Do you want your child to grow up to be an author?


Do you know how annoying it is to constantly have to look up Theresa Romain and see whether she has an “h” in her first name? (She does.)

Of course any sensible author is going to be happy any time fans refer to her books in social media or blog posts or whatever, even if they spell her name wrong. But think how much easier it would be all around if all authors had names with only one accepted spelling.

Or perhaps most people have an easier time than I do remembering individual spellings.

The same goes for Mathew vs Matthew, Sara vs Sarah, Catherine vs Katherine, and no doubt a host of other names I am temporarily forgetting.

Kaylee, Kayleigh, Kayley, Caylee — here’s a post which lists 79 spellings of this particular name. Probably not the very best choice for anyone who hopes to have Google locate her promptly and without effort.

Other names I have to look up every single time: Stephen. Or Steven.

Stephen Brust. Steven King. Oops … I mean Steven Brust and Stephen King. I can just never remember from moment to moment how either author spells his name.

Here’s another one:

Nichole vs Nicole. As in Nicole Kornher-Stace. Every single piece of that name is hard to remember how to spell. Google cannot track this author down if you type Nichole Koerner-Stacey (I just tried that variant and it didn’t work).

I don’t necessarily suggest a pen name for authors with names of that kind — I mean, Google will not find me if you type in Rachel Newmeyer, and it didn’t occur to me to go with a pen name. If your last name is spelled in some unusual way, there’s not much you can do about that if you don’t want to use a pen name. But surely it’s easier for authors whose first names at least are never spelled in any kind of creative way. Also for their fans.

By the way, by googling versions of her name just now, I learned that Nicole Kornher-Stace is working on a sequel to Archivist Wasp, so yay! It’ll be called Latchkey and it’s due to come out next summer. So that’s great news! It’ll be worth buying no matter how often I have to look up how to spell “Nicole Kornher-Stace” while writing a review of it.

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4 thoughts on “Do you want your child to grow up to be an author?”

  1. When in doubt, add “author” to the search and it works fine. As an example, I tried Rachel Newmeyer author, and got your homepage, albeit with a strange “do you mean” suggestion.

  2. This sheds some light on all the time names in my family have been misspelled (which always surprised me, growing up). I often need to double-check the spelling of surnames and occasionally of first names, but I tend not to confuse common variants of common first names. I think it’s because I remember what names look like more so than how they sound. Catherine and Katherine are practically different names! But it sounds like you don’t remember names that way. It’s interesting how memory works.

  3. I always get Katharine Kerr mixed up with Katherine Kurtz–and trying to remember which of these two has the A in the middle of their first name or the E is a nightmare.

  4. Yes, I remember which one Katherine Kurtz is — but then trying to remember which books Katherine Kerr wrote is hard for me.

    Herenya, I do think letters in the middle are harder to sort out than letters in the front, so Catherine and Katherine are not as difficult for me to keep straight. But honestly, I do find myself constantly checking the spelling of all kinds of names. I hate spelling author names wrong.

    Pete Mack, true! I sometimes have resorted to that.

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