What’s your name?

I’ve been reading about author “branding” lately. No, it doesn’t involve a hot iron and burning flesh. The idea is to promote your name as a writer, to make your name a brand name. Quick! Name a horror writer. Thriller? Mystery? Literary? YA fantasy? Wouldn’t you like to be the author whose name comes to mind first? Yeah, not realistic, but you do want your name to come to mind at some point, right?

Right now, some of you are probably remembering author Maureen Johnson’s Manifesto: I Am Not A Brand. I do get her point; I’m just as human as she is. But when I’m published, I will have a product to sell, and it will bear my name as author. Therefore, it only makes sense that I want as many people as possible to recognize my name when they see my book.

I’m not an extrovert, maybe you aren’t either, but as published authors we’ll be expected to sell our books. We’re told, “Get your name out there, and do it now!”  Great … how do we do that? What’s your Twitter name and Facebook identity?  If you’re GreenLady on Twitter, and you’re known as Liz Wilder on Facebook, you’re missing out on two opportunities to brand Elizabeth Cox-Wilder— the name you write under— on the minds of potential readers.

Take a look at your blog. How easy is it for your followers to learn your real name? Or do you plan to publish anonymously? I blog through WordPress so my url was lindacassidylewis.wordpress.com, then I registered my domain name, so now if you go to just lindacassidylewis.com you also end up here. I set my blog profile to display my full name here and on every other blog where I comment. And my name links back to this blog in the hope readers on those other blogs will click through to visit here. (Good reason you should all start commenting on my blog. 😉 )

You’ll find me as Linda Cassidy Lewis on Facebook (no fan page, yet), but that was too long for a Twitter username , so I tweet as @cassidylewis, which admittedly is not perfect because a couple followers have assumed Cassidy is my first name, but hey, if they ever take the time to look at my Twitter page, they’ll see my full name. The more opportunities you take to connect your name with your writing, the easier it will be for book buyers to remember you. Of course, you’ll want to mind your manners as make yourself known, or you’ll be remembered in the wrong way.

So, yeah, I guess you all know my name by now. 😀 Too bad I’m not already published. But I hope when I am, you’ll see my book and say, “Oh, I know her. She’s nice. I think I’ll buy her book.”

Now, it’s your turn. Tell me, how do you get your name out there?

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42 thoughts on “What’s your name?

  1. Ah…well, here is my dilemma. As you well know, my name is not Agatha, but Alannah. I haven’t got my full name on my blog, nor a photo either. Why haven’t I got a Facebook page or even a Twitter one? Problems my dear, there are people out there, I never ever want to see again, and well, I do not want to be found. However, the day will come (it better) when I will get published…what on earth will I do then? Sadly, I’ve had VERY bad experiences online and so that has taught me to “hide” for the time being. However, if my boy gets famous (and I hope he does) well then, I will brave the idiots and hope they don’t show up to my book signing or I’ll throw a rockstar-type fit 🙂 (me bad)

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      1. It has crossed my mind Linda. I had the name for a while, then, I gave it to my female character as it suited her better 🙂
        Think it’s just a matter of using a different surname, so if I am googled, the real me doesn’t come up. (oh the horror…)

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    1. Everyone knows my name is not Trista, but very few know what it really is and not a soul knows my last name. Because of the nature of my husband’s work, I must write this way. Before I ever created a webpage, I contacted a top agent in NY via email, explained my situation and asked if I had legitimate reasons for publishing under a name other than my own. They returned my email with a very gracious and accepting response, which was yes.

      Where the problem lies is in keeping the secret. If anyone really wants to find out your real name, they can. Publishers must disclose the name and social security number tied to the pseudo for tax and other legal purposes. A little digging or even bribing and you can find out the real name of any pseudo.

      Which is one of the many reasons my writing hangs in limbo. I have big decisions to make before I go public with anything more than a few poems.

      Wow! I’m chatty today. Sorry, Linda.

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  2. So I scrolled up to the top of your blog and couldn’t find your name anywhere. You should put it nice and big up there somewhere!

    I get what you’re saying about branding. I think it’s a good idea in small doses. I’d rather promote my work more than ME, but I hope you get what I mean by that. I still think it’s important to get your name out there and recognizable. A lot of people know me as Lady Glamis, but I’ve slowly been using my real name more and more, especially since Cinders is almost out.

    This is a great post!

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    1. Gee, Michelle, my name being at the top of every post, in my email address under Contact in the right-hand column, and on my Who? page isn’t enough? Hmmm, maybe not. I’ll go back to my old subtitle. 🙂

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  3. This was a great post, along with interesting thoughts in the comment section! I don’t have anything terribly shocking to reveal, since you already know my name (Kayla Olson, for those who don’t). I’ve thought about switching the “owlandsparrow” that shows up when I comment to my actual name, but I’m not sure if I want to make that transition yet. There are problems on either side, I guess. If I comment under my name, my blog address might be harder to remember. On the other hand, if I comment under “owlandsparrow,” people don’t learn my name unless they click over to the blog. Hmmm.

