I’d like to welcome New York Times bestselling author Lou Aronica and thank him for agreeing to stop by The Happy Booker today for a guest post. I just recently read and reviewed Lou’s most recent Young Adult fantasy novel Blue which you can find here.
Putting My Name On It
Several years ago, a friend and colleague was given the opportunity to have her own book imprint with a major publishing house. She decided that she wanted to name it after her father. This was a lovely gesture, but my first response was, “I would never do that. What if it doesn’t work out?” It seemed to me that if you named an enterprise after someone you loved and then that enterprise failed, you’d stained the person with the failure.
As it turned out, though I didn’t think of this at the time, I felt the same way about using my own name. The first time I truly needed to consider this was when I moved from the business side of the book publishing world (where I’d worked for twenty years, most recently as Publisher of Avon Books) to the creative side. When I made a deal for my first novel,The Forever Year, I didn’t consider for a second the idea of putting my name on the book. What if things didn’t work out? Instead, I chose “Ronald Anthony,” a derivation of “Aronica” (Ronald) and my father’s first name, Anthony. Yes, I realize that using my father’s name contradicts what I’ve been saying here, but he’d died recently and I felt a strong urge to pay him tribute in spite of my overall skittishness. Not long after The Forever Year, I made my first deal for a nonfiction book. In that case, I chose the name “L.A. Stamford” (Lou Aronica from Stamford, CT) and maintained that as my “nom de nonfiction” for several books.
Things went along this way for some time, and I continued to be convinced that it was best for me to leave my name out of my business. Then, with my eighth book, Miraculous Health, which I coauthored with Dr. Rick Levy, things changed abruptly.
“I want you to put your name on this,” Rick said as we were wrapping up the manuscript.
“I am putting my name on it – L.A. Stamford. That’s the name I use for nonfiction.”
“I want you to put your name on it. It’ll make a difference.”
I felt a bit of a chill at that moment. What I realized right then was that it was no longer about “what if things didn’t work out” – I had absolute faith in this book – but about something else entirely. I was nervous about how the publishing world was going to regard me as a writer. Would former colleagues and associates snicker over my writing ambitions? Would writers I’d edited and, worse, writers I rejected flame me online in some form of payback? I wasn’t sure I was ready for this or that I would ever be. Still, Rick was persuasive and I gave in.
Amazingly, the sky didn’t crumble around me. The book received many nice reviews and no spurned writers chose to flail me in public. I decided to put my name on my next nonfiction book, The Element (which I coauthored with Sir Ken Robinson), and when that book became a New York Times bestseller, I decided to retire “L.A. Stamford” for good.
Still, when it came time to publish my next novel, Blue, which has just gone on sale, I wasn’t sure if I was ready to take this final step. Blue is a novel that means a huge amount to me, perhaps more than anything I’ve ever written. Meanwhile, there was no coauthor the hide behind here. If I put my name on the book, it would be the only name on the book. For a long time I resisted, even deciding on a new fiction pseudonym.
In the end, though, I decided it was wrong to publish this novel without my real name on it. If I were truly committed to this novel – and I’ve never been more committed to something I’ve written – didn’t I need to avoid erecting false barriers?
And so I am presenting Blue to the world as nakedly mine. Boy, I hope the guy I rejected four times in a year never hears about it.
How often do you hear about something that sounds too good to be true? Well, I am here to offer 10 lucky winners the opportunity of a lifetime.
New York Times bestselling co-author, novelist, and former Publisher of Avon Books and Berkley Books, Lou Aronica has created a unique and exciting offer to anyone that is going to follow his upcoming book tour with Pump Up Your Book. His extensive experience in the publishing and editing fields has given him insight into an industry that continues to grow and change daily. Once again, that insight has led him to offer a contest that is truly special in so many ways. Lou will be accepting story pitches from followers of his blog tour. These story pitches must be for short stories pertaining to the fantasy world of his novel, “Blue.” This contest will allow 10 lucky people the opportunity of a lifetime, the chance to have their story published in an upcoming companion anthology to “Blue.” Lou will hand pick the winners, edit their stories, include them in the anthology and give them a pro-rated share of the royalties. How can you pass up an opportunity like this?
Now for the details:
The pitch should include a synopsis of the proposed story and a sample of the submitting author’s fiction writing. Specify the expected length of the story.
The pitch needs to be submitted by April 16, 2011
Please email your submission to Lou at email@example.com
What a great opportunity!! And once again I’d like to thank Lou for stopping by The Happy Booker on his blog tour for his incredible novel Blue.
Since I thought Blue was such an incredible book, I’m also offering one of my followers and opportunity to win their own copy. If you’d like a chance to win, simply leave a thoughtful comment on Lou Aronica’s guest post here or on my review of Blue between now and Thursday 1/27/2011 at midnight. Winner will be announced Friday morning 1/28. Good luck!!