Your Author Name

If you want to become rich and famous, it's important to have a distinctive name that's easy to remember. 

“Jor-El" is the name of Superman’s Kryptonian father. It's unique and distinctive. So is the name of Marlon Brando who played the part. "Marlon Brando" was Marlon Brando's birth name. Marion Morrison was less fortunate. He had to change his name to become "John 'Duke' Wayne." Stephen King’s name is neither unique nor distinctive. But, after selling perhaps 300 million books, he probably doesn’t suffer from the existence of others with the same name. 

English punk rocker Declan MacManus morphed into a more memorable “Elvis Costello.” On the other hand, film critic Elvis Mitchell was apparently born an Elvis. Don Novello wrote books as “Lazlo Toth,” and appeared on TV as “Father Guido Sarducci.”

It’s not unusual for a writer to use a pen name (nom de plume in French). “Mark Twain” is probably the most famous fake. Twain’s real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens, but he also used the alias Sieur Louis de Conte.

If you have a common name like “Bill Smith,” you might be more easily found and better remembered if you change it to “Hamburger Smith” or “Xavier Nguyen Bacciagalupe.”


Sometimes just a slight change can do the job. “F. Scott Fitzgerald” is probably a better choice than Francis or Frankie Fitzgerald.  Bill Smith might be better remembered as “William Harrington Smith” or “Billy D. Smith.” Edward Jay Epstein has written more than a dozen books, perhaps with more success than hundreds of ordinary Ed Epsteins.

If you want to become famous, don't be reluctant to borrow fame.


Call yourself Carol Kennedy or Steve King if you like. Maybe you won't get sued.