When You Share a Name with Another Person

This was a great question that came our way:

Although I have been cultivating my online presence as a writer, I have found that someone who shares my name already has a significant online presence. This person does not live a Christian lifestyle: in fact, I would be terribly embarrassed and my professional integrity could be harmed if anyone mistook me for this individual. Perhaps other authors may face the same dilemma.

Are there any suggestions for a new author who has to overcome the presence of another online? Would it be necessary to write under a pseudonym?

That is a tough one.

Our own Karen Ball had someone by the same name who was a practicing psychic. So when she created her web site she used karenballbooks.com since karenball.com was taken at the time. (Recently Karen dropped that site and moved to her wonderful new site for writers called WriteFromTheDeep.com.)

But if the other person is well known, or their site is terribly “flagrant” (If you know what I mean) you could decide to use a pen name. But if you’ve already gone far down the path under your real name, then it’s too late.

If you only just started blogging or only have abandoned your online presence, website-wise, then you have an opportunity to reboot.

One caution about pen names and Facebook. They can be miserable with “fake IDs.” If they find out they will shut down your site in a heartbeat (read this article for an author’s horror story with Facebook). I would google something like “authors pen names Facebook” and read about how to handle that (Here is one article about “Pen Names and Social Media.”. They have good reasons because of predators who use Facebook for evil. But that security splashes over onto those who are trying to use a professional pen name.

I have a half dozen clients who write under their maiden name. One was because her married name is unspellable…. Another was for protection. Another because she published before she got married. They started their careers and social media presence under that name and have had no trouble since. One who got married set up a separate site for her family’s use under her real name…without trouble.

Ultimately it is your decision. But once you make it, stick with it.

And one little reminder to everyone? If you have a domain name make sure that the email associated with your registration is up to date. We had a client whose domain name was his real name (like stevelaube.com), but the registration expired. He had changed his email address a couple years earlier but did not update his domain registration. The registrar sent him a notice saying it was time to renew his site, but he never got it. The day his domain name became available a “Date Older Women” site took it and redirected all the traffic intended for his author website to something very unseemly. It took two years for him to get the domain name back again.

Don’t let that happen to you!

Leave a Comment

Tell Us All the Gossip!

Sometimes writers hear wild, wild gossip about the industry. Sometimes that gossip is true. Sometimes it is not. Sometimes it is halfway true. As your agent, I want to hear it! You might say, “Wait a minute! Aren’t you a Christian agent? Doesn’t the Bible say not to gossip?” Yes. …

Read More

Lessons from Halloween

(First, one ground rule: This blog isn’t about, nor is it the forum for, either the debate on the origins of Halloween and whether or not Christians should celebrate it, or for the magic vs. no magic issue. Okay, on with the blog…) I used to love Halloween. Loved helping …

Read More

Meet Your Reader

Every year a report or article appears in the media that show how the youth of our world don’t know very much. They are not speaking of ignorance as in stupidity, but in “not knowing” things simply because they have no first hand experience. Beloit College in Wisconsin has a running …

Read More

Does Anybody Read Books Anymore?

This past Thursday the Barna Group released the results of their survey called “The State of Books and Reading in a Digital World.” Feel free to click through to read the report yourself. Meanwhile there are a few observations of my own. Confirms What We Already Know About Gender For …

Read More

Where is the Romance?

When I talk with authors about their stories, sometimes they’ll say. “Yes, there’s romance. But it doesn’t happen until chapter five.” That’s when I look at the story and try to give advice on how they can change that. Granted, not every novel is a genre romance, nor should it …

Read More

Harvest Haiku

I just realized that we haven’t had a writing blog for some time, so what better time to correct that situation than autumn, when the air is pregnant with possibilities and the fragrance of change. I admit it, autumn is my absolute favorite time of year. I love the colors, …

Read More

Can I Have Your Attention Please?

In the last decade or so, there is a growing problem of fans being injured by foul balls and bats flying into the stands at baseball games. Discussion of fan-protection is becoming more important. Why are spectator injuries becoming more prevalent? Photos at the moment of impact of a foul …

Read More