Back when my agent was shopping How To Do Everything And Be Happy around the UK publishers, there was some talk about whether or not I should change my name to avoid confusion with the other Peter Jones who, whilst equally tall, is often described as being more dragon like, and has a tendency to arrive at venues in a helicopter.
Sharing a name with a celebrity has advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand people rarely forget me. I’m Peter Jones. Like the dragon. Like the shop. Memorability is a useful thing when you’re an author. On the other hand, journalists have this annoying habit of getting VERY excited about the possibility of an interview… and then lose interest just as quickly when they realise I’m not a billionaire, or a regular face on prime time television.
It’s a little like I offered you a five quid, and you thought I said five-hundred quid. When you realise I meant a five pound note you might feel ever so slightly let down. You might politely tell me to keep my cash. I want to say, “it is still cash you know!” but neither you and I are the actual people in this scenario, and nobody’s talking about cash.
Even amongst readers there’s some confusion. I occasionally get emails along the lines of “so you’re not the real Peter Jones then?” (am I somehow not real). And at a book signing back in January one lady came up to me, asked for the book to be made out to her son – and then promptly told me that he was doing my business course at college (I just nodded and smiled). Then a couple of weeks back, when I popped along to Author Della Galton’s latest book launch, one of her readers (who was clutching a copy of How To Eat Loads And Stay Slim) exclaimed “Wow! You’ve written a book with Peter Jones! Will he be here today?” When Della pointed out that I was standing right behind her there was that awkward moment of confusion that I’m beginning to expect when I’m introduced to people.
It occurred to me that a little re-branding might be in order. Time to tell the world that there’s another flavour of Peter Jones available, and like any branding exercise, give people some sense as to what I’m about. With this in mind I had some new author photos done.
Reaction has been mixed. Most have reacted very positively. Others… less so. I feel that I’ve stuck my head above the parapet somewhat. But then I suppose that was the point.
I’d be interested to know what you think (though try to keep in mind that I’m a human being, with actual feelings, armed with a delete button…), and even more interested if you’ve got a similar experience of your own to share. Use the comments box below.
You can see more of the pictures from the shoot on my facebook profile