What’s in a Name?
Branding ourselves as authors on our platforms, social media and blogs with alias names or unrelated names for the work we produce, sometimes becomes an oversight as time passes and we connect with a growing readership. It’s essential to build a platform as published authors to gain new readership and let the world know that us and our books exist. But many of us don’t realize that not using our name (or pen name) for these purposes, can potentially present problems down the line.
I broke the rules before I even published my first book.
My Twitter handle is pretty out there when I share links and retweets. In fact, if you’ve ever read any guest posts by me and saw my shared social links below a post, you’d see a little tag line beside my Twitter URL stating: “Yes, there’s a story to this name.” – Pokercubster.
I’ve had that on my links for so long, but only recently while I was guest posting at Esmesalon, did I get questioned about it from Esme and Carol Taylor of Retired and No One Told Me. I thought it was funny because nobody ever cared to ask until then.
When I began writing my book and working on my platform by adding new social media accounts, I already had a Twitter account I’d opened in 2010, so I was good . . . or so I thought. As I was getting closer to publication date and adding my social links to the back of my book, I began to question myself about keeping that handle I’d already established on Twitter. I already had a few hundred followers and wasn’t sure if I should start fresh or grow it. The problem was the name I went by, that handle was related to my name I went by when I used to play online poker and went to Las Vegas frequently to play in some live tournaments. I also visited the World Series of Poker there two years in a row where I’d befriended some pro poker players, so I didn’t want to lose the connections.
Me and a few pros I jumped in photo ops with:
In hindsight, I should have ditched the handle because it doesn’t have any bearing on my writing name, but I did seek some advice from my then mentor, almost famous now, horror author, James Thorn, who had basically held my hand through beta reading and the publishing process. I asked James what his thoughts were about my dilemma.
He responded by asking me if the handle had anything to do with me or my ‘book’. At the time, it was my first book and I couldn’t see the long term. I told him in my past I’d worked in the gaming industry for quite a few years from casino to private companies dealing Blackjack and Poker and moving up to Pit Boss, and of course, it was my passion for playing poker where I’d play online tournaments in the evenings and weekends. And I told him I mentioned a bit of my ‘dealing days’ in my book.
Playing poker online, I’d chosen that name for my avatar. Nobody uses their real name and my husband calls me by the nickname ‘Cub’, so I thought it was slick to be the Pokercubster. Besides, I didn’t want to be Pokercub without the ‘ster’ on it because I didn’t want to be mistaken for a baseball Cub’s fan when my team is the Toronto Blue Jays.
James told me I then had a choice to make, but if I felt okay with it to keep it. Foolishly, I did. I say foolishly because really, the name has no bearing on my writing life now, I was sentimentally attached to it. And so, in honor of the ‘good old days’, studying and playing professional poker, I became a writer and continued to build my following as Pokercubster on Twitter.In hindsight, I should have used my author name for my Twitter handle, but I decided to remain as @pokercubster Click To Tweet
I sure do miss those exciting days. My passion for writing took over my passion for poker, and the long hours it took to play a tournament became gobbled up by the longer hours taken to become a writer, publisher, blogger and marketer. Would I change anything about that now? The answer is no, not even my Twitter handle.