Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Whole Author Name Thing

I've heard all the advice-- get your name on your blog, use your author name, people need to find you--so in preparing my blog for the A to Z Challenge I wondered if I should change my blog title to include my author name. Or at least put it on my profile LOL.

Whenever I have a serious question to ponder I always go to the big G, the fount of all wisdom and knowledge-- Google. And guess what I learned in like 5 seconds? That my name is everywhere anyway. By being on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Amazon, commenting on blogs and all the rest of social media, don't worry, I'm out there baby.

Plugging in KarenG brings up tons of blogging references, each one with the link karenjonesgowen.blogspot.com. So by putting my author name behind the scenes, so to speak, it still pops up when it counts. No problem, I'm covered.

Now it might be a different story if I decided that I wanted to be Victoria Anderson Lilybucket, as my new author name for writing classic women's literary fiction. Or Vicki Ann Lily for writing chick lit, oops sorry-- I mean,  *commercial women's fiction*. Then I'd have to start all over. That makes me tired just thinking of it. So I think I'll stay with the really uninteresting name of Karen Jones Gowen. Which bores me to tears since I've lived with it in one form or another my entire life, which is why my blog title doesn't have it, and why my profile is KarenG.

But everywhere else-- like email, Twitter, Amazon, Facebook, Goodreads, Linkedin (which I've done absolutely nothing with yet), Shelfari (which I've done very little with)-- I am Karen Jones Gowen. I figure that's enough. Here on my blog or when I make comments on yours, I am reassured that there's no real need to have my full "author name" screaming at me. Whew, what a relief.

And am I the only one who's bored with their own name? What's up with that anyway?

Respectfully yours,

KarenG

32 comments:

  1. I manually retype all my blogs in Google Reader to be the authors name... just because when you read something in a rss reader... every blog looks the same (no pictures, just words)... and it can get confusing to know whose blog is whose... I had like 8 the journey of... blogs and several with the word diary... and lots more that had practically the same title... Names are just easier for me to follow (and recognize), but I suppose everyone is different.

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  2. Outside of blogging, I'm only on Twitter, but since I did use my name for my blog and on everything else, it's easy to find me.

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  3. it seems like Alex is everywhere. nice post.

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  4. Of course everyone knows who the illustrious KarenG is! And absolute boredom is exactly why I went to a penname, so I get ya on that.

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  5. You're lucky - when I google myself, the character Karen Walker comes up from Will and Grace, plus a well-known designer. Eventually, you'll find me, however. Sigh!
    Karen

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  6. I know your blog well so it doesn't matter. I did change my blog to feature my name but I also shared a blog name with a fellow writer. Besides, I like my name.

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  7. Glad you got that settled, Karen.

    I have to come up with a pen name for my edgier y/a. I write fantasy for m/g and y/a, so I need to keep my name for that so people won't get all crazed if they see in on a sexually charged y/a contemporary, which is my second book.

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  8. Michael, That's a good reason for going with a pen name. Probably better than simple boredom LOL.

    Clarissa, You like your real name or your pen name? If I had to do it over, I'd go with a pen name. I think that would be fun.

    Karen, Have you thought of using a pen name for your next book and setting up a whole new persona?

    Nicki, So glad someone else understands the boredom factor! I was afraid I had some deep-seated issues. Like I mentioned, if I had it to do over, I would totally go with a pen name.

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  9. My blog doesn't have my name in the title or in the address...I don't mind it. I actually had someone refer to me as "The punching bag" and an author who "knew" me as "The Fangirl." We all have our schticks.

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  10. Hi Karen .. I prefer to keep a low profile .. so have left things as they are .. but with my name I suspect it's fairly obvious where I am!!!

    Cheers Hilary

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  11. Its a funny thing putting your own name in Google ! But many of us have done it I am sure. I always use the name of my property maintenance business when setting up accounts, blogs or forum memberships, due to this consistency over time the RJR linked with John Teal gets me right near the top of Google and even Google images now.

    John fellow A-Z blogger

    RJRDaydreamer

    p.s. thanks for following my daughter "ruthietootie" she's on a high with the increased activity on her blog since joining a-z

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  12. I went with my name in my blog title because I couldn't think of much else, and even as I put it there my blog title felt boring. It's fun to see my blog, website, and other related links come up when I search for myself in Google.

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  13. My name is unusual enough that I can just write my first name.

