The Single Best Way for Writers to Become a Brand

Writers! Want to know the single best way to become a household name??? Brand the right name! Yep. That easy.

This might sound silly, but I think writers love handles and monikers more than any other group. Building a platform/fan base is hard work. As we discussed last week, we can make it easier by recruiting key people to “help with construction.” But there is one key mistake that can totally undermine all your hard work building a social media platform. Branding the wrong name. 

There is only one acceptable handle for a writer who seeks to use social media to build a platform, and that is the name that will be printed on the front of your books. Period.

I can already hear the screams of protest, but I am going to save you a ton of hard work and needless duplicated effort.

Part of the reason I decided to teach social media to writers is that I actually have a highly unique background for a writer. Before I was an editor/writer, I worked in corporate sales. Most writers, especially fiction writers, cringe at the word sales. I don’t blame you. But too many writers forget that the purpose behind all of this twittering and FB and MySpace time is for one main purpose—driving sales.

Being published is not the real end goal. Being published is only the means to your real end goal—SELLING BOOKS.

Kristen! Must you be so crass?

Yep.

Plain truth is this. Great, you get published. But, if you don’t sell enough books, you cannot quit your day job. If you fail to sell out your print run, you hurt your chances of another book contract. In order to do what you love–WRITE–you must learn to do what you hate–SELL. It doesn’t have to be as hard as a lot of people make it. Brand your name, then your name can do the selling while you do the writing.

In order to maximize sales, your goal is to become a brand. Brand=Big Sales

If I want a good thriller, I pick up a James Rollins. If I want a good YA book, I pick up Stephanie Meyer. A good legal suspense, read John Grisham. Amy Tan will have to change her name if she decides to suddenly start writing novels about the Italian Mob. These authors are the designer brands of writing.

People dig brands. Why?

Most of us don’t have time to research each and every purchasing decision and thus, we as consumers, are prone to rely heavily on brands. Brands let us know what to expect. When we buy Dolce & Gabbana shoes, we expect a certain quality. We go off the name and do far less inspecting and road-testing than we would for a designer/manufacturer we’d never heard of. We are willing to order ahead of time and pay full price and even ridiculous prices for Coach, Ralph Lauren, Prada, Versace, Harley Davidson, Porsche, BMW, Mac Computers, John Deer, etc. So on and so forth.

As a writer, your goal is the same. Your big goal should be to link your name interminably with your content for the purposes of selling books.

Produce enough good content and eventually readers won’t need to read every review about your latest book before they buy. They will trust you for good product and will pre-order your books because they have confidence you provide content that is entertaining, interesting, or informative. They will default to buying books brandishing your NAME because they trust your books are a wise purchase. No more hand-selling–whoo-hoo!

This is where YOUR NAME becomes vital in social media. Your NAME is first and THEN linked with your content, NOT the other way around. We heard Xerox enough times that not only did it become synonymous with copy machines, but ALL copy machines eventually became Xerox machines. Xerox was said enough times in conjunction with the act of copying that it became its own VERB.

This is what we in sales call “top of mind.” A name that is top of mind will be the first we (consumers) will default to when we need a product—name recognition.

I have made all the mistakes, so I can speak from experience. I spent two years under the moniker writerchik. After two years, I had good news and bad news. Good news was that I was smart. I started building a social media platform for my work before I was published. Good news was that thousands of people knew I was a writer and that one day I would be releasing a book. I could actually pitch to an agent that I had a vast platform already in place for when my book hit shelves.

Or could I?

Bad, bad, super bad news was that these thousands of followers knew WRITERCHIK was a writer. My fans/following couldn’t go to Barnes and Noble and buy a book by writerchik. They couldn’t go to Amazon and order the latest and greatest by writerchik. I had spent a lot of hard work and posted a ton of great content….to build the wrong brand.

DOH!

We must realize that we serve the reader not the other way around. Successful writers think like successful companies with good customer service and make the purchasing decision as easy as possible for the reader.

We must appreciate that people are tired, overworked and a lot of times lazy. If they are in a book store, they will default to what they know. We cannot expect that rather than pick up a branded author that our potential reader will instead:

  1.  Go to their PDA or borrow the computer at Barnes & Noble
  2. Where they will then log into Twitter
  3. And scroll to one of our tweets
  4. And click on our profile
  5. To get OUR NAME
  6. In order to buy our book.