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      1. So, get this! I’m excited. For SO LONG, http://www.kaylaolson.com has been unavailable – I even looked up the date it was supposed to expire, marked my calendar, and checked (it never became available). After this post, I decided to check one more time, and guess what? Okay, not so hard to guess, but yeah – it was FINALLY available! So, what did I do? Got my techie husband to help me figure everything out, bought it, and now I even have an email address (kayla@kaylaolson.com)!! All you see right now on the page is a picture of boobs (NOT mine, mind you)(no, not my choice)(and YES, they are covered) so I’m going to have to try to figure out what to do with it sometime in the near future.

        Thanks for this post. I can’t believe my name was actually available, and I wouldn’t have been prompted to look for it without you. 🙂

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        1. Yay, you! One more step toward being a real writer. Just kidding.

          I’m looking into moving my blog to my own website, so then I’ll have my own email address. Actually, I’m watching Cathryn’s move. I’m letting her work out the problems, so I don’t have to. 🙂

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          1. Thanks a lot, Linda. One thing I learned, among many, is that I can’t host a blog and a “blog-like” structure for my flash fiction. But I think I have a work-around.

            re-learning my rudimentary html skills.

            It’s fun, and I love, it but time consuming.

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          2. Yes, it is. I spent three hours yesterday trying to understand everything I need to do to switch my blog from here to a website. I downloaded a lot of instructions, and I almost understand them. So I may make the move before summer’s end.

            Not sure I understand your problem with the flash, but I guess I’ll see when you’re up and running.

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  4. I’m an introvert and damn proud of it, that’s why I adore the online community. Since we introverts get our energy from ourselves, the web makes fits perfectly. When we’re in a sociable mood, voila, there are all kinds of people tweeting and blogging. When we need to restore in our own internal world, click goes the mouse and we’re alone.

    Of course, that wasn’t the question, was it.

    Between my parents’ foresight in giving me an unusual spelling for my first name (although via Twitter I’ve learned – not so unusual!) and my husband giving me a simple and short last name … it’s been pretty easy to acquire cathryngrant.com and cathryngrant on Twitter.

    However, I do have branding challenges as I juggle Suburban Noir, Flash Fiction for the Cocktail Hour and my name. I’m working on getting those synchronized as we speak.

    How, Ms. Linda Cassidy Lewis, do you always manage to get me babbling??

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  5. I have actually been thinking about this a lot lately. For some reason, when I started at wordpress, I didn’t understand that I wanted my URL to reflect my username – so my url is totally random. I’m planning on directing the blog to http://www.hannahfergesen.com to make things easier and to help create that unity between my username and my site, and that “brand” you are talking about. I absolutely think its necessary these days, what with blogs galore, facebook and twitter!

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    1. Hannah, I’ve been thinking about creating a real website and moving my blog there. I’ve had another domain hosted at GoDaddy for years, so I thought I would just host lindacassidylewis.com there too, but for some reason every time I start reading about how to set up my WordPress blog at GoDaddy, my head hurts.

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  6. I was just thinking about the name I had when I first started online. I wrote under the name Sorakainomori after my alter ego. It was too long to spell. But my name, Najela, is too different and probably really recognizable. I’m afraid people (employers) google me, they’ll find something strange, but at the same time, my name is unique enough (if not easily pronounceable) to remember if you see it in print. I changed my blog title from nlcobb, to onebigadventure, even though my name is easily found. There were some things I wanted to blog about that I didn’t want certain people to find, but others to know that it was definitely me.

    I think author branding kind of pigeon holing of authors into being a commodity, it’s a little bizarre in my opinion.

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    1. Najela, that was Maureen Johnson’s take on it too, but is it really any different than actors selling themselves? Their names become synonymous with their work. Take Merryl Streep for instance. If you think she’s a great actress, as I do, then you will most likely see any movie she makes whether it’s a comedy, a musical, or a drama. You associate her name with her acting ability. If my name is associated with my writing ability, then I don’t see how I’m pigeon holing myself. Am I missing something?

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  7. Linda, I guess you and I are close to alone in branding with our real names. When I decided to start a blog, I wanted to create my brand so every thing I do (Twitter, Facebook, WordPress) has my real name. The outcome is that if you Google me, I’m there at the top. It helps that there aren’t many Pamela Villars, but I’m the one that is by far predominant.

    It means I have to watch what I say, but I’m fine with that. It keeps me present and honest.

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    1. Pamela, I didn’t even know about branding when I started blogging or Tweeting, but since I planned to use both those accounts to further my identity as a writer, it just seemed logical to use the name I planned to use as a writer.

