Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Wednesday's Writing: What If Your Name Really Was 'Famous Author'?

No, I don't mean what if you were actually christened Famous Writer, although I guess there would be some comedy value in that...
Something to think about from a situation I came across on Amazon recently. What if you're a writer who has the same name as a famous writer? Suppose your real name was Nora Roberts, Louise Penny, Harlan Corben, Barbara Erskine, J.K. Rowling?
Would you publish your books under your own name, as would be perfectly within your rights?
If your books suddenly started to sell like hot cakes, would you just think eh, well, that book was plenty good enough for stardom, after all, I sweated my heart and soul to produce it?
Or would there be a sneaky feeling in the back of your mind that maybe, just maybe, some of those sales were from readers who thought you were actually that Other Famous Writer?
This situation has been tickling my brain ever since I came across this when looking for the latest Stephen King book. Yes, I freely admit, I'm a Stephen King fan and have pretty much an automatic reaction to purchase his latest book.
Which is why I was shocked when, on Amazon, I noticed that my hero had apparently written a whole bunch of books I'd never heard of before. Wanting to add them to my King collection, I busily clicked on the covers. The books did seem kind of King-ish in style, but...I don't know. So I checked out the reviews.
What I didn't understand was how the books could have mostly one star and two star reviews. Was Stephen King losing his touch? Why had I never heard of these books before?
So I scrolled down to the actual reviews, to discover complaints from reviewers, readers who had looked at or bought the books, that apparently this was not the REAL Stephen King. At least, that's what the reviewers thought.
This Other Stephen King writes in a similar genre to the really famous one and his books certainly seem to be selling, but there seems to be a lot of ire among the reviewers. I'm not going to quote them here, because I think if this guy really has that Famous Writer name, he's probably entitled to use it. Just note that one book alone, Awaken, had 69 per cent one star reviews. Uhmmmm....no idea if these were about the quality of the writing or that fans of Stephen King were disappointed to discover these were not the kind of books they expected from Stephen King.
If that makes sense.
You can take a peek at that page here: http://www.amazon.com/Awaken-Stephen-King-ebook/dp/B01ACLW2KW/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1461707007&sr=1-1&keywords=Stephen+King
I have no idea if there are other instances of this apparent name confusion, but I imagine it must exist.
So tell me, what would you do if you had a Famous Writer's name? Would you be comfortable writing under it, or disgruntled that people objected to you using your own name? Or would you simply choose another name and get on with your writing career?