One Little Period Screwed the Pooch

I am an indie author who publishes as Steven L Campbell. Notice that I put no period after my initial. Like President Harry S Truman’s initial. I think it looks classier than punching a period after it. And the venues where I sell my books have no problem that I do not put a period after my initial. Neither do my faithful readers and followers. Why should they care how I wish my name to appear on my books or at my websites? It’s no big deal. Right?

Well, for some websites, it is a big deal. And one that seems close to being a criminal act. Before I added an author page to my Goodreads account, I was Steven L Campbell, Goodreads reader. Then I became Steven L Campbell, Goodreads author for a short time before the librarians there decided I had to be Steven L. Campbell, Goodreads author.

You wouldn’t think adding a period would cause so much chaos. But it did when some of the book websites that sell my books confused Steven L and Steven L. as two separate authors. Even Goodreads confuses my Steven L books as books written by someone else. So I asked the Goodreads librarians if I could revert to Steven L (no period) Campbell. The librarian who answered me was far from polite about it, threatening to remove my books and banning me from Goodreads if I attempted to remove the period.

So, here I am, Steven-L-period-Campbell.

I think North Americans make too big a deal about periods after initials. Many European authors omit periods after initials and spell Mr, Mrs and Dr without periods. Harry S Truman had no period after his initial because it did not stand for a name. But some librarians—probably North American—got their panties in a bunch and almost all references to the man have a period after the S.

In my opinion, it has to do with conformity. We have to label everything and put it in labeled boxes. We get smacked if we put it in the wrong box. And yet, twenty-first century educators squawk at their students to think outside the box. Is it good advice to do so? Or is it anarchy and chaos?

In my case with Goodreads, I have taken to the box and conformed. I dislike being smacked.