      I love to Google my name I get almost 8,000 hits, I think they’re all me, but unfortunately at least half of them concern my genealogy research not my writing. Still, I don’t have to be ashamed of any of them … well, except the one where I thoughtlessly insulted someone in the publishing business. 😳

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  8. I use J.C. Hart everywhere, though anyone can find that J.C stands for ‘Just Cassie’. I thought Cassie Hart sounded like a romance writer (which I’m not), and C.A Hart (my actual initials) makes me think ‘see a heart’. My choice works for me – I still get to be myself, but there is that slight difference between my writing self and my regular self, plus the initials give me a little ambiguity, which is never a bad thing when writing speculative fiction I think.

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    1. Cassie, I think you made a wise choice.

      I don’t like my first name, so I debated using my initials, which would be L.C. Lewis, but that sounded like Elsie, a name no better than Linda. Then I thought about my actual initials, L. K. and that sounded close enough to Elke, so for a few minutes I thought about going Scandinavian. 😀

      I had a pseudonym picked out for when I wrote horror, but then I came to my senses.

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  9. I was nervous about using my real name when i began blogging and setting up a webpage – who knows why?? Funny, but my very first post and my very first comment was from someone who googled me because they were unhappy about an article I wrote and he wanted to tell me off!

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  10. I have my name listed in my profile. Anyone who types it in can find my blog. I use the same name for Facebook and Twitter (which honestly I seldom use or have time for – I imagine that will change before long).

    I’m fortunate in the sense my name is unusual and readily recognizable. We’ll have to see if that remains true with a book deal. (Hugs)Indigo

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  11. When I started blogging I wanted to be anonymous because quite frankly I was scared of this whole online thing. I’m glad I did as I feel I can be more honest than I was if people could easily google me and find me.
    For some reason I’ve always had this dream of using different pen names for different genres (and I’ve kind of got them decided). But then I read something like this and think I’m doing the wrong thing and should just get my name out there (or one of my names anyway 🙂 ) because I know you’re right. Agghhh, what to do?

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  12. My name’s Chris Kelly, and I don’t have any fear over who knows it. I’m not branding my name though.

    I am not submitting work to NY publishers, I’ll publish my own through Smashwords and sell my e-books on Amazon and all the rest. This gives me a freedom in that I can be completely honest. I don’t have to worry about insulting an agent or editor, I can say what I please.

    The reason I’m not branding my name is because my writing is diverse. I write horror, fantasy, science fiction, steampunk, erotica, romance, mysteries, and children’s stories. Also I’m a film student (practical, not theory) and want to brand my name to my future films.

    Anyway, nice blog, good luck with the branding.

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    1. Welcome, Chris, and thank you for leaving a comment.

      So you’re going to use a different pen name for each genre you write in? If so, then eventually you’ll brand each of those names. If not, then eventually you will brand your real name as a writer, just a diverse one.

      I just paused to go to the blog your name is linked to and found that you talk about branding your name in yesterday’s post! So, now I’m confused on your stand. Please, explain how we differ.

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  13. Okay, I never thought of being anyone but myself when I started writing. I have to often add the “a” because Laura Best is a very common name. There’s another Laura Best out there with books about scrapbooking, but it sure as heck isn’t me.

    I think I mentioned on my blog that I really like your name. 🙂 I think it’s memorable and has a ring to it.
    And I’ll be more than happy to own a copy of your book when it comes out. 🙂

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    1. All right, let’s switch. You be Linda and I’ll be Laura. Perfect! 🙂

      Now that you mention it, I believe one of the reasons I decided to include my birth surname is because there’s a romance author named Linda Lewis.

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  14. I brand two names.
    Artswebshow, for my creative video production.
    And richard north for more personal things.
    Both have very different identities
    But both names are very closely connected once you get there.
    ‘Richard North director of the Arts web show.’
    It is difficult i agree.
    Branding is probably one of the most important things to do in order to get known

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  15. I guess the name I brand is Chibi Doucet, as that will be the name I publish under someday (most likely). It’s the name I use on Twitter and for blogging, and very briefly I had a Facebook page but I ended up deleting it. If NaNo ever introduces the feature to change your name, I’d like to switch there as well.

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  16. Hi, Linda. I agree with what you say about the necessity of branding, but I disagree it has to be your name that is branded. Certainly Stephen King, Dan Brown and John Grisham are big examples of branded author names.

    However, I’d say Harry Potter was a bigger brand than JK Rowling. I’d say the Wheel of Time was a bigger brand than Robert Jordan. I’d say Twilight was a bigger brand than Stephenie Myer.

    Whilst I agree with your idea of the necessity of branding, I won’t be branding my name, but rather the name of my publishing company, Scathach. My logo (I have an artist working on one right now) will take a more prominent place on my covers than my name.

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    1. Thank you for explaining your view, Chris.

      Though I agree the whole world knows of Harry Potter and Twilight, I believe their authors names are well known too. However, even for a bucketful of money, I couldn’t tell you who published either series.

      Nevertheless, I wish you well with your publications.

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