Monday, April 02, 2018

A rose isn't always a rose

I have the same name as a self-published author. I am afraid I will be confused for this person. Should I indicate in my query that this author and I are different people?

Yes! While I don't try to find dirt on queriers, it's entirely possible I will have heard of someone else with your name, particularly if they are well known, or active in publishing.

Thus you write "Thank you for your time and consideration, Felix Buttonweezer (not the self-published Felix)"

You see why it's ESSENTIAL you have your own website.  The link you include in your query shows me you are not a published (self or otherwise) author.

I don't assume queriers are trying to mislead me by saying they aren't published if they have been. If that's the case, that reckoning is down the road, and it will be pretty terrible (in other words, don't lie about this.)

If your name is also that of someone you'd prefer NOT to be associated with (your folks, the lovely Mr and Mrs Manson, really liked the name Charles) you can always use initials, or a pen name.

In the case of my wonderful client Stephanie Evans, who writes traditional mysteries featuring a  Church of Christ Minister, she was a bit taken aback to find  the OTHER Stephanie Evans was a stripper. That's why my Stephanie is now Stephanie Jaye Evans.

Short answer: yes, you should distinguish yourself.  There are several ways to do that, you can pick the one you prefer.

23 comments:

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

That's why I love my 2Ns. Oh wait there's only one of me so...stay away from my Ns, thank you very much.

Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale said...

If your name is Jim Jones, no need to say any more. Don't worry about me confusing you with that other Jim Jones.

Sarah said...

The only thing I would add is that once you're published, it helps to do an occasional internet sweep. Years ago, while adding retailer links to my website I discovered that one had used the bio of another author with my name.

Julie Weathers said...

I moved to Stillwater, OK, which isn't a huge town. Imagine my surprise when I found a teacher at the college in Stillwater was also named Julie Weathers and she wrote quite a bit about ag stuff. Yeah, thanks for the compliments, but that's not me, folks.

Julie Weathers said...

PS,

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter. We had snow, so I don't know how the egg hunt went, but at least they were easy to find.

Luanne G. Smith said...

With a name like Smith the dilemma doesn't always go away by using initials either.

morganhazelwood.com said...

Some of the reasons I use a pen name:

- my current legal name has about 88,500,000 results - vs 462,000, with me being the top 5
- I'm not sure if I'm gonna keep my ex-husband's last name forever
- my maiden name was a hyphenated headache
- I get to pay tribute to my ancestors.

Julie Weathers said...

My sister's name is Luanne. She was named after her grandparents, Lu (Luther) and Anne. We always knew we were looking at an old cow when they had the LU brand on their ribs instead of the open A X brand on the hip. The LU brand was Grandpa's old brand.

I guess that's author branding of a different sort. Mine is the cross on the hill brand, a cross quarter circle connected.

Janet Reid said...

Sarah that's a really great idea. Amazon is notorious for lumping authors of the same name together. And photos! I've seen photos that were either the wrong person or the wrong caption! They'll fix it (usually) if you ask 'em but you gotta ask.

Luanne G. Smith said...

I never met another Luanne until the internet. Turns out there are millions of 'em. Though perhaps fewer with their own branding iron.



Karen McCoy said...

Yup, an internet sweep will definitely be needed for all the "Karen McCoys" of the world. karenmccoy.com is also already taken by some Spiritual Astrologer--so I swiped karenmccoy.net instead.

I know another writer named Luanne, but she spells it LouAnn. I think you're the only Luanne I know.

morganhazelwood.com said...

Gah, now I realize my comment sounded like a spammer! (thanks for not deleting it)

Yay for doing a sweep to make sure everything "tagged" as you is actually you. What weird times we're living in.

roadkills-r-us said...

Janet, I think wearing a chicken on your shoulder is a great way to distinguish yourself (ref: Bill Cameron photo) on hiatus day 4 blog.

Morgan, I didn't think it sounded spammy. Now I'm confused. Not that this is a new thing.

Joseph Snoe said...

hmm - you've given me second thoughts. Maybe I shouldn't write under the pen name Harper Lee after all. (It's a joke; don't give me any grief)

Lennon Faris said...

For readers anyway (as opposed to agents), an iconic image might help, too.

For instance, a couple years back when I looked up "Janet Reid" on Twitter and FB to stalk I MEAN follow, there were quite a few results. But only one Janet had a pic of a shark.

In one thousandth of a second, and with zero research, I was 100% sure I had the right one.

Susan said...

About a year ago I received an email from a reporter asking me if I had any comments on a certain scandal to do with the Miss USA pageant. Seems my name isn't as unique as I once thought it was, given that they thought I was the pageant contestant. After I finished laughing my ass off (because hi and no), I politely told them they had the wrong person.

I think I'm OK as far as publishing goes, but I tend to do a google search once every six months or so. It never comes up with anything nefarious, but I did discover a school across the pond quoted a passage from one of my books in their newsletter. Sometimes there are gems in those searches.

The Sleepy One said...

Lennon, one piece of marketing advice I've heard is to use the same bio photo across all of the social media sites. It allows people to find you easily. Which is supported by your shark story! :)

Panda in Chief said...

Susan, I had no idea you were up to such shenanigans. Heh!

Just for fun, I Googled myself and came up with over 35,000 results. At least the first 8 pages all seemed to be me, except for one reference to someone's sister "Anne, Belov'd of God"

I am everywhere, primarily for fine art stuff, as well as for panda satire. Kind of hard to hide around here. At least it is not a common name, and (as far I I can find) not also the name of a stripper or porn star. The only scandal I "might" be involved with is the disappearance of a small panda after my China trip. I'm not admitting to anything.

Julie Weathers said...

Lennon

I don't use the same image everywhere. I use the picture of Bonnie McCarroll bucking off Silver in 1915 on most of my media, but I variously use a picture of Cowgirl, one of our horses we raised or a picture of horse butts depending on my mood. Lately, I've started using a picture of a Victorian-era woman I used for my business cards. No one knows who she is, unfortunately, but I love her look.


I wish I could find some information on her.

I guess I'll figure out who I am one of these days.

Colin Smith said...

I use my middle initial to differentiate myself from all the other Colin Smiths in the world. Or at least to narrow down the odds that you'll find me. :)

Actually, I think people will be more than willing to say, "Oh, no... I'm not THAT Colin Smith!" :D

BJ Muntain said...

I use my initials because I want to, not because I'm afraid of getting mixed up with someone of the same name. There is only one other person I've heard of with my first and last names, and that's a woman my uncle married a long time ago. He passed in 1992, and I don't know if his widow changed her name or not.

That said, the widow is on some watch list somewhere. I found this out when I was wiring some money to a friend. I tried to do it online, but the wiring company phoned me. Once they found my middle initial was J, they were fine. Now I always use my middle initial and/or name in everything, just to make sure there are no other problems.

Mary said...

My day job is working for a government agency. By some freak of nature, a woman with my somewhat unusual name (last, anyway) was leading a protest against that government agency. An editor I was working with, who was going to place my environmental essay in her publication, emailed me and asked if I was that person. Ha! If I had been, she would have pulled the story.

AJ Blythe said...

AJ is me, but Blythe is my pen name me. There are quite a few of the "real" me out there, so happy to avoid mistaken identity blunders. I had been going to just drop my surname, but there is a fairly prominent Anita Joy in the cyber world (not a stripper but a fairly raunchy model).