1. bekajoi
    Offline

    bekajoi Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2011
    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States

    How do you choose what name to write/publish under?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by bekajoi, Apr 13, 2011.

    I just did a search and my actual name, no middle initial, is in use. I don't want to be confused with someone else...

    I go by a shortened version of my legal name, but prefer my legal name for things like this... though I never use an initial.

    My options:
    • Long first name, middle initial, last name
    • Long first name initial, middle initial, last name
    • Long first name initial, middle initial, maiden name initial, last name
    • Long first name, Maiden name, Last name
    • Shortened name I usually use, last name
    • Shortened name initial, middle initial, last name
    • Middle Initial, Long first name initial, last name
    • Middle initial, short first name initial, last name
    • Long first name, last name (screw the duplicate!)
    • Long first name, psuedonym last name

    I could be more specific, I guess and give actual examples... but how would you go about choosing? My initials are very gender neutral, so I could be anyone... Inverting them still sounds reasonably good.

    I have a pretty damn common last name now that I'm married, so using my unusual (in this area anyway) maiden name would definitely set me apart...

    Thoughts? How did/do you choose what to write under?
     
  2. Taylee91
    Offline

    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    Messages:
    1,262
    Likes Received:
    73
    Location:
    The Bay State
    ^Well, I just googled my name and of course had a gazillion links pop up on the screen. Until I get married, I probably won't use my first and second name when I publish my books. I think I'll just go with either all three initials of my first name, middle name, and last name. Or maybe try to do a combination like C.S.Lewis.

    You could always go under a pen name you know. That'd be fun plus you could find a first, second, or third name that'd be unique :D
     
  3. Shadow Reeves
    Offline

    Shadow Reeves Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2008
    Messages:
    279
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    On a plane filled with Motherf**king Snakes.
    publish under a pseudonym. like Lemony Snicket

    i plan to
     
  4. Elgaisma
    Offline

    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,337
    Likes Received:
    92
    Anya Kimlin came from an ancestor Anastasia Kimlin - I thought the full name was a bit unwieldy so shortened it.

    Charlotte Pimpernel was suggested by someone on here and seemed fun, when I needed to split my work under two names (children's books, general work vs slightly more crude stuff) I chose it.

    I you want to use a version of your name just play about with it and write it down several times see which you like the appearance of.
     
  5. Finhorn
    Offline

    Finhorn Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    Messages:
    157
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Mesa, AZ
    I vote you let a publisher decide if there's going to be confusion. It's their job to make the money. If you're planning on self publishing, I'd go initials for your first and middle on the cover then the full name you want on the inside title page.
     
  6. Yoshiko
    Offline

    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2009
    Messages:
    758
    Likes Received:
    27
    Which variation do you like best? Which sounds best? Is it easy to spell and pronounce? What comes up when you search them?

    I use my nickname and a different surname. My first name's often misspelt and you can pinpoint my family's roots directly from my surname (it's native to the region my Dad comes from) and Googling it with my forename instantly brings up my grandfather's obituary and all of my immediate relative's names. They wouldn't like their full names and locations being found so easily by total strangers so I use a different surname.
     
  7. Elgaisma
    Offline

    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,337
    Likes Received:
    92
    I have similar issues to Yosiko my married surname is too popular - my maiden surname could easily be tracked back to my Dad, he may not want that given some of the subjects my writing handle. Plus my maiden surname has certain literary connotations all of its own I would rather distance myself. I may use it if I ever decide to write horror though. (and no it isn't Adams, Frankenstein, Hyde or Jekyll lol)
     
  8. VM80
    Offline

    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2010
    Messages:
    1,211
    Likes Received:
    43
    Location:
    UK
    Go for what feels right or best to you.

    I would go by the first name you are most known at, but then it depends if that is what you actually want.

    My last name is unusual and I'm sticking with it. I wouldn't discard it if I ever get married, and similarly I wouldn't adopt a pen name should I publish anything.
     
  9. Ophiucha
    Offline

    Ophiucha Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2010
    Messages:
    74
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Surrey, BC
    My last name right now is Hollingshead, and my fiance's is Smith. Though I may take his name legally, I will continue to write under Hollingshead, because honestly, I think there are only three moderately famous people with that surname (the guy who invented the drive-in movie theater, a British journalist, and the voice actress for Nurse Joy on Pokémon). I also have a very long name. Alexandra Victoria Hollingshead, and I do go by Alexandra Victoria in most circles. I'm not sure what I will publish under. Probably Alexandra Hollingshead, or a false first name Hollingshead. Avalon or Ava would be my choice for the latter. If I wanted to have a gender neutral name, I'd write under Charlie Meadows (due to a long-running gag among my friends that any author I love has to have the initials C.M.).

    For your particular case, it's hard to say without knowing your name. I would pick something based mostly on aesthetics, your genre (fantasy is generally a good place for initials), and perhaps the genre of this other author with your name (and, also, if they have any acclaim at all - I mean, if they don't, who cares?).
     
  10. bekajoi
    Offline

    bekajoi Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2011
    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States
    I suppose I could use the different versions for different reasons...

