Yesterday, an issue came up that I had to try to solve. There is an author in the wild who shares my name, and my Facebook community page had linked up to her’s. She is a romance writer, and has a specific fan base. I spent about 20 minutes trying to figure out how to simply change the name on my community page so it wouldn’t link up. Facebook doesn’t make it that easy but I stumbled across the right settings and things are now corrected. The whole experience made me think about choosing a name you want to be known by publicly and what happens when someone else owns your nomenclature.
When we began setting up Twisted Writers, the question was asked about what we wanted to go by. Some of us wanted to use our actual names while others were considering pseudonyms. Our reasons for this were as varied as we are. Personally, I wanted to use my own name as I really kind of like my name. But, days before Twisted Writers was set to go live, my mom texted me, excited, because she had just seen a book on a shelf with my name on it. I had to tell her no, that wasn’t me, that I would have told her BEFORE anything had been published, and I certainly have not written any romance books as of yet. She was still excited. It’s not very often you come across someone with my name. So, I googled this author and realized very quickly that I was going to have to choose a different nom de plume.
Choosing a name…I already have one…sigh. Well, I could go by a pseudonym, and I did choose one (also already taken), but I didn’t want to hide behind a mask. I’m not really good at pretending to be someone else. I chose, instead, to go by my nickname.
The thing is, nowadays, a name isn’t just a name. Certain names sell; some sell big. When you see the name Stephen King (if you’re a fan), you are going to buy that book. And, if you see the name Stephen L. King, you might just have been suckered into buying someone else’s book. I can’t even walk into any store that sells books without seeing James Patterson’s name everywhere. Nora Roberts, Debbie Macomber, Clive Cussler…to name a few, are names I’ve seen everywhere. And their books sell. So choosing a name is kind of a big deal. A rose by any other name might smell as sweet, but an author has to be able to be distinguishable from other writers by more than just their writing.
I may or may not change my name before publishing my first book. I’m still considering other factors but I can tell you one thing…you won’t be confusing me with an erotic romance writer any time soon. 😉