguilera. "Wish granted!" she sang in several keys at once. And magically, Jennifer’s name began to grow.

It grew until it was bigger than the title of her book.

It grew until it wouldn’t fit on the book cover anymore.

Jennifer was delighted--until she went to a Romance Writers of America conference in New York City. Here she got the first hint that her name had grown TOO big. In the middle of the 500-author booksigning for literacy charities, her name got up on the table, danced the robot, ripped off its O, and flung it into the crowd.

Before Jennifer could grab her name, it dashed into the crowded Manhattan street.

Over the next few days, Jennifer kept hearing that her name was out doing terrible things--partying, granting ill-conceived interviews, shoplifting scarves. She felt helpless to stop her name because her name had gotten SO BIG. Her name would drag itself into their hotel room each night. Jennifer would try to scold her name, then plead with it, but her name would not listen. It would stumble to bed and fall asleep without even bothering to brush away the traces of laserjet toner it had obviously been sniffing. It broke Jennifer’s heart.

Jennifer’s name continued to grow. It had figured out how to tap into the power grid at the Simon & Schuster building. It grew and grew until Simon & Schuster decided to stop it by unleashing their secret weapon from the depths of the Hudson River. There was an epic battle, and Simon & Schuster won.

Because of her name’s antics, Jennifer had lost her job writing novels for teenagers. She was spending eight hours a day, five days a week, copyediting articles about nasal polyps. She was very angry with her name. She and her name lost touch.

But one day, Jennifer heard a knock on the door of her pink office. It was her name, shrunk to its original size of ¼ inch. It claimed that its “people” were working behind the scenes so it could compete on Dancing with the Stars and/or record a Christmas album.

Jennifer just shook her head. She forgave her name. She let it into her office. She put it in a little china teacup on the shelf beside her computer. There it lived out its days, watching reruns of The Hills, swilling Liquid Paper, and farting, until Jennifer’s cat ate it.

But at least Jennifer had learned her lesson. From then on, she was careful what she wished for. And she regretted ever wishing that her name would grow bigger.

The end.


  1. HA! I just battled for over thirty minutes with blogspot to get an image of Playing Hurt on my blog post (thanks Holly again for the interview and giveaway). The first two images came up fine, but the third? No, apparently that was too complicated for my sad little blog post.

    Even though I finally figured it out, I was too frazzled for even my usual chocolate relief to help. But then I came to this blog and read this beyond silly story.

    Thank you Jennifer, and your wonderfully crazy name for bringing a smile to my face.

    Oh and personally? I think the name growth is due to you being a big name author now, more than them wanting to just give the impression as such :-) Can't wait for Love Story!!

  2. I may never be a big-name author but yeah, check out my photoshopping skilz!

  3. I love that, Jennifer!!!!!!!!

  4. One word: Hilarious.

  5. Gawd but your post brings back memories. My very first book w/NY--Wolf Tales--had a purple cover with lavender naked people and my name about a quarter inch tall, lavender on purple. It wasn't until Wolf Tales IV that I got my name the same size as the title, embossed. I opened the package of cover flats while driving and almost wrecked the car. And your photoshopping skilz are truly impressive! (thanks to Victoria Dahl for tweeting about your blog)

  6. I found your blog via Victoria Dahl on Twitter. I admire your Photoshopping skills indeed. Or is it the poor author version a la GIMP? That's what I'm stuck with.

    Anyway, you made me laugh. I picked up Going to Far one year at RWA and thought it was the best book I got at the conference that year. Really, really good. You deserve a Godzilla Name!

  7. Hahahahaha!! I'd love to say something constructive, but I'd have to stop giggle-snorting. It's a lost cause...

    Thanks for this.

  8. JENNIFER ECHOLS is HUGE. See, I attempted to make your name larger, but it just doesn't work that well in the comments. Big name on the cover totes means you're a big author. Seriously.

    People tell me to read your books all the time, which they don't need to do because I have. Now, you just need to keep that big name in check and don't lose the O along the way.

  9. This made me laugh SO much. Brilliant, imaginative story about your name. Thanks for writing it. :D

  10. Victoria Dahl is right. This may be the best blog post ever written.

  11. Jennifer, you are hilarious. You nearly killed me with this post.

    And you ARE a big author. And your name is feeding on that. Hence, growing :D

    But I do hope they won't drastically change the cover, cos I really, really like it.

  12. I was having a pretty bad day but this just made me laugh out loud! Thanks for making my day a whole lot better!
    And you most definitely deserve a bigger name! I'm hooked on your style of writing!

  13. That is by far the most entertaining post I've read in a long time. ^_^ Good luck on the publisher end. You're skill and awesomeness surpass the size of inanimate letters on a cover. But they do help to say, “I don’t know. I have never heard of her. But her name on this cover is GINORMOUS!"

  14. "I do not make a habit of calling people up and requesting that they rain on my parade." That line totally cracked me up. Then I kept reading. This is so freaking funny!!!! I want more stories about your name.

  15. HeHe, your post is too funny, Jennifer, and I'm excited for Love Story, whether your whole name fits on the cover or not! :D

  16. HA! You are the queen of hilarious blog posts! And I'm with Bella, psyched for Love Story even if the cover is swallowed by your name.

  17. OMG. This post. LOL.

    That's all I can manage.

  18. Rosemary, you do not know how close you came to being in this post. Because I have a picture of you at the booksigning.

  19. Great post. So stinking funny. And now I'm off to get a ruler and a calculator so I can compute my name to title ratio. Ack. Math. Fractions, no less. Never mind. Congrats. BTW, I think I saw your O heading west on the I-80.

  20. LOLOLOL!!!! *snort*

    I just wish they'd put my name in a font a person could actually read. But now I have a new goal. Thanks!

  21. I love this, Jenn! May your name get bigger and BIGGER....