I have a common(ish) name, with at least one other writer out there with my exact name, although he writes in a different genre than I'm interested in, and another with a similar name that DOES write in my field of interest.

But I like my name.

Would it make more sense to pick a different name so I don't get confused with the other authors, or go ahead an use it and enjoy the accidental popularity that might come from people's confusion?

1 Answer 1


That would be an excellent question for an agent or publisher. If you're remotely ambivalent, use their suggestion. You can also use a middle initial.

I use pseudonyms for personal and professional reasons, but my long-term experience for fiction is about 3:1 in favor of authors using their actual name and more like 10:1 for nonfiction. If you have journal articles or other academic works, you should continue to use your actual name because reputation is such a key. With fiction, class shows, regardless of reputation. Even John Grisham has a few books well below the radar screen only to come back with a bestseller. Of course, one must get on the radar screen ...

  • 2
    I'll just add, if you use a pseudonym, it is essential for that personna to have their own email, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
    – Stu W
    Dec 19, 2015 at 1:14
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    I think this is a great answer - I guess the only situation this doesn't answer is if I decide on being independent. Then there's no agent or publisher to give me good advice and in that case I've got to decide as best as I can.
    – DoWhileNot
    Dec 19, 2015 at 5:08

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