Mistaken Identity: What’s In A Name — Bill Jenkins

Today I’m thrilled to welcome Bill Jenkins as he talks about identity and his author name.

I have a common name, which has led to many cases of mistaken identity . . .

For instance, in my home town, all the kids who wanted to play soccer signed up with the local Parks & Recreation department. On the appointed day we all looked through a huge list of teams in the newspaper to see who we’d be playing with. One year my name was listed with a bunch of kids I didn’t know. Oh no!

It was probably my mom who helped me look a little harder. Eventually I found “the other me” listed with guys I knew, and life was good again. But this was only my first case of mistaken identity.

The second happened when I requested a college transcript and got one showing that I had a C-minus average. Wasn’t me.

The third was when I got a bill from the hospital for a medical procedure that I’d never had. Talking my way out of that one was no easy matter. They were sure I was the right guy!

The coup de gras was when I ended up working for a guy with an identical name. Rats! He made me change mine to a slightly different form. Talk about humiliating . . .

But life didn’t get any easier when I decided to become an author. An author’s name is important for at least four reasons:

1) You should own whatever internet domain matches your author name

2) If you have a professional career (as I do), you may want to wall off your professional life from your writing activities

3) Your given name may match that of some very famous person or be difficult to pronounce

4) Your given name may not match your genre if you write fiction

There are other considerations as well. You may end up using a pen name. Or, as I did, choose a different form of your given name. I got a lot of help on this from the ACFW email loop. One of the most helpful suggestions was to listen to Thomas Umstattd Jr. and James L. Rubart talk about author names in one of their recent Novel Marketing podcasts. I listened to the podcast. And voila, I became B.L. Jenkins, aspiring author.

Technically this isn’t a pen name because I really am B.L. Jenkins. Those are my initials. But in my professional life my first name is spelled out.

So, please look for my upcoming speculative fiction novel, tentatively titled Saving Doctor Dewey, under the name B.L. Jenkins. I’ll be providing updates at www.bljenkins.com.


2 thoughts on “Mistaken Identity: What’s In A Name — Bill Jenkins

  1. Thanks Rob! That podcast from Rubart and Umstattd just seems to keep getting better and better. I listened to one this morning on the way to work about how to market your books on Amazon. Always very helpful. Blessings, Bill

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