Hmm... Actually, it's so much more. Especially in the author world. The name is the brand. After six years of self-publishing, it was time to admit that I got it wrong. My name, that is. For so long now, I've gone out into the book world and sold myself as Victoria L. James, but no matter how much I believed in the stories I wrote, I didn't quite believe in ME. It was a strange feeling to keep control of, to be honest.
See, I'm no Victoria. I never have been. Despite that being the name on my birth certificate, I can probably count on both hands how many times those I know and love have called me by that moniker (except for my Grandma Bess who developed a very posh accent that strayed far away from her Northern roots whenever we went on our beach holidays in the South of England. THEN, I was Victoria, because it made us sound of higher class. Lord, I miss that woman). I am and always have been Vicki or Vic. So, whenever I was out there selling myself as Victoria, I kinda felt like I was out there wearing someone else's dress. Plus, because I was such a novice when I first started out in this self-publishing gig, I did no research to see if the pen name I chose would cause any issues.
Guess what? It did. There is another far more successful author out there called Victoria James—which I only discovered a few days before I was due to release my debut. Hence the reason we stuck the L. in my name on all the graphics at the last minute—and the two of us are constantly getting mixed up by our readers. Completely understandable. Poor Victoria James must be just as frustrated by me as I am with myself at this point.
These, plus a few other factors led me to release Cherry Beats under the name of Vicki James back in September 2019 to see if it could be done. To see if there was life beyond Victoria L. James, or if it would mean going right back to the start all over again for me and wasting five years back then. Sure, a few people didn't understand my decision to do so. A lot of reviews queried why I felt the need to try and sell myself under a different pen name. But for the most part, it was accepted, and that started to make me feel less afraid that I'd got it wrong again.
Do you know what happened?
Cherry Beats and Vicki James outsold the five years of work Victoria L. James had put out by a country mile. Vicki James became the success, and it kind of felt like someone up there in the clouds was saying, "See! You have gut instincts for a reason. Follow them. Stop second guessing yourself so much." Which is why I'm here now, explaining to you all that Victoria L. James will, eventually, cease to exist anywhere but in the Goodreads archives and in the dusty corners of Amazon. Everything will be transferring over to Vicki James... the name that feels more like me. The name that I believe in and know will make me feel more comfortable going forward. That doesn't mean I'm unaware how confusing it's been for some of you. I get it. I really do. I've been confused myself. But I'm also floored by how many of you have stepped up to say, "What are you even stressing about? We know it's you and we support you no matter what name you write under." And that has been an incredible feeling. I never learned how to run a business or make those big decisions. All I knew how to do was write, so I'm still learning as I go here and being completely open and transparent about where I go wrong or have been wrong in the past. I got probably the biggest thing of all wrong. The name that is my brand. Hey... I've always been one to go down in flames. Ha-ha. So, there you have it. That is the reason for the change of name, and I do hope you all stick with me to see what happens next because I promise you, I have BIG plans. I want to make these fictional worlds completely electric for you, and I cannot wait to get the next story out. Thank you for your love and support. With love and gratitude, Vicki James.
P.S. The first rebrand will be with the Babylon MC Series on 4th December, 2020. Keep your eyes peeled. The new covers are fire!