Maybe they will, but likely they won’t. We MADE IT TOO HARD!!!

Additionally…

When you use anything other than the name that will be printed across your book, you give up your most valuable marketing real estate…the top of mind. Every time you “tweet” or send out a status update, you want those following you to see your name. It is like your very own commercial playing over and over and over, scrolling down the news feed.

There are far too many writers using cutesy handles (I was guilty). I have a ton of writers in my following who, if they released a book tomorrow, I would love to buy it, but I cannot find books written by VampireChick or BookLover_88. I have people I love chatting with on Twitter and FB and MySpace…but I haven’t the foggiest idea what their name is.

Your handle/username is not the time to be clever and creative. Save that for books and blogs and content. We followers will catch on pretty quickly what you write.

If Maura Devlin (made up name) regularly posts blogs on fantasy and links to other fantasy events and talks about her latest fantasy novel that will soon be released, guess what? When I run by a bookstore, I will default to what I know…and now I KNOW Maura because I have basically had scrolling commercials from her every day I am on Twitter.

I also feel like I am Maura’s virtual friend, and I like to support my friends first. So if I am going to try something new in fantasy beyond staples like J.R.R. Tolkien, Piers Anthony, or Anne McCaffrey, I am going to try Maura Devlin because she has focused all her social media energy to making her name synonymous with good fantasy entertainment.

Let’s use Maura as an example.

Scenario 1, Maura is Dragon_Girl
On Twitter, I see a lot of:

@Dragon_Girl New “Wizard Woman” blog post. Where did the legend of dragons begin? (inserts link here)

@Dragon_Girl Book coming out soon. Should be here by end of May

@Dragon_Girl I love the cover. What do you think? (She attaches the cover here)

@Dragon_Girl Book signing is this weekend. Make sure you are early before we run out of books (attaches information on how to get to book signing)

***Notice I NEVER see Dragon_Girl’s NAME. She is always top of mind, but using the WRONG NAME. Even if I wanted to buy her book, I would be at a loss and would have to go do research. If I have an antsy husband who wants me to hurry and get my book so we can go to Costco, and a baby who is teething and starting to fuss, I am not that motivated to figure out Dragon_Girl’s real identity.

Scenario 2, Maura Using Pen Name Maura Devlin
On the contrary, I SHOULD see a lot of:

@Maura_Devlin New “Wizard Woman” blog post. Where did the legend of dragons begin? (inserts link here)

@Maura_Devlin The dragons are near! Book coming out soon. End of May!

@Maura_Devlin I love the cover. What do you think? (She attaches the cover w/dragon art here)

@Maura_Devlin Book signing is this weekend. Make sure you are early before we run out of books (attaches information on how to get to book signing)

Maura Devlin doesn’t need to be Dragon_Girl for those who follow to get that she writes fantasy. We are actually pretty sharp. This second scenario keeps Maura’s name continually top of mind so that those in her network see a scrolling stream of, “Maura Devlin, Maura Devlin, Maura Devlin…always linked with her content—dragons/fantasy.”

So, what if you have used the wrong name, what now?

Don’t panic. It is pretty simple to remedy. Go change your username as soon as possible. Those following you are clever. They will “get” that this is a change to your pen name. If it makes you feel better, send out an announcement that you are now focusing on building your brand. Likely no one will blink an eye.

Professional authors use their names and so should we. Using our name sends a message to others that we believe in ourselves and have confidence in the future of our work.  

On Twitter and MySpace changing your user name is relatively easy. Facebook is less moniker-friendly, so most of you should be okay unless you started your FB page under any other name than the one you want printed on your books. My advice? Start over. Create another FB page with your pen name and transfer your friends over.

If you cannot get your name, be creative. Kristen_Lamb can easily be The_KristenLamb, KLamb, KristenLambTX, Author_KristenLamb. THIS is a good time to be creative, ;).

Time is precious, so make sure you maximize your efforts by focusing all your energies behind the name you wish to brand. It will save a lot of time for you and confusion for your fans. Branding the right name will help you work smarter, not harder. You need time left over to write great books.

