I never thought that as a writer I'd be thankful for my name. Sure, I've been referred to in mystey programs as Hirahiraha (my last name is Hirahara) but that has been the exception more than the rule.

Then I read this article in the Wall Street Journal:


More and more parents-to-be are consulting Google to make sure that the names they give their children are relatively unique. How about your name? Do you share your name with a Nobel Prize-winning scientist, a carpet cleaning tycoon arrested for embezzlement, a has-been actress in Australia, or a star teen soccer player from Wichita, Kansas? Have you had to tweak your name a bit to stand out from the crowd? In other words, if we were to Google you, could we find you on the first Google page?

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Yes, I would be on the first Google page. Please ignore the Marquette State Prison lead in----I'm researching a novel. Missing from the front page was my website, gee I gotta work on that...
Are you also the herbalist? And regarding getting your website as a top search item, there is something to be done. But I can't remember. Web whizzes, can you help Mr. Leppanen out?
Yes, Naomi, you caught me, I've written for herbal and natural health magazines for a bit. Back before computers were the vogue. Like the rest of my life, there have been writing cycles...
Maybe the parent should buy the kid's domain name at birth. What a legacy?

Hey Naomi--Did you know you can GOOGLE ALERT your name (or any other search criteria) that will send you an email whenever it is posted on the Internet? Maybe someone posted a new review for your book.

It's part of the search criteria under google. When you go to google, click on the menu item to the top right that says 'more' and drill down into other search criteria--looking for Alert. Follow the instructions. I've keyed in my name and book titles so I get periodic emails from google--sending me the link where my name or books have come up. Kind of cool, if you're paranoid and want to confirmation BIG BRO is watching.
You know what, Jordan, I can see people buying domain names as baby gifts. Can't you?

And yes, I'm familiar with Google Alert, but I haven't signed up for it. I stopped reading anonymous Internet reviews. I'll obsess over the bad ones, and have come to the conclusion that anything that hinders my writing should be eliminated. I'll still read criticism from established reviewers, however, especially right after a book has been launched.
You know, Naomi--what you're saying makes a lot of sense. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.
I endured Francophobe teachers, lazy friends, and hostile drill sergeants to get to the point where my name actually fits and people have an idea as to how it's pronounced.

Now editors think I made it up.
Wow, for once I see I should be grateful for my name, which until now has been the typesetter's nightmare. Two of my own books have seen it actually mispelled, either on the spine or, once, on the bloody cover after the initial cover had been passed as OK, because some junior editor thought it sounded wrong and took it upon him or herself to change it without checking with anyone... And the same book's title page was OK. Makes you despair!

Mind you my parents were divided between Maxim and Joseph, so it could have been worse and I was named after my father's wartime machine gun rather than Stalin!

No wonder many think my books are a tad twisted....
Hello maxim,

I think I can understand your problems, although I find your name not especially difficult.
Maxim Jakubowski is a most fabulous name. And if you slightly misspell it, Google will direct you to the correct spelling.
My business stuff comes up (Julie Lewthwaite) but there are many, many Julie Wrights, so my stories don't show. Hey ho! I could fancy another name for fiction, mind... but I'll take the hint and Google it first!
There are tons of Amanda Stevens out there, including a female impersonator who uses it as her stage name.


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