What’s in a Name….really?

Barbara Vey -- March 18th, 2008

Probably a good thing Cary Grant changed his name from Archibald Leach

When I started writing this blog, I knew I would use the name Barbara Vey.  Since my name is Barbara it was a no brainer.  But a few months later, my son introduced me to Google search to check on your own name.  Well, the first thing that came up was Publishers Weekly blog.  I mean, how cool was that?

Unfortunately, a few items down was an article that Barbara Vey, a psychologist, was car-jacked by 2 murderers who threated to kill her.  Yikes!  My blood pressure went into overdrive seeing my name associated with such a hideous crime.  Then later I found a Barbara Vey who is a prominant artist.  Well, that was at  least a little better.

But it got me to thinking about others Googling my name and them wondering if I was either of these women.  I would hope they’d realize the truth.

This hit home recently with author Kristen Painter who recounted her infamous brush with fame in her Divalicious blog:  

I Am Not a High-Priced Hooker   

The hits on my blog lately have been off the charts. At first, I couldn’t figure it out, but now I know why. It’s all you gossip mongers looking for the call girl known as Kristen who’s involved in this whole governor of New York scandal.

I’ll be perfectly honest. I had never even heard of Spitzer or Spritzer or Zitzer or sleezebag or whatever his name is until this whole thing happened.

Now that you’re here and you know I’m not that Kristen, that I’m not the high price hooker you’re looking for (nor have I ever been – sorry to disappoint), why don’t you do something more worthwhile with your time than endless googling about a story that has already gotten way too much coverage. Go read a book. Or read a book to a kid. Or better yet, donate some money so a bunch of kids can get some books of their very own. Seriously. You know it’s the right thing to do.

Then take a shower. You’re starting to smell.

Hooker Kristen

Author Kristen

Just another example of Google Gone Wild.  But the bright side is the new readers she brought to her site…the dark side is the kind of new readers she brought to her site.

Now tell me authors….have you Googled your name lately?  Seen anything that made you cringe?  Would you have chosen a different name if you would have known?  Or doesn’t it matter that you have the same name as a convicted serial killer or mistress to a prominant politician?

Bottom Line:  So, if you’re an author starting out, you may want to check Google before having your "unique" name put on that book cover.  Unless you’re ok with sharing it with a porn star (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

51 thoughts on “What’s in a Name….really?

  1. Jennifer LaBrecque

    I discovered a couple of years ago I googled myself. There’s another “me”. She’s probably 20 years younger and is obviously a swimmer at some California university because her lap times are posted. This just cracks me up since I am SO not a swimmer. Of course, I wonder if she cracks up because she’s so not a romance writer? LOL

  2. Gina Black

    When I Google myself I get me, a realtor in North Carolina, one in Albuquerque, and a lot of rather adult content. . . And lots of shoes. :) That’s why I decided to write my YA books under a different version or me which is my middle name and last name: Theresa Black, who Googles clean. :)

  3. Marilyn AKA The Playground Monitor

    My name is all over Google between all the book reviews I wrote for a website and the Playground stuff. I did find two other women with my name. One’s with a school in Omaha and the other is in West Virginia. Oh gee… I just went further into those Google results and there’s also a real estate agent in Tacoma. And the fanfiction I wrote years ago. But no hookers. :-)

  4. Sabrina Jeffries

    If I google my pseudonym, I get … me. Pretty much only me. Ah, the joys of an unusual pseudonym. I HAVE had a couple of people e-mail me who have that name, but they don’t seem to have much of a web presence, so the top levels of any search are me. Thank God.

  5. Liviania

    If I google my real name, lots of random people show up. (My name is common – the only time hits popped up that were me were during my graduation.) If I google my usual online username (shown above), I’m pretty much the only person who shows up. Of course, it’s scary to associate myself with some of the stuff I put on the net as a younger, less wise person. (As far as I know, no one has mistaken me for a hooker. I might enjoy messing with someone’s mind if they did.)

  6. Norm Cowie

    I found my name-twin when I tried setting up my website. He can have Norman Cowie, I settled for Norm Cowie. I like it more anyway. It’s more informal and better for a humor writer.

  7. Anne Lovett

    I find I am way, way down buried in the Google listings because there is a composer and musician with my same name–also a New England socialite–and the poor dead Irish girl–but they wrote a ballad about her! I must get it.

  8. mary s

    Thanks Barb–it started me thinking that I kept my own name (well my Dad’s family name) when I got married in Vegas & it’s nice now because of my criminal profession (on the good side of the law I hope) to have my name as the 2nd listing in the phone book after my husband’s which is different from mine.

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