Question from Samantha Johnson

Book Title The Beginner’s Guide to Vegetable Gardening

How do you stand out when your name fits in? When your name is something super-common, it’s next to impossible to find unique domain addresses, and Google Alerts are ineffective because there are so many other people out there with the same name. 🙂 And then there’s the Goodreads issue, when other authors with the same name have books that end up in your list (and sometimes they are NOT books you want to have associated with your name–ugh!). My brother and I have co-authored several non-fiction books and we’d love to hear some marketing tips for people with names like Johnson.

Thanks for asking this question. As part of my role with Author Media I end up naming a lot of authors.

Talking Points:

  • Become the Most Famous Person for your name
    • Aggressive SEO
    • Lots of Blogging
    • Lots of Magazine articles
    • Pay for PR that sort of thing.
  • Pivot to a Unique Name You Don’t Have to Fight Over
    • Hollywood Method: Change Your Entire Name
      • Marilyn Monroe Used to be Norma Mortenson
      • Whoopi Goldberg was born Caryn Johnson
      • John Wayne was born Marion Morrison
      • Cary Grant was born Archibald Leach
    • Change Your Last Name
      • Natalie Portman was born Natalie Hershlag
      • Author Ben Wolf Used to be Ben Erlichman
      • Nicolas Cage Used to be Nicolas Coppola
    • Switch to a Nickname
      • Carlos Ray Norris became Chuck Norris
    • Swap in Your Middle Name
      • Walter Bruce Willis Swapped in His Middle Name to become Bruce Willis
    • Add a middle name
      • Edgar Allan Poe
      • James Scott Bell
      • Orson Scott Card
    • Turn your first names into initials
      • C.S. Lewis,
      • J.R.R. Tolkien,
      • J.K. Rowling,
    • Add a Suffix (Not Generally Recommended)
      • Thomas Umstattd Jr. (I’ve worked a deal with my dad that he goes by Tom G. Umstattd)
    • Add a middle initial (Not Recommended)
      • James L. Rubart (People tend to leave out the middle initial)
    • Pick a Pen Name (Not Recommended)
      • This used to work before the days of social media. Now it just causes confusion and keeps you from personally promoting your book in the most effective ways.
  • GoodReads
    • Suggest a Change by clicking “edit details” most sites have a fix this method.



MyBookTable – Do you ever wish you had a robot to promote your book for you while you slept? Well the folks over at Author Media built one and it is called MyBookTable and it helps boost your book sales without you have to lift a finder. Find out more at

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