Marketing Monday: What’s in a Name?

If you agree with Juliet Capulet, that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet (or define a rose just as well), consider the following:

Fake client #1: An author named Chester McGrubber writes an erotica novel called HORNY. He wants to market his book to women ages 35-50,
because he feels that “the themes of late-blooming sexual liberation in the midst of financial success will appeal to the power skirt-suit set.”

Does anything about this approach seem “off” to you? (Because just writing it kind of made my skin crawl.)

Fake client #2: Candi Luscious, a former television journalist, is shopping around a non-fiction proposal for a biographical project
that will take an in-depth look at exemplary members of the US education system. It’s called TEACHERS WHO TOUCH.

Um…my Spidey Senses are telling me that we’re going to have a bit of a marketing issue here.

My point: If there’s one fact that EVERY writer should be aware of, it’s that WORD’S MATTER. Using the right word for a situation is the key to persuasion, and therefore marketing. Names, titles and labels, being the introduction to a thing, matter most of all.


So, what’s in a name? Description. Subtext. Perception.

A good name or label should address the point of the issue, while feeling natural and authentic. Not forced, or pretentious. If you’re using a pen name, it should represent your brand better than your real name does. It should be evocative and unique, as well as memorable. It shouldn’t just function as an alias, or be chosen to replace your own name because it sounds “cooler” than the truth.

Title me this.

In the same way that your name tells the reader who you are, the title of your work should give your audience a clear idea of what your story is about: the central purpose, the overall tone, and the hook–that spark of novelty that makes the story compelling and unique among its market competitors.

Examples: The Hunger Games (is a book series about a dystopian society that puts its citizens through trials…which are called…you guessed it!), Losing It (is a story about a girl who decides to lose her virginity), Gone Girl (is about a woman who goes missing), The NeverEnding Story (is about a story that goes on forever through retelling–it’s also SUPER long).

You can play with style and semantics, and even go a little abstract, but the BEST titles are self-explanatory, at least to some degree. (At least from a marketing standpoint.)


Ok then, smarty pants. What about REUTS? What the heck kind of sense does THAT make?

In our case, we chose REUTS as the title of our organization because we’re a group of professionals who believe that the best stories–whether Sci-Fi/Paranormal, Historical, Dystopian or Contemporary–are “rooted” in the tangible, with realistic characters and relatable emotional stakes.

But just because these stories feel real, it doesn’t mean they have to be boring. (Which is why we didn’t spell “roots” the traditional way–because that would have been boring. Plain. Expected. And while we might be a lot of things, we’re not ANY of those things.)

As you’ve probably heard, publishing is currently an industry in transition. Because of this constantly shifting landscape, we feel it’s important to adopt a realistic–yet positive–and flexible attitude that allows us to adapt our level of involvement and marketing strategy accordingly. That’s why, when people ask us whether the letters of REUTS stand for anything, we’ll probably say something along the lines of “This week, we’ve decided our acronym correlates with the favorite ‘adult beverages’ of our acquisitions team: Rum, Eggnog, Ultra-Marine, Tequila and Scotch.” Or, “In honor of #ProjectREUTSway, REUTS currently stands for: Radical Editors Uniting Terrific Stories.” Because we’re not about putting things in boxes. We’re in this business to shake things up, defy convention, and redefine expectations by going above and beyond “traditional” definitions of what publishing is.

Publishers without borders. Unlimited creativity. Astonishing outcomes. That’s what’s in our name. What’s in yours?

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