Social Question

linguaphile's avatar

Should I change my name for publishing purposes?

Asked by linguaphile (13655 points ) December 15th, 2011

I was reading this thread and have been debating with myself, back and forth, for several months about whether I should change the name I use for publishing my work, or not.

I am going through a divorce and have every intention of changing my name back to my maiden name for everyday and legal use. However, my published work has thus far been under my hyphenated maiden name-married name.

My readers know me as XX-YY… XX is a quite common last name, while the YY is not. The hyphenated version distinguishes me from all the other XXs out there. But, I feel such a distaste for the YY name, hence my conflict. I have a piece coming up to be published soon and have to decide… fast.

Has anyone experienced anything like this, or known someone who has? What was their experience? What are the possible pros and cons?

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10 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Use the one you feel most comfortable with. Screw the rest of the world that gives you any grief about it. As long as your social security stuff checks out ok (they send a notice to you each year in February) you’re fine.

marinelife's avatar

Feel free to change it. Jayne Ann Krentz publishes under that name (her “real” name), Jayne Castle and Amanda Quick.

Nora Roberts also publishes under J.D. Robb.

It hasn’t hurt either of them.

filmfann's avatar

So, you have an established name, and you are worried your fans will not find your book with the new name.
That is really a problem for your publisher. They know how to bridge this divide.
You might take a small hit on this initially, but you will recover, as long as your work remains at the same level or better.
Francis Ford Coppola is now just Francis Coppola; still distinctive, but different.
If your married name is so odious to you, change it.
I think your readers will understand.

CWOTUS's avatar

If I ever saw a book authored by @linguaphile then I’d buy it. I’m just sayin’.

I think it would be healthful to you to work out the ‘extreme distaste for the YY name’ issue, too. You probably already know that.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Knowing absolutely nothing about you or your degree of fame, it’s difficult to answer.

It would seem to me that if you have a “known” name, no matter how odious it is to you, you would be making a mistake in changing it. Your brand – so to speak – would change, and would lose people.

wundayatta's avatar

There’s commerce and then there’s life. You have to live with them both, but one lasts longer than the other.

ShadesOfWhite's avatar

Sometimes when you go with your gut feeling, everyone else tends to love your idea more. Do what YOU want to do!

zenvelo's avatar

I’m with @ShadesOfWhite, if it bothers you get rid of the old name and just use your maiden name.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I haven’t experienced this but after reading your vivid details, I wouldn’t be able to have that YY added on to my XX anymore.

linguaphile's avatar

Thank you, all! Your input is much appreciated, from both sides. It helped get my thoughts together on this topic. Some decisions are hard to make because they’re “loaded” to me, but when I hear it from people who have no emotional ties to the result, it helps make the decision more subjective. Thanks, again!

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