What's in a name?

By Any Other Name

An author friend of mine has recently had a hard blow dealt her. A prominent romance author has just released a book with her next book’s title. What does she do? How important is it to be unique?

Deadly Legacy started off as just Legacy. Not only were there other books by that title, but one of them was being released by my publisher. No surprise to me. Catherine Astolfo, author of Legacy (An Emily Taylor Mystery) and I bonded over our mutual title. Recently, I checked and found over 2,000 results on the name legacy - which would have included both Cathy's and my books.

You want to stand apart, but doing it on name alone ain’t gonna happen.

I grew up never knowing another Alison, let alone another Alison Bruce. Now I can think of half a dozen without trying. Thanks to social media, a few of us have been mistaken for each other and, as a result, reached out and connected. There’s an Alison Bruce who is a journalist and writing teacher in Toronto, another who is a librarian in Scotland, and a student in California. That doesn’t even include the Australian actress and American physicist who I haven’t communicated with yet.

Then there’s Alison Bruce, author of the DC Goodhew novels. We crossed paths when someone contacted me about her agent. It was particularly confusing because I had also contacted that agency and hadn’t heard back from them. We started exchanging emails and discovered that we both live within 18 km of Cambridge (England for her, Ontario for me), have two kids, and write mysteries.

I am sure that at least a few people in the UK have checked out Deadly Legacy because they thought it might be a book in her series. I know that several people in Canada and the US have checked out her books because they thought I was the author. 

I’ve got the email queries to prove it.

“Did you know...?”

“Yes I did,” I’d answer and share the story of how we “met”.

What’s in a name? Maybe a few more book sales. Definitely a few new friends.