Happy writing! Until next time…

By the way! If you loved this blog and just want MORE? My book, “We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media” is now available. Buy one today and take charge of your writing career! My book is designed specifically for writers. I want to change your habits, not your personality. Harness that same creative energy used for writing and use it to build your platform.

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  1. #1 by Virginia Ripple on May 11, 2010 - 5:52 pm

    Whew! It’s good to know I’m on the “write” track. I decided at the beginning to use my name for everything because I figured that would help people find my books. Thanks for reaffirming that decision.

  2. #2 by dennisfinocchiaro on May 11, 2010 - 6:28 pm

    Wow! Great information! Thanks.
    http://www.denwrites.com

  3. #3 by Marisa Birns on May 11, 2010 - 7:18 pm

    I used my name only because I couldn’t think of anything funny or clever to use instead!

    Glad that my creative cells were asleep then. :)

    No, Kristen, you’re not crass. You’re very savvy and I thank you for this post.

  4. #4 by emilycross on May 11, 2010 - 9:53 pm

    excellent post!

    Emily cross is my penname and i use it for everything on the internet for platforming reasons. Sometimes I wish I had that anonymous name so I could let my opinons fly, rather than have to censor myself but your article reminds me of why i keep to emily cross

    thanks!!

  5. #5 by Madison Woods on May 11, 2010 - 9:54 pm

    This is the name I’ll hopefully see plastered on my books, but it’s not my real name. But it’s the name I use for all of my ‘branding’ efforts, at least. Thanks for a thought provoking-post :)

  6. #6 by June on May 11, 2010 - 9:58 pm

    Thanks for this info. I use my full name on twitter, but only my first name on my blog and a lot of other places. Maybe I should start posting my last name as well in other venues. I guess I’m a bit paranoid :-)

  7. #7 by elissa janine on May 11, 2010 - 10:19 pm

    I’ve agonized over this choice, mainly because I do not know what last name I’ll use on my books. My guess is not my real last name, due to a variety of reasons, but I know I’m using my first and middle, so I’ve used that on twitter and blogs, etc. I think you’ve made some excellent points, though, and I should really try to figure out that last name, since…that’s how people search for books! Thanks for the interesting post!

  8. #8 by Jaleta Clegg on May 12, 2010 - 12:08 am

    Great post. I’m happy I’m doing at least half of it right!

  9. #9 by Jody Hedlund on May 12, 2010 - 12:57 am

    Awesome post, Kristen! Thanks for giving me the link over! I think the same thing is true for blogs. We shouldn’t try to come up with cute names, but should try to have our author name in it, and in the blog address. Just another way of helping build our brand.

    • #10 by Kristen Lamb on May 12, 2010 - 1:26 am

      That is very true. I am actually in a conundrum right now because the warriorwriters blog was created to help launch and brand Bob Mayer’s Warrior Writers training (not ME). Originally, it wasn’t MY blog, :D. This social media discussion has become a successful off-shoot and likely will have to eventually make a transition to being Kristen Lamb’s blog.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

  10. #11 by Rebekah McClew on May 12, 2010 - 1:33 am

    This is the main reason I have used my name i hadn’t wanted to confuse anyone later when I start announcing when my first book comes out I wanted people to get to know me before I do instead of having them say ‘and who are you?’ they might still say that but at least I’m using my name then having others confuse me with my user name as a cute and cuddly critter since my books do not follow that route at all. Very good advice above and well worth the read.

  11. #12 by Steve on May 12, 2010 - 8:16 am

    I deem to recall from the Facebook TOS that they will delete you for having more than one account. Or is that a toothless threat?

    -Steve

    • #13 by Kristen Lamb on May 12, 2010 - 12:11 pm

      They want you to have meaningful accounts that are a real person, verified by an e-mail address. On FB there are actually 3 kinds of presences–the profile, the group and the fan page. Writers (once published) likely will have a profile page and a fan page.

      FB generally discourages multiple accounts because it is the meaningful interaction that makes FB enjoyable. It also is a countermeasure to prevents bots and spammers. So as long as you behave, I don’t foresee a problem. I have had a personal page and a public page successfully so far, but I do interact on both pages.

