Monday, June 28, 2021

What's in a Name?

What's in a name?  Would an author by any other name write as sweet?

Years ago, when Wish in One Hand was newly birthed and out in the world, I stumbled across a website that trashes bad book covers.  (Yes, my original cover for WIOH deserved to be there.)  Only problem was one of the people trashing my book's cover went after my name, too.  

They accused me of trying to riff off of Brandon Sanderson.  Like this was some kind of name I made up to lure unsuspecting Brandon fans.  I posted about it on my blog and then went on about my merry way, because it's not like I was doing what they accused me of, we don't even write the same genres, and it wasn't like I was going to change my name.  

I'm kind of proud of my name.  After all, I chose to be a Sanderson when I married Hubs.  I could've easily kept my maiden name.  I chose not to.  I use my initials because it gives me some small measure of anonymity in this weird world.  And while I do like my first name, it doesn't necessarily say AUTHOR.  Some of you know it, most of you don't.  (Yes, it does begin with a B.  No, it doesn't rhyme with witch.)  So, B.E. Sanderson.  Tada!  (For the record, before I got married, I was B.E. Meissner online and in print - LTOE's and whatnot.)  

Five plus years later and I thought this issue was done.  But once something sticks in my head, it's in there.  So, lucky me, when I was laying in bed thinking about this fantasy novel I'm writing, the old criticism jumped out of my memory banks and slapped me across the face.  If you're not familiar with Brandon, he writes fantasy.  If I got tagged for being a Sanderson with an urban fantasy, which he doesn't write, how will people react to seeing my similar name on a fantasy novel?  

Blerg.  And since I have never read anything by him, now I'm wondering if what I'm writing is even a little bit close to what he's already written.  How gauche would that be?

Since I don't want to stop writing this fantasy, I'm debating on whether to switch back to my maiden name for this venture.  But I like my name... :whines:  And writing under a pseudonym is such a pain in the ass.  I'd have to go get a DBA registered and find some way to market that name without linking it to my name and... :collapses:

The really stupid thing about all this is that the need for any of this is so far away I really shouldn't be letting it hamper my writing.  But, sure enough, it derailed me.  Of course, I've already talked about this book using my name and I've posted snippets of it under this name and if I really wanted to divorce the book from the name I should've already started that process so there'd be a clean break.  :shrug:

It is what it is.  

Have any of y'all read Brandon?  He's like a big best-selling author and junk.  I so do not want to ride his coat tails, even a little bit.  I also don't want to get smeared as being someone who's trying to make money off his name, even if it isn't true.  He's got money for lawyers and stuff.  I don't want to get sued, but I don't want to stop writing my fantasy either.

I'm probably worried over nothing.  But on the off chance it's something...  Gah.

Yep, neurotic writer is in residence this morning.


  1. Who is Brandon Sanderson?

    Ok. I'm only sorta kidding. I know his name because I see his books come up in some of the newletters I get. I've never read him either. I doubt he'd ever come after you and all you have to do is show your DL with your name. As for "mean girls" (and that include troll boys) need to get a life. Period. They are stupid and petty and sometimes their tactics backfire because people get curious and go buy the book.

    I decided on a partial pseudonym because I was published under my real name in the Fire/LEO technical field. I considered all sorts of combinations using my middle name (which is my mother's maiden name), my initials with my married last name but was similar to a mystery writer's name so I do get where you are. I finally settled on a nickname I'd been given and my married last name, not realizing there was a James Silver who was famous. Like we'd ever get confused for each other...🤣🤣 But that name shows up often in my Google alerts, while mine doesn't. That should say something.

    I'm gonna pass along part of the message I got from the Universe today. Hopefully, it'll help, because it's true:

    Do you know how to give folks what they most, most, most want from you, without even asking them what it is?

    In all regards, just be yourself.

    So, write like yourself, publish as yourself, and just be yourself because that's a pretty darn cool person who tells good stories! (Which is not the only reason I 💓 you but is the reason we first got acquainted.)

    Now tell those trolls to shut up or you're going to send a dragon after them!

  2. I'm with Silver, but for real: Who is Brandon Sanderson? I've never noticed his novels, and I love fantasy.

    Don't worry about it. Somebody who is looking for something to crab about will find it, no matter how far they have to stretch. There are lots of writers with similar names. People either find the one they want, or they discover a NEW writer to love.

    Once they discover your novels, you'll be on their permanent "Buy this NOW" list!