A reader contacted me not long ago, commenting on a book she believed I’d written. She’d purchased the book solely because it had my name on the cover, and read it, fully expecting to enjoy it as much as my others. This reader had been quite surprised (and not in a good way). She figured I’d branched out or maybe it was a book I’d written long ago before settling on mail order bride historical romances. After all, lots of fiction writers publish books in more than one genre and often with significant differences in sensuality level, language, and violence.

The author’s name was so similar to mine, my fan didn’t note one minor difference.

The other author’s name has one letter different than mine. And yes, I’ve personally experienced identical names used by two (and three) authors.

Have you had a similar experience?

Top Five Ways to Tell Similarly (or Identically) Named Authors Apart:

1.  Check the known author’s website. Most authors keep their website up to date… with announcements, cover reveals, and lists of titles. When in doubt, check the source.

2.  Look for “branding”. You know Nike is Nike because of the trademarked swoosh, but even more importantly, their shoe box color(s), the shape of their brand’s name (when printed on shoe box), etc.

My brand grows stronger with every book I publish. Take a look at my book covers, and note the strong similarities between each book within a series. They match. They’re obviously related stories. The same fonts grace each cover (in the series). My “name plate” uses the same font for my name and also (in more recent releases) the same shape (stacked Kristin above Holt).

Kristin Holt purple

Tip: The visual branding clue (font selection, author name plate) doesn’t work with titles published by someone else, such as the Triple Treat Romance that includes one of my titles.

3. Branding is more than font choice or name plate. All my books are sweet western historical romances (only two-thirds of which are mail order bride romances). They’re all sweet (wholesome), all western historical romances. If I ever deviate from that “norm”, I’ll make sure my readers know. If a murder mystery seems like it’s mine, exercise caution.

4. Online Retailers have a built-in system. Amazon.com shows an author’s name beneath each digital book title. Click on that name and the link takes you to the author’s list of books. You’ll see all books available on Amazon from that author. The mega-retailer calls these pages “Amazon’s (insert author’s name here) page”. For example, see Amazon’s Kristin Holt page.

Tip: This system on Amazon only works with authors’ names. Note that series names, if a duplication of another author, will all link to the same page, regardless of author name. It does work well with unique series names.

Not all retailers are the same. On BN.com, hover the cursor over an author’s name and it turns blue (a link to another page within BN.com). This leads to a page where only that authors’ books are listed (but it looks like every other search result–see this example). Why? Each author has a different account when uploading books.

5.  Use the “Look Inside” feature (a.k.a.“Read Instantly” on BN). Click on the cover image of any Kindle edition book (on it’s own sales page) [or Nook edition book], to open the first small percentage of the book’s interior pages. Scroll down. Read the details about who published it. More importantly read the opening scene or two. Chances are you’ll recognize your favorite author’s voice and style. If the book under scrutiny is quite different than you’re used to, scan for word usage. (One reason my reader contacted me was her “surprise at the f-bomb”–as none of my books contain foul language.) This might prove an insightful clue regarding authorship.

Have you confused two or more authors? What methods you use to discern one author from another? Reply and let me know.

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Copyright © 2015 Kristin Holt, LC