Blogger: Rachel Kent
Location: Books & Such main office; Santa Rosa, Calif.
I bet most of you have heard about the Qwikster twitter news as well:
Perhaps it has has been updated by now, I haven’t researched it yet this week, but here’s the situation in brief:
When Netflix launched the Qwikster brand, they didn’t get a registered trademark for the name “Qwikster.” A man on Twitter has the tweet name “Qwikster” already and tweets about profane things with his icon set as a pot-smoking Elmo picture. Twitter doesn’t allow for usernames to be purchased from their users, and the man isn’t willing to give up his tweet ID.
How does this story relate to you as writers? My advice to you is to be careful to research all aspects of your name when you are deciding which name to be published under. There could be other writers out there writing under your same name. This doesn’t mean that you have to use a different name, but you should weigh the pros and cons of choosing the same name.
For example, one of my clients has a name that another author has already produced two self-published romances under. My author decided to go ahead with using her name (after consulting with her agent) because the self-pubbed author was someone who wouldn’t likely cause readers to become confused. My author didn’t look much like the other writer either, so if someone was misled for a little while, they’d realize easily two different people have the same name. My author was able to grab the web domain with her name and tweets with that name as well. She did the right thing though. She looked into who was using her name and decided that she was able to go ahead with it after securing the social media pages under that name brand.
Another author I know was unable to get the website with her writer name. She was already quite well established, but when you typed her writer name into the web browser, you’d come to a site with pornographic pictures. She had tried to purchase her domain name, but the people who had it were holding onto it unless she paid them a ridiculous sum of money. She was able to write them a cease and desist letter for attaching her brand to pornography, and they did change the site, but she still has been unable to secure it even after consulting with a brand lawyer.
Do your research ahead of time, so that you aren’t faced with these awful online problems like Qwikster and these writers. Search out your brand name online and secure it before your name is ever printed on a book cover.
What comes up first when you google your name? Is it you? What have you done to research and secure your name?
If you are already published, start doing what you can do secure your brand name as well. Hopefully this won’t involve lawyers, but at times you really do need to do your best to secure your name so your readers can easily find you–without surprises along the way.