The One (But Not Only) Alana Woods

A guest post
by Alana Woods

I won’t keep you long but this is a lesson every yet-to-publish author really should read.

It’s a lesson in doing your homework before committing yourself publishing-wise.

My first published book AUTOMATON went to print in 2001. I used my own name—Alana Woods—because I‘ve never seen the point of using a pseudonym. I want everyone, and I mean everyone, to know that it was ME, yes ME, who wrote it.

I self published and hawked the first print run of 1000 around bookshops all down Australia’s eastern seaboard on what my husband John and I euphemistically called working holidays. With the second print run of 2000 we thought we’d cut out the middlemen and direct sell so we hired space at markets and shows and gave author talks in libraries and clubs, anywhere I could get an invitation, and it worked. We sold all the books and I accumulated a fan base that was loyal because they knew me personally.

To cut a fairly long story short it never occurred to me back then to check for other authors called Alana Woods. In fact, I’d never met or heard of anyone else with the name of Alana let alone Alana Woods. Not in Australia, and that was my market.

Foolishly I took the same attitude when going global and republishing AUTOMATON almost simultaneously with my second novel IMBROGLIO on CreateSpace and Amazon.

I didn’t do a search for either my name or the books’ titles.

I can live with other books having the same titles as mine. I don’t view that as a killer.

But having to share my name and therefore having the other author’s books appearing with mine in a search is constantly annoying to me and would be confusing for readers.

It carries over to social media. Fortunately I snapped up years ago and years before I actually got around to a website. Unfortunately I didn’t do the same with Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest. So now there’s always the worry that people don’t associate them with me.

I’ve tried to overcome it by using the same author pic across all sites and pages and I’m hoping that works. Goodreads is the odd site out. It has resisted my efforts to update my profile pic. That’s another lesson come to think of it. Choose a photo you’re happy with and use it everywhere to build recognition.

If I had done a name search I would have gone with either Alana E Woods or AE Woods as neither were taken at the time. I could have used whichever I chose right across the board: books, sites and pages.

The Grrr in the header isn’t aimed at the other author with my name, it’s aimed squarely at me for not checking.

So before you irrevocably put your name on your book, before you irrevocably enter it into the CreateSpace, Amazon and other sites’ databases, and before you start building brand recognition, unless you don’t mind, for example, your suspense novels being grouped with music and alternative remedies, I urge you to DO A SEARCH.

Alana Woods took to heart the maxim ‘Write what you know’. Her two published literary suspense novels were sparked by jobs she has held: AUTOMATON by five years in court reporting and IMBROGLIO after several years at a weapons research facility. She’s working on a third, DRAGLINE, corporate legal suspense, building on insider knowledge gained while working with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. An editor by profession Alana has also published a guide for aspiring authors called 25 ESSENTIAL WRITING TIPS: GUIDE TO WRITING GOOD FICTION. You can learn more about Alana on her website and her Amazon author page.

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8 thoughts on “The One (But Not Only) Alana Woods”

  1. Thanks for your story, Alana, and sorry for your headaches. There’s another Lynne Cantwell, but she plays soccer or rugby or something. Since I don’t look like a rugby star, I figure I’m okay, lol.

  2. Excellent advice! Believe it or not the only other Jen Smith’s out in the World Wide Web are a surfer chick and a jewelry maker and I come up first in Google. I did check the name out before I decided on it.

  3. Wise words Alana. I decided my name was unique enough to use and there are not any other Carol E Wyers out there but people keep spelling it incorrectly so I lose out too. I think I might take up a pseudonym – is Erma Bombeck taken?

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