  12. #14 by ekcarmel on May 13, 2010 - 12:57 pm

    I found you from a comment you made on Jane Friedman’s blog and I’m impressed. I’ve gone back in the posts and you give excellent advice – just what I’ve been looking for.

    I always planned to use a pseudonym when I published, but fell into using my own on my blog. (Why I did is a long, boring story and I won’t subject you to that.) Needless to say, it’s been interesting and I’ve learned a lot, but my topics tend to be all over the place. One of your recent posts was about writers using a blog geared more toward their readers (or future readers, in my case) and the types of things that are connected to the subject they are writing about. That made perfect sense to me and I can see that at some point, I’m going to switch over to a blog with my pseudonym and focusing on my subject matter.

    I’ve had family members urging me to get on Facebook so I can talk with them, but I’ve also been hearing about writers needing to have a presence on the social networking sites as well. I originally thought I would have to do FB for personal and Twitter for writing, but if, as you say, I can do both on FB, I guess I’ll try that instead.

    Thanks for your enthusiastic encouragement and good advice. I’ll be back.

  13. #15 by Pam Laux on May 14, 2010 - 3:03 am

    Luckily, I took your advice a few months ago when we met and used Pam Laux on every account. Thanks for the advice…glad to know before I got too far down the road. Great blog.

  14. #16 by Carol Silvis on May 17, 2010 - 5:27 pm

    Thanks for the info! Fortunately, I use my real name on my website, twitter, and blog because I used them on textbooks I’ve published. This made it easy to transition when I authored a trade paperback. I can see where multiple names would get bogged down on the Internet.

  15. #17 by Caroline Clemmons on May 18, 2010 - 1:07 pm

    Thanks so much for the information. When I logged on to Twitter, my name was taken, so I used lovesthewest. It didn’t occur to me to put “the” in front of my name. Great idea!

    • #18 by Kristen Lamb on May 18, 2010 - 1:56 pm

      You can easily change your Twitter handle by editing your bio information. Just get greative with variations and you should be able to find something suitable. good luck!

  16. #19 by Catherine Gillespie on May 18, 2010 - 5:31 pm

    This is great advice, but sadly when I went to change my Twitter handle from @ASpiritedMind (my blog title) to @catherinegillespie (the name I hope to publish under), I found out that the limit is 15 characters. If only I could convince my husband to change our last name to something short and really unique…

    • #20 by Kristen Lamb on May 18, 2010 - 6:04 pm

      Focus on getting your last name, since that is how your book will be shelved…we will look it up via your last name. I am glad you found it helpful, and keep us posted on your progress.

  17. #21 by Jennifer Perry on May 24, 2010 - 10:34 pm

    Excellent advice. We need to have it broken down like that, and we’re grateful.

    • #22 by Kristen Lamb on May 25, 2010 - 12:17 am

      You are very welcome. :D

  18. #23 by roughdraftwriter on June 22, 2010 - 1:41 pm

    Found my way here through Jan O’Hara’s link – you make so many good points, but I still find it difficult to give up the (relative) anonymity of only using my first name on the internet. I work in the medical field and the idea of my clients googling my name and then finding my non-medical interests poses a problem to me. People in serious distress want to believe that their therapist is singularly passionate about their needs. They don’t want to know that what she’d really rather be doing is writing young adult science fiction novels. :) I’ve got a rather unique name, according to Google, so I imagine the search result would be easy to find.

    So here I am, the newest of newbies who only thinks to bring this up because your very persuasive argument makes a case for using your identity from the get go. I’d love to know what you suggest for someone who doesn’t want to jeopardize her day job. Is a pseudonym the way to go? I’ve seen people criticize the use of pseudonyms with reasons like, it suggests you may not be proud of your work, you lose a built in marketing base of people who know you by your actual name… I’d love to see my real name on a book, but I don’t know that I can gamble my reputation on the chance that years from now there is the slight possibility of that happening.

    Thanks for such a thought-provoking post!

    • #24 by Kristen Lamb on June 22, 2010 - 2:27 pm

      LOL….well, a pseudonym is a good option, but why don’t we just take a quick step back. If you are in the medical field, why do you think that a logical step is for someone to go google your name to check on what else you might be up to? It makes me think of my college roommate who was terrified to dance at clubs. She thought everyone was looking at her, and the truth was they didn’t even see her. They were too busy worrying people were looking at them, or they were preoccupied, drinking, dancing, flirting and having fun.

