Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Naming My Independent Publishing Company

My novel, The Sum of Our Gods, will be available this coming fall. As a part of the process, I’ve decided to buy my own ISBNs for the book so the imprint will be something other than the printing company. This has some obvious benefits (I can write off the costs of marketing as business expenses) and some more subtle perks, too; though most people pay no attention to the publishing company of a novel, it would be good if it didn’t advertise that it was from a “vanity publisher.” I don’t want to be deceptive (I am self-publishing), but the name of a publishing company will look more professional. This creates a bit of a bottleneck in the process, though. I can’t get a small business license from the state of Oregon, or get too far on the design of the book’s cover, until this decision is made.

I couldn’t think of a name, or, to be more specific, I couldn’t limit myself to just one, so I put out a kind of all-call for ideas to my Facebook friends. Besides my family and personal friends, I friend my former students after they graduate, so I have lots of smart, creative people who drop by and make funny comments on my page. Boy, did they come through! Ultimately, I had over a hundred ideas. I didn’t tell them anything about the novel itself, so they were working off of what they knew about me. Also, I didn’t thoroughly explain the fact that I wanted to avoid sounding like a vanity publisher, so a lot of them were related to my name. Still, they came up with some great ones. I checked out each one through a domain name search engine to see if they were available, and then I wrote down my thought process about each one just to show that I had considered them all. Here’s the whole list with the availability and my comments:

  1. Pillar of Fire Publishing Taken Bummer. This would have fit the novel well.
  2. Burning Stars Press Taken …by a music magazine
  3. Scrawl Publishing Taken …by a magazine
  4. Blackberry Thorns Press Available …but blackberrypress.com is taken by a design firm. Also, Paige didn’t like this one.
  5. Nine Millimeter Press Available I’m shocked this one is free. It might surprise some folks to learn I am a fan of my 9mm, but this seems a bit too aggressive for my subject material. I try to write boldly, but that doesn’t mean I necessarily write about violence.
  6. Assay Publishing Available I like this one because “assay” is a synonym for “decipher” or “decode,” but it was immediately mistaken for a misspelling of “Essay,” and that would probably happen a lot.
  7. Wisdom Tooth Publishing Available I like this one because, true confessions here, folks, I kept my wisdom teeth after they were surgically removed, I drilled holes in them, I strung them, I wore them as a necklace for a while in college, and now they hang from my car’s rearview mirror. If you are thinking, “Gross!” then that puts you in a camp with my wife, Paige, but I still think they’re cool because I can joke that I have retained my wisdom. That’s a big deal for a philosophy major. So it remains in the “Under Consideration” pile.
  8. Nose Bacon Publishing Available (…but http://nosebacon.tumblr.com is one of my new favorite tumblrs.) I have a great story about a time when a friend of mine drank way, way too much, stopped to eat some pizza, continued drinking, was sick, slept for a while, was sick some more, and, in the morning, discovered some bacon lodged in his sinuses. We were just out of college and thought “Nose Bacon” would be a great name for a band. Under consideration.
  9. Grammar Geek Publishing Taken This was doubtless a reference to the Grammar Geek videos I made to show in my English classes. Unfortunately, some corporation in the Cayman Islands bought the domain name. Also, it wouldn’t fit this novel, though I’d be tempted to get the domain name just for the videos.
  10. Guile's Press Available According to the person who made this recommendation, this is a reference to the witch trials (Salem’s?), but since I don’t remember it, it’s not the right thing for me.
  11. Wise Yoda Press Available The availability is deceptive. I am 90% sure George Lucas would sue me into the stone age.
  12. Mortar & Pestilence Publishing Available I love this one. One thing to bear in mind: There are no ampersands in domain names, so that could cause some confusion. Still in the running, though.
  13. Fahrenheit Press Available …but it’s not even my favorite Ray Bradbury book and it’s a word I cannot seem to learn to spell.
  14. The October Press Taken It was also a reference to Fahrenheit 451, and one I didn’t remember. I guess I need to re-read that book. It’s been a decade, probably.
  15. Knucklebonz Press Available Well, I’m not a fan of creative misspellings because I make enough accidental ones without help, so I looked up knucklebonespress.com and knucklebonespublishing.com. The name, like Nine Millimeter Press, is probably too aggressive for my writing, but I think it’s cool. Somebody should snap it up. But write a good, bone-crunching novel first.
  16. Deus ex Machina Publishing Available. At first I thought this was very cool, but the more I thought about it, the more it won’t work. First, this is something I tell my writing students to avoid. I try very hard to keep this out of my writing. Second, it’s a video game series I’ve never played. Third, it certainly doesn’t fit this novel.
  17. Terminator Publishing Available …but if Nine Millimeter and Knucklebones are too aggressive, this one definitely is. Also, the movies are only okay.
  18. Space Bound Press/Publishing Available …but this novel isn’t Sci-Fi. Plus, I don’t think I’m Space Bound, though I would love to travel there someday. I’m pretty sure that, ultimately, I’m Dirt Bound, and that’s a bit morbid for a publishing company name.
  19. Dark Ages Press Available …but this novel isn’t Fantasy. I wouldn’t want to create unnecessary confusion.
  20. Phonetix Press Available I have mixed feelings about this one. First of all, as mentioned previously, I’m not a fan of creative misspelling, so I’d go with “Phonetic Publishing.” On the one hand, it’s funny, and the novel is, too. On the other hand, it might create the wrong impression about the book, since it’s a joke that’s completely unrelated to the novel. On the third hand, the very word “Phonetic” amuses me because it’s not phonetic. One the fourth hand, people don’t have four hands, and they should have mixed feelings about the names of their sole proprietorships.
  21. Kingdoms of Fantasy Press/Publishing Available …but the novel isn’t fantasy. Also, it’s a bit cliché even for that genre.
  22. Figurative Analogy Publishing Available I think this is a bit redundant, but I looked up Analogy Press/Publishing, and Figurative Press/Publishing. They’re available. Metaphor Press isn’t, and I’d feel like I was getting pretty close to that. I still like these, though. They’re in the “Under Consideration” pile.
  23. Soda Pop Press/Publishing Available These have nothing to do with the novel, and I’m trying to cut down on my soda intake, but they’re still cool. Maybe?
  24. Earthrot Publishing Available …and too dark, even for me.
  25. There and Their Publishing (There Their & They’re Publishing) Available I really like this idea. Though it’s not connected to the novel, it seems like a stick in the eye to the old publishing industry (they’re publishing without going through the old fashioned channels, after all). And it fits an English teacher who rails about these homonyms all the time. Certainly under consideration.
  26. Buzzbeep Press Available …though buzzbeep.com is taken. Plus, I don’t get it. Is it a reference to R2-D2? To building buzz for the novel by beeping about it? To Buzz, our school superintendent?
  27. Gormans Book Publishing (Gorman’s Book Publishing) Available …but screams “Vanity Press!”
  28. Gore-Man Clan Press Available The person who suggested this idea acknowledged “that one sounds like a stabby cult” Yep.
  29. Stasis Publishing Taken That surprised me. The last thing I want someone thinking about when they read one of my books is being in some form of stasis.
  30. Green String Bean Publishing Available …but it has nothing to do with my novel and I don’t really like string beans.
  31. The Great Conundrum Publishing/Press Available I like this one! It fits the novel. Unfortunately, there’s already a Conundrum Press. Looks like they put out some cool stuff, though!
  32. Wunderpress Publishing Taken …and I’m not German.
  33. Imagine Press Taken …probably by a John Lennon fan.
  34. Visual Press Taken …and more fitting for a book with pictures.
  35. Day to Day Press Available This doesn’t really fit my personality, though.
  36. Living Press Taken This doesn’t fit my personal philosophy, either.
  37. One Chance Press Available This implies that the novel is a one-off from this company. That might be true, but I hope not.
  38. Dream Press Taken This sounds a bit hippie-dippy for me, anyway.
  39. Your Dream Press Available This would be deceptive. It’s not your dream press. It’s not even my dream press. My dream would involve some huge publishing company that wanted to give me a huge advance and was going to throw all their weight behind a massive marketing campaign. “Settling For This Press” doesn’t sound too great, either.
  40. Stockade Press Available This sounds like a publishing house that would produce military fiction and offer a veteran’s discount.
  41. Cameo Publishing Taken …probably by a company that puts out biographies of B-List movie stars.
  42. Lock Stock & Barrel Press Available I like this one, but, in the same vein as my Nine Millimeter idea, it’s just not right for my writing.
  43. Data Press Taken Why? Nothing says “boring read” like “data.” Oh, it’s a database management firm. I rest my case.
  44. Wubbly Publishing Available I don’t know if this suggestion came from someone who knew “Wubbly” is slang for a pot hookah or not, but that’s not my thing.
  45. Insomniac Publishing  Taken Of course it is.
  46. Isopropol Press Available I had to look it up. Not for me.
  47. High Fructose Press/Publishing Available I’m trying to cut this out of my diet, though. Check out highfructose.com Funny.
