A lot of people have been talking about author brands. (Stina did a good post that explains it pretty well.) I’m no expert on the subject. In fact, I screwed up from the get-go by using Solvang Sherrie for my blogspot address instead of Sherrie Petersen. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been called Solvang as a result. (Note: it’s the town I live in, not my name!)
|Actress Sherrie Peterson|
But say you go to brand yourself, only to find out that someone beat you there, stole your name before you had a chance to lay claim. Google Sherrie Peterson and you’ll find an actress. Not me. But that’s who comes up when you spell my name wrong. (I’m “en” instead of “on.”)
Author Matthew J. Kirby added his middle initial when he found writers (and a whole lot of other people!) with the same name.
Another Matthew I know had a similar problem. Only the person who shares his name turns out to be a porn star. X-rated images are NOT what you want your fans to come across, especially when you’re writing for the under 18 crowd! You may recognize him from his blog, The Quintessentially Questionable Query Experiment. What you may not know is why he recently changed his name from Matthew Rush to Matthew MacNish.
How did you discover that you shared the same name as a porn star?
I don’t remember. It was years ago, and I can only assume I just Googled my name, and he came up (pun intended).
Ha! Yeah, I guess that particular job lends itself to all sorts of punny possibilities. Why’d you decide to change your last name instead of just adding an initial or using your middle name?
Well the pen name MacNish actually is my middle name. Sort of. My middle name is Minneice, which is an anglicized version of my grandmother’s maiden name, which was MacNish, from her clan in Scotland.
Very cool. I love the history of names like this. You know I have some Scottish ancestors, too, on the Stevens side of my family.
Scottish is awesome.
I agree! So tell me, what kind of books do you write? Anything with crossover appeal for the other Matthew Rush’s audience? 🙂
Hmm. Interesting question. I’ve only written one novel, and I call it YA Rural Fantasy, but that’s sort of a joke. There are no erotic scenes so I’m not sure how excited fans of the famous Matthew Rush would get.
Rural Fantasy? That’s a subgenre I haven’t come across yet!
Do you miss using your real name on the internet?
Not really. It’s fun to have a pen name.
Has it caused any confusion for people who already knew you as Matthew Rush?
Just a few, but I didn’t know them well, and they figured it out soon enough.
Well, Matthew, here’s hoping one day you’re just as famous as the other guy who shares your name. Though, you know, not for the same reason… (Sorry, you it probably makes you crazy, but it kinda still cracks me up!)
Don’t feel bad about laughing about it for one second … it’s HILARIOUS. I still laugh about it a lot myself.
Thanks for sharing the reasons behind your name change. You’ve obviously maintained your sense of humor about it 😛
So tell me — have you ever Googled your name and been surprised by the results? What brand are you representing on the internet?