      No one cares. Really. :D So long as your hobbies do not negatively affect them. Yeah, they aren’t paying that much attention.

      And why would it make any difference that you aspire to be a writer? You have a life, dreams, and hobbies just like everyone else. Am I not going to trust my doctor just because he likes to spend what little free time he has writing medical thrillers? Likely not. Odds are he needs a break and different kind of mental stimulation, just like I do.

      People can be self-centered, but most of us are not so self-involved that we expect you to spend every waking second thinking of our needs. So long as you do your job, there isn’t a problem. Now, if you are goofing off at work to write novels, that is another story. But, so long as you do your part on the clock, I really don’t think people are going to care. Being an author on the side likely will make you more interesting. Writers (even aspiring ones) do tend to be celebrities.

      I am glad this post was helpful to you. Just remember. If you want to accomplish great things, you will need to be courageous in the small things. Good luck and happy writing!

      • #25 by roughdraftwriter on June 22, 2010 - 6:15 pm

        Thanks for the great response – more to consider! :) I’ll work on being courageous in the small things. Looking forward to your book!

  19. #26 by Jamie Harrington on July 10, 2010 - 1:51 am

    I can’t agree with this more. It blows my mind that people would spend months or even years of effort and NOT use the name they plan to market books under. It’s JUST such a waste…

  20. #27 by SM Blooding on July 16, 2010 - 4:29 pm

    GREAT post!!!!!!

    Frankie

  21. #28 by Ava Elaine on July 21, 2010 - 2:32 am

    Hey Kristen. This blog was awesome and I definitely want to check out your book. And you’re right…I’ll know exactly who writes it because your name has made its way into memory.

    I was actually surprised as I was reading this to find out I’ve been doing the right thing when it comes to building my brand. I have been writing for years and have been keeping everything I’ve written in isolation-until now. I am excited to get my name out there and didn’t even stop to think that it’s called branding as a writer.

    Thank you for your insight and honesty. I look forward to learning more…you should never stop learning!
    -Ava Elaine

  22. #29 by Drishti on July 28, 2010 - 8:27 am

    Great Post!!

    What if I just use my first name for my articles? What impact do you think it makes on the reader’s mind. I chose to use my ‘first name’ alone but your post keeps me wondering if that’s the right thing to do??

    • #30 by Kristen Lamb on July 28, 2010 - 11:55 am

      If you are establishing a brand, then people will look for you by last name. I don’t go to B&N looking for a book by Steve or Sandra or James. I look under King, Brown or Rollins. No one will make you do anything, lol. But, writing is a business. What are you afraid of? If I had a magic wand and could GUARANTEE with 100% certainty you would be an all-time best-seller, would you still be shy about your name? Be brave. The greatest accomplishments are going to happen outside of your comfort zone.

  23. #31 by Renee' on August 10, 2010 - 5:59 pm

    You could not be more right on this issue. Great post.

  24. #32 by Roseanne Schmidt on August 12, 2010 - 2:01 am

    Great post! I’ve had this in my mind for a while. But this totally makes everything click into complete sense.

  25. #33 by Jeff Emmerson - My Story of Hope and Following My Heart! on August 14, 2010 - 1:42 pm

    WELL SAID!!

    – Jeff Emmerson
    http://jeffemmersonmymemoir.wordpress.com/

  26. #34 by Dufflyn on August 19, 2010 - 12:40 am

    Thank you for the information, this is a really great resource and I’m going to be following closely. I’m writing my first memoir (I blog about this in my blog APlus at http://www.dufflyn.blogspot.com) and I’ve begun to create a presence on FB (albeit a regular page and not yet a fan page…I’ll have to switch over, oy!) And twitter is how I found you…so that works! I’m wondering what your opinion is on trademarking one’s name. I’m considering it since my name is my brand. Whaddaya think?

