Friday, July 15, 2011

Please Advise!

So, guys, there's something weighing on my mind. I'm not sure if it's a problem or not, or if it could be potential problem in the future, but it's stressing me out a little (easy to do with the OCD, I'm afraid) and I wanted to ask your opinions.

(Note, since nothing on the internet is private, and lots of people have google alerts on their names and stuff, if you guys think this post is somehow in poor taste, since it is going to obviously involve names and there's no way of getting around that, I will take it down after I get some advice. I'll try to be classy.)

So basically, I write under the name Kate Ellison. I'm a pretty brand-new author, and my book has only been out about 6 weeks now. But a few weeks ago, another book popped up in the Amazon search list by Kate Ellison. Curious, I clicked on it and saw that there's a book available for preorder by someone with the same name as me.

Obviously this sort of thing happens, two people with the same name, and it stands to reason that there could be two writers with the same name. That's all fine and dandy. And technically my book is out first, but whatever. I did an author search to make sure there weren't any Kate Ellisons before I used the name, and maybe she did too, or maybe she didn't think about it (and didn't know I was going to use it) ... either way, I now feel like I'm in some kind of game of chicken. Who's going to flinch?

So what I'm asking is this. Do you think this could cause problems down the road, for either her or me? I don't want to screw someone else over, and I don't want to cause some kind of author feud. I also don't want to confuse readers. If one of us starts selling well and getting known, won't that be extremely inconvenient for the other? (Or profitable, but still annoying, to have to constantly clarify that you're "the other Kate Ellison?")

I can think of several solutions:

1) Change my name by adding a middle initial, or a middle name.

2) Hope she changes hers before her book comes out.

3) Leave it be and see who becomes more successful (and therefore more recognized for the name?)

Does anybody have thoughts or advice? I am really uncertain about what the right move is, and I would like to address it soon. I have two books that I hope to have out in late summer/early fall of this year ... by the time her book comes out, I'll probably have 4-5 books out. I would like to figure this all out before then.

I also do not want to confuse readers, especially if our books end up being very different in style and tone. That could really annoy people who buy something thinking it's by one of us and accidentally getting the other's work.

What should I do?


  1. Hmmm...well, the problem is that you're right about the commonness of names thing. Even if you did change it, there's a strong chance that you'll find someone else with the changed name. I've done a search on my name and found another author who writes under Emily White. I didn't change my name (though I have had to put my middle initial in my blog address and twitter account) because that's why we post bios and pictures of ourselves.

    And maybe it will become a sort of contest to see who gets known more, but I really don't think so. I've personally never googled an author's name without first reading one of his/her books. So I already know what he/she writes and probably even what he/she looks like.

    Considering this author hasn't already made a big name for herself, I wouldn't worry about it too much. If it was a famous name, I'd possibly suggest you think about changing it. And trust me, I'm telling you this from experience because it's something I've had to consider before. Back before I was married, I shared a name with a pretty famous poet and I doubted I'd ever outshine her (and I didn't want people to think I was using a pen name to garner some extra success).

    By the way, woohoo on all those books you have coming out! You'll have to let me know the release dates so I can mention them on my blog. :)

  2. Thanks for the response, Emily. Good thoughts.

    (And my maiden name was Kate/Katie Hudson, so ... I knew I could never write under that, haha).

  3. My first thought is why not go as "Katie Ellison"? It's just a quick one-letter insertion from your existing publications and since you blog as Katie anyway it would tie your blog handle to your author name.

    If you don't really want to change though, I think you can assume that your readers will likely figure it out. Are you both writing the same genre?

    I would keep a disambiguation note in your About the Author section in your printed work and on bookselling sites ("Kate Ellison is the author of The Curse Girl...") and I think most readers will be smart enough to get that there are two writers with the same name, especially if you are both fairly new. Now if your pen name was "Steven King", I may have some alternate advice. ;)

  4. Lisa: I think we are both in the same genre, but I'm not sure. Her book sounds YA (or perhaps MG) ... but it's impossible to tell for sure.

    There's a Katie Walsh Ellison already, but since she has that middle name that helps clarify ...

    I am leaning towards perhaps adding a middle name down the road.

  5. Is there any way to contact her? She might be happy to add an initial or something if her book isn't out yet.

    If you do both keep the same name, assuming you write the same genre, then you never know you might both acquire each other's fans.

  6. Sarah: True, true. I keep thinking what a great story it would be if we really hit it off or something. I might try to contact her.

  7. hee hee hee. what a conundrum!!!
    since you've already released the curse girl under kate ellison, i would suggest just adding the middle initial in future works. and i think it would be hilarious if the middle initial you used was E. also, i liked the idea of pubbing under katie too, because that's what you go by...
    anyway, i really wouldn't worry about it too much if i were you!

  8. Vic: Thanks ... I may eventually add the middle initial or name for clarification. I have seen some authors do that.


Have something to say? Leave a comment!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...