I was wondering about using a pen name if my name is similar to someone who has a quasi-known name.
There is a Harvard law professor named James L. (my last name) who has published non-fiction books on economics. I would like to use my own name Jim (my last name) but, is that too close?
Should I go by Initials + Last name? Does it even matter if I would theoretically be writing fiction?
I've already started to try to build a brand around my name. If I was to switch to a pen name, would prefer to do so as soon as possible (reserving domain names, twitter accounts, etc.)
I think you're probably safe using Jim (your last name).
If your name was Steven King, not so much. (The "other" King is Stephen but you'd be surprised how many people misspell it)
If you did want to use a pseudonym, you sign your query letter with your real name and then under it you list your pen name, and your contact details:
(writing as Felix Buttonweazer)
And you're quite right that consistency is important. Building your twitter following and reserving domains should all have the SAME name.