Challenging How Big the Author’s Name Should Be

Name Pic

The consensus among critics is that the author’s name should be relatively small (compared to the title) unless you’re famous.

Why? There are two popular reasons for this:

  1. The marketing view says that if the author’s name appears too large on the cover, it will distract the shopper’s attention from more important keywords in the title. If you’re famous, then it’s important to throw your name out there because your name has sales value.
  2. The critical view feels that the author’s name should take on a humble role on the cover (i.e. out of the way) if the author doesn’t have name recognition.

But is this correct?

Maybe not.

There are a couple of reasons to reconsider this point:

  1. Do you primarily expect to sell books to family, friends, acquaintances, coworkers, social media followers, and people you interact with personally through marketing? If so, then you do have name recognition with your target audience. Make your name larger for their benefit and disregard the potential critics. Why not?
  2. Are you branding your name in your marketing efforts? If you are effective at this, then you want your name to be easily visible (but perhaps not dominating) on the thumbnail image of your cover. Potential customers who recognize your name from your marketing endeavors who see your name in the thumbnail may check out your book.
  3. Part of marketing is about creating a perception. If you’re thinking big, then you want to create a big name for yourself. If you’re going all out to try to make it big, then starting out with a big name on your cover might be a good fit. Make that big name for yourself and prove the cover critics wrong.
  4. If you’re a nonfiction author with a title (Dr., Ph.D., M.D., etc.), you may want your qualifications to be visible in the thumbnail image. However, if you don’t have a relevant title and aren’t well-known in your field, it may be better to place emphasis on a few important keywords instead of your name.

What is your personality? What fits you? A big name? A small name?

Chris McMullen, self-published author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon

My First Trip to Manhattan


I finally made it to the Big Apple. I grew up in Los Angeles and have lived in Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Louisiana. I was attending a wedding in Tarrytown, NY, on Memorial weekend, when I finally got my chance to see Manhattan.

We took a taxi from LaGuardia airport to Times Square on Memorial Day evening. That taxi ride was an experience in itself. We walked several blocks taking pictures, looking for a nice restaurant.

The workers in the first restaurant laughed like we were crazy to think that they might be open at 9:30 p.m. on Memorial Day…

We had better luck at the next restaurant. I enjoyed eating at Bistro. They had open air seating. We were stuffed silly. They began with a bowl of olives of assorted colors, crunchy bread with sauce, and a bowl with a variety of breads. The food was delicious and the service was excellent.

There had been vendors outside the restaurant selling artwork when we arrived, but they had vanished by the time we went out. In their place were piles and piles of trash bags. The amount of garbage was unfathomable. Just imagine the sky rises and how much garbage they must collect each day.

(Wait a minute. Maybe open air seating wasn’t the greatest idea after all…)

So my daughter (five) is walking down the streets of New York City shouting that the city stinks. Then I’m trying to convince her to please not do this. (NYC is a great city, by the way.)


The next afternoon, we checked out of the hotel near LaGuardia airport, but had several hours before our flight. With too much baggage to tote around the streets of Manhattan, we decided to drive there. Driving through Manhattan was a real adventure. Thank the inventor of GPS.

Driving to Manhattan, at one point GPS made us drive around in a circle, then another circle, and then yet another circle. I had to look at the screen of my cell phone to see the beautiful knot that was just tied. It looked like a Mickey Mouse cartoon. No exaggeration. There is no way I could have taken that same route without the navigation system.

It was still quite a challenge with GPS. Unfortunately, it doesn’t tell you what lane you need to be in. Sometimes, you find out at the last minute that you need to be several lanes over. If not for a thousand other cars already parked in those lanes, it wouldn’t have been a problem.

We were saved by rerouting. Thank the inventor of this, too.

Pay a toll of $7.50 to get into Manhattan. Pay it again to get out. Pay another $20 (plus tip) to park the car for a couple of hours. Don’t forget gas.

We finally get into Manhattan and then the real driving fun begins. The highlight was when I was waiting at a green light for pedestrians running across the street both ways (wait a minute, it was red for them), while at the same time the car behind me was passing me (to turn right, but I was on the right) and nearly running over these pedestrians.

Unfortunately, we were told that we wouldn’t be able to go to the Statue of Liberty due to damage caused by Sandy. (But far more unfortunate for all those who were affected by the storm.) We wanted to try to drive close enough to see it from the shore, but it was overcast with poor visibility on the last day. I will have to see it next time.

Don’t get me wrong. I loved seeing Manhattan (and even driving through it). It’s a great city. I really loved it at night. The Empire State Building looks awesome with the top lit up in red, white, and blue (but this isn’t pictured below).

New York 640

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Photos from Lyndhurst Castle in Tarrytown, New York (Sleepy Hollow)

New York 576I attended a wedding in New York this Memorial Day weekend at the Lyndhurst Castle in Tarrytown, New York. I didn’t encounter the Headless Horseman in Sleepy Hollow, but I did snap a few photos of this cool castle.

New York 577Here is a close-up of the castle.

New York 595I got to tour the inside, too. All of the furnishings are roped off.

New York 582There is a lot of architectural detail inside the castle.

New York 585As far as I know, none of these heads belong to the Horseman. 🙂

New York 590The ceilings are highly detailed, too.

New York 584There are a lot of arches in the castle.

New York 586Even the windows are amazing!

New York 589This is my dream desk. So many compartments!

New York 580Of course, there has to be a grandfather clock.

New York 581A castle clock on the fireplace mantle.

New York 593Here is a view of the Hudson river from inside the castle. The castle sits at the top of a hill overlooking the river.

New York 583I walked down to the bottom of the hill for a closer look. Apparently, many others have done the same, as there was a stone bench down there to enjoy it.

New York 612Looking back up the hill at the castle.

New York 606I found another magnificent home at the bottom of the hill right next to the river.

New York 610The expansive grounds were green and lush.

New York 594Even the trees are worth a look.

New York 601This tree shows a lot of character.

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