    I did go and look in depth at the TYPE of writing done by the other people with my name, and none of them overlap except this one girl who apparently wrote an admittedly terrible story at 15 and decided to toss it up on the Kindle store. I don't think people will mistake the two of us.

    My legal name is Rebecca, but everyone calls me Becca or Bec. I like knowing if the person who is calling me actually is a friend or is someone calling for a company, so I use Rebecca on all paperwork. I am NOT, nor will I ever be a Becky. Ever ever ever.

    Surname now is Harris. Rebecca Harris has a reasonably distinguished sound to it. Middle initial is J. So I could go with:

    Rebecca Harris
    Rebecca J Harris
    RJ Harris (Definitely sounds more male)
    RJW Harris (Add my maiden name initial in there)
    Rebecca Whaley Harris (add full maiden name in, with or without Hyphen, though I do not use maiden at all these days)
    RJ Whaley Harris (another alternative with less common last name tossed in)
    Becca Harris just sounds too.... informal. It's what I go by, how I sign my letters, what I use on address labels for writing out letters to friends and family.

    So I have several options, they are all relatively workable, etc. I could use Rebecca Harris for my general fiction type stuff, RJ Harris for fantasy genre so I won't be thought immediately to be a chick-lit vampire book writer type (because I'm not)... And maybe use Rebecca J Harris if I'm writing children's stuff, so they won't see my for-adults work and assume it's kid friendly too.

    But yeah, the other Rebecca Harris' I've looked into through Amazon and Google are either writing non-fiction, are only writing articles for the web, are dabbling in genres I don't write (romance), or will never write again. I don't think I have too much to worry about, if I want to just go without the initials and run with my plain old regular legal name.
     
  11. Elgaisma
    Offline

    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,337
    Likes Received:
    92
    Bek Harris is kind of interesting what happens if you change the spelling of Rebecca or is that too far from where you want to be ?
     
  12. bekajoi
    Offline

    bekajoi Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2011
    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States
    Well, Bec/Bek/Beck is something I considered too, just didn't toss on the list.

    Rebekah is the other way to spell my name, but it is the Hebrew spelling and I am not in any way Jewish, so I wouldn't want that confused for whatever reason.

    My grandmother always adds an extra b for some reason, LOL... but I can't really think of other ways to respell Rebecca beyond the Hebrew spelling. And I don't like Bekah either.
     
  13. Elgaisma
    Offline

    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,337
    Likes Received:
    92
    The Hebrew was the thought I had only other shortenings I can think of are Reba or Reva again tend to be more Jewish although a lot of little Rebekahs my daughters age are spelt that was rather than Rebecca.

    LOL I guess beyond that it is the one that feels more you - for me my pen names are a bit like characters, I kind of imagine how they might look.
     
  14. popsicledeath
    Offline

    popsicledeath Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2010
    Messages:
    1,037
    Likes Received:
    71
    I was going to go with my alias of Brahm Bones, but whodda thunk somebody else stole it as a character name in their own work!

    So, I'm just going with my name, because it is my name, shrug. It's a rare enough first/last name combo, though oddly enough 3 of the 8 people nation wide that seem to have the name (according to some random internet search that tells you that, which is interesting) are in my town. And each time I've met one, they've rarely met anyone else with the same first name, much less first and last. Has been weird, but it's still my name, so I guess I'll go with that.
     
  15. bekajoi
    Offline

    bekajoi Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2011
    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States
    My daughter's friend is spelled Rebekah, so it could be that people are migrating back to that spelling over the more english-sounding one...

    Oddly enough, I like my bekajoi name, but not Rebekah much. Rebeka, I suppose, is an improvement, but it has the look of a foreign name that way, to me.

    Headache. I've been thinking far too much the last couple days.
     
  16. Elgaisma
    Offline

    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,337
    Likes Received:
    92
    I did think of suggesting Bekajoi - a lot of writers with pen names seem to use their Grandmothers or Aunts names - or combine both Grandmothers.

    Hmm Marion Wilson and Dorothy Vera Herbert would be mine. My maiden name is Usher so did consider Margery Usher if I ever wrote horror lol

    I made lists of my ancestors that sounded like good author names. Then mixed them around a bit.
     
  17. funkybassmannick
    Offline

    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2011
    Messages:
    836
    Likes Received:
    30
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    You're going to publish under the name Lemony Snicket? Cool, I will, too!
     
  18. DeNile
    Offline

    DeNile Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2011
    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    6
    You could always try forgoing your last name completely, using another name, like your middle name. What are the odds it's common enough? I'm going to do that, mostly because my last name is Skinner. Really, it sucks, there are hundreds of Lacey Skinners! But I have yet to meet a Lacey Fay. So I'm going to use one half of my middle name and my first name as my published name.
     
  19. spklvr
    Offline

    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2010
    Messages:
    734
    Likes Received:
    36
    Location:
    Sarpsborg, Norway
    I have a vast cast of characters that I reuse over and over again in my stories, and they all live in my head, in a corner of my brain called Juliewood!

    Which is why I will publish under the name Julie Wood. Also, my surname is impossible to pronounce for anyone outside of Scandinavia.
     

Share This Page