I have a confession to make. My name really isn’t Jamie Brazil.
It’s a pen name. A nom-de-plume. An alias. A pseudonym. It’s been growing on me and I really like it. Just like being forced to choose a name for an infant before the child leaves the hospital, my husband and I had to settle on a name before “Prince Charming, Inc.” officially joined the world of digital downloads.
Why not use my legal name? It’s a good name, but it’s also the only one in the phone book. Many people have asked, “How do you spell that?”, “Is that one ‘n’ or two?”, “Say that again”, and my least favorite, “I’ve never heard that name before.” Different isn’t always good.
I found that out when my sister-in-law decided to remodel her kitchen and asked me to sell her near-new refrigerator on Craigslist for the bargain-basement price of $50.
I had no takers. Not a phone call, not a single email.
What could the problem be? If you had the muscle and dolly to move the darn thing this was the deal of a lifetime in kitchen appliances. A quick search of Craigslist revealed what I had overlooked. I’d spelled REFRIGERATOR correctly. And this was not the way to sell a refrigerator.
In all, I found over a dozen different spellings. Refrijerator, frij, frig, refrigerater… you get the idea. And it looked like their fridges were SELLING. For MORE than I was asking. Just because I could spell it didn’t mean I could sell it. Quickly editing the post, I added all of the various spellings of refrigerator, doubled the price, and sold it within hours.
Merriam-Webster may be rolling over in his grave, but when it comes to marketing, easy-to-spell words and names, rule cyberspace. And thanks to Craigslist and one discarded refrigerator, Jamie Brazil was born.