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  14. The times I've visited your blog and the first screen-full is of your lovely picture and title. It's made me stop and wonder whose blog it is. It's great that, as you say, your name is out there in Googleland, but I don't think we can push our names too much. For those of us who are here to further our writing careers we've got nothing to lose and everything to gain from making sure that our names have the highest profile possible.

    I'm doing the A to Z too. Good luck with it.

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  15. I love the G after KarenG!!! It sounds so hip and happening!! You will forever be KarenG to me!! Yay!

    Take care
    x

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  16. Hmmm. Wonder what happens when I google my name...

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  17. I wasn't thinking pen names when I first started blogging so this one is real. I would change it if it wasn't so much hard work. I'll probably still change it because it's so common and two writers use it already. SIGH.

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  18. Lynda, Right, it's all the work I'm talking about! I worked very hard on social media the past 2 years to get name recognition, and it's there despite the KarenG. But sometimes I think it would be fun to go back in and do something completely different, create an entirely new persona with a name that always interested me. Oh wait, that's why I write novels.

    Suz, well....?

    Old Kitty, Oh yeah I am hip and happening!

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  19. Karen Jones Gowen - sounds like a classy name to me! ;-)

    I hear ya on the naming thing, my name on my blog is different from my twitter name, will I change it? Not right now, maybe in the future...who knows? I like having a couple of names, suits the moods swings, voices in my head...and er, seems to be the norm these days. People having a couple of personas. At. Least. ;-)

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  20. I took a fair bit of time deciding, but once I decided, I've gone full out with it. My author name is my maiden then married name. My REASON was that my full name is what I publish scientifically with, and I felt a fiction strand (full of conspiracy stuff that sometimes involves academics) might reflect poorly on my coauthors who really do solid respectable work. Dropping the first name ALSO makes my name gender neutral (even if I do nothing to hide it online)--I've gotten rejections to MR. Hart Johnson... they seem less painful that way, actually, as I can pretend I am in drag and none of it is serious. *cough* But i think not being under my full real name (even if it's 2/3 of my name) has made me a little fearless about using it everywhere... it separates the two mes...

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  21. I'm sorry Ms. Lilybucket I did not mean to laugh, is Karen in? :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

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  22. Jules, This comment is totally cracking me up.

    Hart, Which btw makes a very good first name. I could have gone with Jones Gowen, and I bet everyone would have called my Mr. *snicker* Gowen.

    Talei, Several personas sounds like fun!

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  23. ...Karen Jones Gowen is a name deserving of being splattered across a book cover. For crying out loud, it's bloody perfect! I wouldn't change a thing...not one vowel:)

    EL

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  24. KarenG is a really cool name. That is why I call you KarenG and not some other nickname; which I would have coined up by now.

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  25. I think everyone needs to make their own decisions. The most important thing is that you use your name when you network on twitter, in forums, etc. Hopefully if you do this well, people will associate your blog name with you.

    Then again, I get a lot of people on forums who say, The Bookshelf Muse? That's you? Wow I use that blog sometimes!

    So what do I know, lol?

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

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  26. I shudder to think what is available under a Google search of me. I sure hope when I'm 75 I don't regret all the stuff I've put out into the world from my blogging!

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  27. I think you have a perfectly lovely name.

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  28. I agree with Old Kitty - I love the name KarenG! My real name is ten-a-penny. I chose my blog name for a little distance though; I didn't think about it being a name to publish under, as I might have chosen something else! As it is, if the Great Day arrives (Oh Great Day!) then I'd prob go with my real name... but just link the two together. Google works it out, I think. :)

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  29. I think a lot of times, it's more interesting to have a blog title like yours...it's eye catching and grabs your interest. Not only that, but since you've mentioned your name, I'm sure that if someone was looking for you and typed in your name followed by 'blog', this would come up. I really like your blog, by the way! :-)

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  30. KarenG sounds like a cool name! If I'd actually been planning when I started to blog, I would not have named my blog Solvang Sherrie. I can't tell you how many people have sent emails/comments directed to Solvang. *sigh*

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  31. I thought about changing my name, but then I figured it'd be too hard to decide which name to pick. I think it'd be cool to rename myself after a character from one of my favorite novels, like someone from a Jane Austen book or something.

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  32. Yeah, don't sweat it. Everyone Googles or Bings anyway when they want to find someone. I've thought about amending my blog name from "Spellmaking" a few times but I haven't because I like it and it's more interesting. And, weirdly, I have seen myself referred to as "Spellmaking" in a few places!

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