    • #35 by Kristen Lamb on August 19, 2010 - 10:01 am

      Trademarking a name is just a waste of money. You can’t copyright titles, so I doubt that would fly with a name. Produce enough good content tied to YOUR name and you won’t need to. Amy Tan wrote enough great stories featuring Chinese women that she eventually just was known for that content. Good question, though and I hope my answer helped…saved you money at least :D

  27. #36 by Texanne on September 27, 2010 - 9:29 pm

    Kristin–
    I can’t seem to remember the name of this blog–sorry, you are kind of new to me–so when I put kristinlamb.wordpress.com in the URL pane, I get a message that says “That blog is available!” Same thing goes for kristinlambtx.wordpress.com.

    My question is this: why don’t you “own” that URL? If for no other reason than to keep someone from pranking on it? I “own” the URL for texanne.com as well as my true full name (which I’ll never use due to stalker issues).

    It confuses me for you to say, “brand your name” and then to find you as warriorwriters rather than kristinlamb when kristinlamb is (or was a couple of weeks ago) available.

    Even so, I do like your blog, when I find it (usually link from a Tweet).

    • #37 by Kristen Lamb on September 27, 2010 - 9:50 pm

      Great question. This blog was originally created to brand Warrior Writer, a new kind of writing program to teach writers holistically…about the craft, the business, the marketing and the midset. I link my name to it by titling it Kristen Lamb’s Blog. I do own the wordpress domain for my name. It is off my web site http://www.kristenlamb.org. I blog off this one though because the warriorwriters blog is far more popular…and it is in a widget on my web page (so everything feeds each other). Probably the reason your search was not coming up is my name is spelled with an ‘e.’ When you google “Kristen Lamb” you should see that I dominate most searches and that this blog always comes up because my name is used in the title of the blog and also the tags. I am really happy that you enjoy the blog.

      ~Kristen

    • #38 by Kristen Lamb on September 27, 2010 - 9:57 pm

      Oh, and I always tell those I teach that I originally should have called my book, “I Made All the Dumb Mistakes So You Don’t Have To.” When I started this blog, I was an unknown quantity, so what did I do? I hid behind the title of the program–Warrior Writer. I SHOULD have built the blog in the opposite fashion. I SHOULD have worked on building kristenlambtx.wordpress.com, but I didn’t know if people would be responsive to what I had to say. Turns out they have been VERY responsive, but now I am tethered to the warriorwriters blog. I don’t teach from a position of someone who has done everything right. Quite the opposite! I have done all the things that look like a good idea only to end up a mess, :D.

      I was able to mitigate the problem by changing the title of the blog and by making sure I was always listed in the tags, but you are correct…I SHOULD have started with my name. But I write these blogs to help you guys learn from my mistakes and duplicated efforts :D.

  28. #39 by Claudette Young on October 11, 2010 - 4:41 pm

    Krysten,

    I hadn’t really taken the time to think about how the blog name could affect the rest. So, for me, this comes at a most important time. I am getting resdy to begin polishing manucripts for queriies to agents and editors.

    Thank you so much. Now I’ll get to that damage control issue before it becomes an issue.

    Claudette

  29. #40 by Alannah Murphy on December 5, 2010 - 1:12 pm

    Great advice, glad I found you via another blog. I’ve just began on Twitter and your blog is my first tweet as I found it very informative. I was one of those people who originally set up a blog under a “cool” name and realised that wasn’t going to get me anywhere so I started again with my author’s name.

  30. #41 by The Chloe Chronicles on August 22, 2011 - 3:17 pm

    Kristin, what a mess my name is. I think about it all the time now that my readership is growing.

    I became Chloe of the Mountain years and years ago on a big forum and that’s how Chloe really became my brand. I didn’t plan it this way; it just happened. fb won’t allow me to not have a last name (heck, you have to be Cher or Madonna to get that status) so I picked Mountain. I don’t like Chloe Mountain as a pen name, but I really like the name Chloe. I know pen names are dicey, but I’ve built a stable platform over many years with that name and I want to keep it. It’s the last name that has me stumped.

    What’s a blogger to do?

    • #42 by Author Kristen Lamb on August 22, 2011 - 3:30 pm

      Just add in the last name. People are smart and they will catch up. You don’t have to change the URL, just change the blog title and use Choloe of the Mountain as your log-line. Chloe Last Name–Chloe of the Mountain. Easy. You still get the benefit of the “of the Mountain” but your last name is visible so people can buy books, pay for speaking/teaching later on in your career.

