Thinking more about my name this morning. Benjamin Joseph Kuniyoshi White–there were a lot of things I could’ve done with that, as an author’s name. For my first few books I made anagrams of it for the author’s bio (“Bonsai monkey with his jejune hip” was my favourite, the runner-up being “Hip bohemian junkies enjoy whist”). I could have been:
Ben Kuniyoshi White (sounds exotic!)
Benjamin J White (the classic, yet mysterious middle initial adds a charming weight to the name)
Ben J Kuniyoshi White (I’m sure you’ll be amused by its precociousness)
BJK White (I really should have used this one)
But I went with Ben White. Why? Well, at the time I didn’t even really think about it. This was a couple of years ago, to be completely honest I wasn’t as serious about things as I am now, and it’s my name, that’s what everyone calls me, why should it be different on the cover of a book? I didn’t check to see if there were already Ben Whites out there (“Authors! Thousands of ’em! Don’t shoot until you see the Ben Whites of their eyes, lads!”) …
Wait, that was terrible. I apologise. This is my official apology; that was a terrible joke.
(And yet strangely I’m not deleting it.)
So yes, there ARE other Ben Whites out there and a surprising number are authors (and one’s a street, apparently). If you came here looking for them, no, I don’t write about Nascar or Israeli Apatheid and I’m not a NOTORIOUS JEW HATER? WHAT? Far out, I really dropped the ball on this one. No wonder I’m not getting any sales. Speaking of dropping the ball I’m also not a rugby union player for the Cardiff Blues; this is, in fact, pretty much the exact opposite of what I am.
Notorious Jew Hater, that is a hell of a thing to be attached to your name–even to someone who just shares your name. Not just a Jew Hater, but to be SO WIDELY KNOWN as a Jew Hater that you’re actually NOTORIOUS for it? Blast damn and bugger, I’m feeling some guilt by association here.
Well, anyway, things took kind of an unexpected turn there. Now I’m seriously wondering how much of a hassle it would be to change my author name. Checking KDP and Amazon’s Author Central the answer seems to be ‘more than no hassle’ so maybe I’ll just grin and bear it.
But if you’re just starting out, on the road to authordom, let me give you this specific but pertinent piece of advice: before you choose your name, your ‘brand’ as some would have it, just take a few minutes to make sure you won’t be sharing it with an alleged Notorious Jew Hater.
BJK Factoid #45: I am never buying another Scholastic-printed book again. Their edition of Beka Cooper: Bloodhound is atrocious. Shockingly bad. Quick quiz, do you think it acceptable to hyphenate the word ‘don’t’? Like:
Say what you like but I really do-
-n’t thing that’s such a great move.
If so, you might get a job as a typesetter at Scholastic!