  48. Le Press Taken …and too cute for my taste.
  49. DOS Publishing Available That surprised me, but the name sounds like a late eighties computer textbook, so nope.
  50. Batch File Press Available See above.
  51. The Artificial Intelligence Press/Publishing Available The novel isn’t Sci-Fi, but I’m tempted to buy the domain name to appease our robot overlords.
  52. Supernode Publishing Available The book isn’t Sci-Fi, and this sounds slightly porn-y.
  53. Billy Goat Publishing/Press Taken Good one, though.
  54. Anion Press Available I had to look it up. Chemistry references don’t fit me at all.
  55. Integral Press Taken It sounds a little too cool for me, anyway.
  56. Key of D Publishing Available “No idea why,” the person making the suggestion wrote, “but I'll bet Mr. Gorman likes classical.” No, he doesn’t, but I’ll take that as a compliment because the people I know who like classical music are all smarter than I am.  
  57. Inaugural Publishing Available …but I worry people would associate that with a Presidential inauguration. My novel has nothing to do with that. It is my first novel I’m going to publish, but then the name would be inappropriate for the second and third.
  58. Lubdub Publishing Available I had to look this one up, too. I found how some people use the term. I wouldn’t be one of those people.
  59. Rubber Ducky Publishing Available …but far more appropriate for a children’s book.
  60. Qwerty Press/Publishing Taken Easy to type, though!
  61. Mozart Press Taken The person suggesting this one wrote, “[Mozart] is vulgar & wrote music out of spite, desperate approval from his father & drunken stupors.....id pick him!” I’m spiteful and desperate enough, but I don’t drink much.
  62. Fine Articulate Publishing Available This one sounds pretty arrogant. Also, I couldn’t bear a name with two adjectives and no comma between them.
  63. Mole Fraction Publishing Available Somebody was doing her chemistry homework while she made suggestions, I think. I’m no chemist. I’d be a lot wealthier if I were.
  64. Dark Swamp Publishing Available This sounds more like a press for a horror novel. No swamps in my book.
  65. Jigawatt Press Available I do like Back to the Future, but not that much.
  66. Wizards Keep Press (Wizard’s Keep Press, Wizards’ Keep Press) Available Good name for a publishing company for a fantasy novel, but not for mine.
  67. X and Y Publishing Available It sounds a bit mathematical.
  68. Faded Culture Press Available I like this one, but I don’t want people to associate my novel with negativity before they’ve cracked the cover.
  69. Fuster Cluck Publishing Available This is funny, but I don’t want people associating the novel with a cluster.
  70. RightHand Press Available The person who suggested this wrote, “Benjamin means Son of the Right Hand (which does not mean he is our favorite son...he was the only son until Joe Gorman was born!” Wonder who suggested this one! Though I like the playfulness of Mom’s idea, a right hand press sounds like a tool of some kind or an activity someone might include in an exercise routine. Considering how often I’ve set foot in gyms, I don’t think it fits me.
  71. WriteHand Press Available This was Dad’s variation on Mom’s idea. I like it, but it’s not my favorite from this list. Still, it’s in the “under consideration” pile.
  72. Jamin Man Publishing Available This one is a bit clever, but it still falls into the category of variations on my own name, and that defeats the purpose.
  73. Bald Truth Publishing Available I really like this one. My only concern is that I am hesitant about the word “Truth.” For one thing, I write fiction. For another, my fundamental philosophy of life is one of skeptical agnosticism. The Truth with a capital T isn’t something I can claim to know. Still, I’m considering this one.
  74. Monocle Gentleman Publishing Available …but, if you know how I feel about income inequality and my feelings about the 1%, you’d know this is as far from fitting me as possible.
  75. Full Court Press Taken  It’s a shame, because I love this one, and I’m a big basketball fan. There’s even a brief basketball scene in the novel (Jesus and Yahweh watch a Celtics vs. Lakers game together late in the book). Oh well.
  76. Death Star Publishing Taken And the site’s homepage goes out of its way to make it clear that it’s not a Star Wars reference for fear of a George Lucas lawsuit.
  77. B.P.N Publishing Available This wouldn’t have any meaning to people who don’t know Paige and Noah, and then it would fall under the Vanity Press category.
  78. Gorman Dew Publishing/Press Available I’m trying to wean myself off of Mountain Dew. Plus, the idea of dew coming off a Gorman sounds icky.
  79. Pelon Press Available I like this one because I speak Spanish and know “Pelon,” with the accent on the O, means “Baldy.” But the way the word is read by English-only speakers is painful.
  80. Menage Press Available “Menage Publishing” is taken, though. And both sound like companies that publish erotica.
  81. A-1 Publishing Taken It also sounds a bit arrogant.
  82. Panini Press Taken Funny, though.
  83. Precious Press Available I hope no one describes my novel sarcastically as “precious.”
  84. Publishing Press Taken Funny, but some would find it confusing.
  85. Panther Press Taken There are no panthers in the novel. This would have been good for anything printed by the creative writing club we’re starting at the high school next year, though. Bummer.
  86. The Force Publishing Available See previous references to George Lucas’ legal team.
  87. Book Publishing Taken And it’s so generic, people will wonder if I understand the point of naming a publishing company.
  88. Perfect Pubilshing Available The person who suggested this one did misspell it on purpose (“yes, that's the joke”). But I think people would have a hard time finding it online.
  89. Rocket Ship Press Available …and perfect for someone who wants to start a Sci-Fi imprint.
  90. Speculative Publishing Available The person who suggested it wrote, “I assume you will publish Sci-Fi” I hope to someday, but not this novel.
  91. Friday Night Publishing Taken It’s too bad because that’s when I do most of my writing, so it would be fitting.
  92. GB Publishing Taken Still has the “Vanity Press” problem.
  93. Been Jammin' Press Available This has the vanity publishing problem.
  94. Dew It Publishing Available Again, I’m trying to cut down on my Mt. Dew intake, and I don’t think they need my help in advertising.
  95. Jaminpaigepublishing (or Jamin Paige Publishing) Available At first glance, this might seem clever. It might also seem obscene.
  96. Central Publishing Taken Like Panther Press, this would have been good for the creative writing club. Bummer.
  97. Babel Press Taken This was Paige’s favorite. Apparently, it was somebody else’s favorite, too, and they got to it first.
  98. Mortal Press Taken This was one of my favorites. I thought it would fit the novel well, since it’s populated by the immortals of various systems of mythology but doesn’t have the vanity of “Immortal Press.” It’s available for $1,400. So, no.
  99. The Inspired Press Taken Someone was inspired to get this one first.
  100. Allegory Press Taken Bummer. My novel isn’t technically an allegory, but I thought that would be cool anyway.
  101. Cork In It Publishing (or Cork In It Press) Available I like this one because I occasionally smoke a pipe and my uncle taught me to put a piece of cork in the mouth to save unburned tobacco. It goes in the “Under Consideration” pile.
  102. Not A Pipe Press/Publishing Available This is a reference to one of my favorite works of art, and to the post-modern philosophical movement. It goes in the “Under Consideration” pile.
  103. Bench Press Taken It’s clever, but considering how little I work out, it doesn’t fit me.
  104. Ministry of Truth Publishing Available I like this one because I love 1984, but if people don’t get the reference, they’ll think I’m making the opposite claim I intend. Such is the nature of Orwellian language, I suppose.
  105. Slacker Publishing Available …but I’ve worked my ass of on this novel, and this publishing thing is turning out to be pretty labor intensive, too.
  106. Cock and Bull Press Taken I like the connection between Cock and Bull and fiction, but I don’t have the maturity to not giggle at the word “cock.”
  107. Penny Press Taken I liked this one, too.

