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Picking a name for the MC in a PB

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I have a picture book near completion that features a small girl as the title character.  I have already started other PB's based on this same character and hope to eventually have a collection.  I am having trouble deciding whether I should go with a name that is rather common, so that the character will be relatable.  I also feel that parents of children with the same name would be more likely to find and purchase the book, which would be a sales boost.  The alternative is going with a name that is extremely unique, so that the character name would stand out and be more distinctive.  All opinions about this would be greatly appreciated. 


JD Mutters
#1 - January 09, 2014, 08:14 PM

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It depends on what you mean by "common." Many supposedly "common" names (ahem, Billy or the like) end up sounding veeeery dated. And some of the names people assume are "unique" are actually in the current top ten names given to babies. I'd say that the most important factor is that it doesn't sound dated, and then within that caveat, that it fits the character's personality.

The Social Security name index ( is an awesome site for finding current names for your characters. You can plug in a year and see what names are current and which ones sound like Grandma. It's a fun site. :)
#2 - January 10, 2014, 04:48 AM

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I also like Baby Name Wizard that has a little graph thingy that shows how the popularity has gone up and down over the years. It has a lot of other cool data as well and gives suggestions for sibling names that go together. I use it often for naming characters.

I think you have to pick what fits your character. It will feel right when you find it. Don't do it for marketing. Do it to fit your character, and everything else will work out.

Names go in cycles. My own first name was an "old lady" name when I was young .. but now it's super trendy for babies. However the names that were popular when I was born, are today's grandma names.
#3 - January 10, 2014, 09:54 AM
Making metaphors out of molehills for over thirty years.


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