Ask Daphne! What about my name?

Some particularly unusual shoes (they’re made of paper!) for KS, who asked in a comment on another post:

I have a pretty unusual name, but there’s another writer out there with the very same first/last name who’s posted her own stuff (which isn’t spellbinding) on writing.com. I’m scared to death anyone Googling my name will find her stuff and assume it’s mine. Am I right to be worried? When I Google myself with “writer” in the search, it’s the first thing that pops up.

Ugh. That’s annoying, and I’m sorry for it. Have either of you been published professionally, as far as you know, or can you only find her work on writing.com? If neither of you has a professional track record, and you’re incredibly attached to your name, exactly as you’ve always used it, I’d advise you to get to work building your internet presence. The best way to knock her name off the top of the Google search results page is to make sure Google finds you first, more often, and more helpfully. Comment on blogs in your own name! Make sure your website has your name all over it! Post regularly on any number of different forums!
The other option, of course, if you’re not yet published widely, is to use a different name, or a different version of your name. I could be Kate Schafer, for instance, or Kate Testerman, or Katie Testerman, or KS Testerman, or Kathleen Schafer, or any one of a dozen different options using my middle name, my confirmation name, or a version of a family name. And I have…
Pick a name that you can see yourself using for years to come and start building a new internet presence with it. It sucks to feel like you have to give up your identity, but consider if you hit the jackpot and become Nora Roberts or Stephenie Meyers levels of famous — do you want anyone who Googles you then to be able to come up with your high school achievements, embarrassing Facebook photos, or other telltale details of your true identity?

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