So, here are the ones that are still in the running:

  1. Wisdom Tooth Publishing
  2. Nose Bacon Publishing
  3. Mortar & Pestilence Publishing
  4. Analogy Press/Publishing
  5. Figurative Press/Publishing
  6. There Their & They’re Publishing
  7. Write Hand Press
  8. Bald Truth Publishing
  9. Cork In It Publishing (or Cork In It Press)
  10. Not a Pipe Publishing

Now I just have to pull the trigger. I know that, no matter what I choose, 99% of the people who helped me will be disappointed that their suggesting wasn’t chosen. I hope they’ll forgive me and check out the novel anyway. I hope they also understand how grateful I am to them for their help. Obviously this is something I’ve given a lot of thought, and I couldn’t have done it without all their help.

After much consideration (too much, considering it’s probably only going to catch the eye of a few readers), I’ve decided to go with the last entry, Not A Pipe Publishing. For those of you who don’t know the reference, it refers to Magritte’s painting The Treachery of Images. The painting perfectly captures the idea of simulacra, which is the heart of my aesthetic. As Jean Baudrillard wrote, “The simulacrum is never that which conceals the truth—it is the truth which conceals that there is none. The simulacrum is true.” I believe that’s what fiction is, or at least what it strives to be: A lie which tells the truth. If Not a Pipe Publishing can do that, even once, even a little bit, then it’s a publishing company I’d be proud to own.

So I own the domain name, and here’s a crack at the logo:



Anonymous said...

This leads to me to automatically think of: Put this in your pipe publishing. I do not know if it would have been available. But there it is.

Krishna said...

Have you considered your favorite "taken" names but changing the "publishing" to "media" or something else? There are added benefits if you can change the name to 'media' in that you can consider more than just print, but also consider your blog part of your publishing company's materials. Music, graphics or anything like that too.

I'm not sure if you can change the name from publishing to media but I think it's worth exploring.