What’s in a name? Ah, yes. A rose by any other name would be not be a dandelion, would it? Well, if you are a writer your name can be a problem. For instance, there are several “John Beckmans” who write books. I had a friend send me an email that he had read a review in the Wall Steet Journal that was a report on an economics book by “John Beckman” and he didn’t know I was an economist. Well, I am, if you count that I can balance my check book, BUT I was not the John Beckman in question.
There are some women authors who feel that there is a bias against female writers so they use their initials in an effort to disguise their gender, so you see books by “J. R. Findle” instead of “Janet Randle Findle.” (I just made up that name, so don’t look for Ms. Findle’s books). I’m not sure that there is a bias against female writers; I think that any author must stand or fall on the merit of their books or stories.
A great example of a name causing problems involves my favorite author of all time. He was writing books that were great under his name of Martin Smith. Now, is there a more common name than Smith? So this brilliant writer was getting confused with hacks named “Smith” of which the literary world is full. So his agent convinced him to use his mother’s maiden name as his middle name and Martin Cruz Smith went on to write Gorky Park, Stalin’s Ghost, Stallions Gate, Three Stations, Red Square, and any number of books, many which were made into movies. And, he is in my opinion, the finest word smith of this generation of writers.
Well, when I publish a book or story I use my full name of John F. Beckman (the “F” stands for Farlow which happens to be the maiden name of my mother) but in promotion Amazon drops the “F” so if you get an economics book instead of an action/adventure novel, it’s that “other” John Beckman.