Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous numbers of other people who have the same name and who might or might not be writers, Or to take arms and declare thyself with a DBA Fake Name... Oh, sorry. I was channeling Shakespeare for a moment.
Shakespeare didn’t need a pseudonym. His name wasn’t Smith or Jones….or Johnson.
I thought about adopting a pseudonym when I first began this publishing journey. The reasons to do it–privacy, and the chance to sound really cool–didn’t seem to outweigh the hassles. I have enough characters yammering at me in my head without having to decide which one of me they’re yammering at. Plus, I’ve met folks online and only found out a year later the name I’d been calling them wasn’t even their real name. If I email you and don’t call you by name–it’s because I have no idea what to call you. It’s kind of annoying.
BUT (you knew there was going to be a BUT), then I began working on a website. And turns out I can’t have the nice and simple www.suzannejohnson.com as my website unless I’m willing to pay mightily for it. A “domain name broker” owns it and wants me to pay $1,300 in order to get it. Can you hear me laughing from Alabama, you jackasses?
Like other authors, I have Google Alerts send alerts on my name to me via email. About three-quarters of them are actually about me, which I figure is pretty good. But another Suzanne Johnson is a sculptor in Michigan. Another is by-god vice chairman of Goldman Sachs, and I wish I had her money. Another owns a catering business in Temecula Valley. And still another wears little Harry Potter glasses and teaches psychology at a small college in New York state. It was too depressing to look further. And this morning, I got an email off my website from another Suzanne Johnson who was–you guessed it–looking to see what others with HER name were up to. She said she might buy my books. She should.
In the 2000 U.S. Census, the surname Johnson held onto its #2 most-common-name spot. Of the 1,857,160 Americans named Johnson, reckon how many are named Suzanne? And I should note that “Johnson” is only beat out by the name “Smith.” My mother’s maiden name was Smith. Doing genealogy in my family is a bitch.
Anyway, I’ve trodden too far down the publishing path to change now, so I’ll live with what I have. In the meantime, I’m at http://www.suzanne-johnson.com. Bah.
Any of you taken a pseudonym and regret it? Or not taken one and wish you had?