This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
By Anna Bell
How important is it to have a unique name as an author? When I’m talking unique, I’m not talking crazy, out there names, I mean one-off author names. I recently found out that there is another author writing under the same name as me and I’m wondering if it’s going to breed confusion. Should author names be like actor names whereby they become unique?
I was recently contacted by a review site to tell me they were reviewing one of my books. Great, I thought, until I looked at the title and realised it wasn’t one of my books. I know that I’m pretty sleep deprived at the moment, but I reckon even I would remember if I’d written and published a new book. The book in question is in the same chick lit genre that I write in, and I worry that other people will think it is one of my books.The confusion could work negatively for both of us. If a reader loves their book, then reads mine and is disappointed, I could end up with a bad review. That reader might not read another of their books, too. Conversely, this could be the same for me – one of my readers assumes it’s one of my books and doesn’t read another of mine if they don’t like it.
When I first started using my ‘Anna Bell’ pseudonym, I did a quick name check to make sure that there wasn’t another Anna Bell in operation – for the very same reasons I’ve mentioned above! When Don’t Tell the Groom was added to Waterstones, there was a law book co-authored by an Anna Bell that was linked under the ‘also by the author tab’. With that, I didn’t fear that my readers would think it was a book my me and rush out to buy it. I have since found an author on Kobo with the same name, who writes quite hardcore erotica. Again, I haven’t worried too much about that as I’m not sure we have the same readership.
So how important is a name? Well, for an author it’s a brand name. It’s a reputation and an assumption about your books that creates loyalty (hopefully) from readers. When you build your author platform, you’re building it on your name. I’ve also worked hard to build relationships with bloggers and reviewers, and the thought of another author with the same name, writing in the same genre, might serve to be confusing for them as they might think the other writer is me.
For actors, in both the US and the UK, there are rules in place to prevent this sort of thing from happening. To sign with the representing bodies, for example, you can’t have the same name as a registered user. This leads to people putting initials in their names, changing their first names and surnames. I personally think that’s a great idea, which saves the confusion of getting actors mixed up. I can’t help but wonder if that might be of benefit for authors, too.
There’s not a lot I can do about the author with the same name, except keep my fingers crossed that they become mega successful and people buy my books expecting it to be one of theirs (ahem). In the meantime, I’ll have to make sure my Amazon pages and my website are up to date to keep the confusion to a minimum.
Have you had to change your name as it’s similar to a famous author? Is there another author with the same name as yours? Can you think of any famous authors with the same name? How did you go about choosing your pseudonym?