  31. #43 by Graeme Smith on August 22, 2011 - 4:02 pm

    Lady Kristen

    And here was the root of much soul searching for me. Well, and pocket searching, and down-the-back-of-the-sofa searching :-).

    The Brand. The Name. The minuses – and the pluses – of pen-names. Not, if I may, as a means of hiding (pen names are not witness protection, right? :-P). But simply…

    Well. You can see. Me. To Smith, or not to Smith?

    My mother says ‘it’s not common – it’s just popular’. My gut said ‘but… maybe… um… Bard Elcano?’. My gut lost. Maybe it lost to Wilbur Smith. Or to E.E. ‘Doc’. Yes, ‘Doc’ Smith. Or maybe it lost to the whole ‘oh, god. How many identities do I have, and who the heck am am I _right_now_?’ thing.

    But it lost. So I gave myself what some may call a poor Brand.

    Hi. This is my Brand talking. I write. ‘A comedy of Terrors’ will be out in July 2012. By Graeme Smith. And no. I’m not the captain of the South African cricket team :-).

    • #44 by Author Kristen Lamb on August 22, 2011 - 4:30 pm

      Yes, but Graeme is memorable and a brand is more than the name. Dan Brown is not a terribly exciting name. Brand is content and emotions associated with a na,e and that we can control with social media. You are fine and definitely one of a kind!

      • #45 by Graeme Smith on August 22, 2011 - 4:32 pm

        “You are … definitely one of a kind!”

        And the world heaves a collective sigh of relief that that is true… :-).

  32. #46 by Annalise Green on August 22, 2011 - 4:36 pm

    I just wanted to say I’m so glad I found you at this relatively early point in my writing life, because my instinct is to shrink more to privacy and use a cutesy moniker. I feel like you’ve saved me years of pain and agony through coming to to this realization myself.

  33. #47 by Martha Ramirez on August 24, 2011 - 1:00 pm

    Awesome post! It’s always good to start early. Thank you!

  34. #48 by Matthew Wright on August 26, 2011 - 3:55 pm

    Excellent advice in every respect – love it! The problem, though, comes when your name doesn’t quite seem brand-ish – as in my case, when you have the same name as 1,256,000 other people out there and it’s kinda dull anyway. Did it stop me? No, but I had to think about ways of being distinctive. Hence the initials. Worked for Joanne Rowling. Oh, and then I had to add “New Zealand” because, you guessed it, there are plenty of MJ Wrights too. I even knew one of them, once. (Sigh). The other tactic in such circumstance, I think, is persistence (and trying to second-guess the Google search algorithm). We’ll see!

    Matthew Wright
    http://mjwrightnz.wordpress.com
    http://www.matthewwright.net

  35. #49 by Chloe on November 1, 2011 - 11:52 pm

    Just chiming in again to reiterate that I am so happy that I took a real name and ditched the cutesy handle. This was very good advice, Kristen.

    Who knows if I’ll ever write a book or not, but I do know that having a name was the right thing to do for me.

    • #50 by Author Kristen Lamb on November 2, 2011 - 7:48 am

      Awesome. I do always smile when I see your tweets go by. No mosre social media training wheels. My little writer girl grew up *sniff*

  36. #51 by submeg on October 4, 2012 - 4:56 am

    I have been using the name Submeg for years…it is simply my last name reversed. Should I go ahead and switch this up? I also use this for DJing

  37. #52 by wittywritereditor on December 22, 2012 - 8:54 am

    And of course I should have read this BEFORE I changed my Twitter handle. I knew I was using the wrong one and that I should change it to better fit my “brand”. I just didn’t know that my name should BE my brand (although I should have taken a hint from @Melissa_Foster). Yikes! So much to learn (still)… Since I just changed my Twitter user name a few minutes ago, I think I’ll wait a bit before rebranding.

    Oh, and just a note: I found a typo. They’re John Deere tractors, not John Deer. :-)

  38. #53 by aquaponics systems on December 1, 2013 - 6:59 am

    By using three interdependent subsystems, the Aquaponics method facilitates the
    cultivation of plants and aquatic life forms in a very confined space using purely organic methods.
    This may come from an air pump and air stone or you’ll
    find simple designs that allow the river circulation system to
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