Help Me Choose My Name

As most of you have seen, I’ve sold my first short story. I’ve always had a question as to what I should call myself should I ever get published and now, I need your help in deciding.

I originally thought going with Kate Baker would be the best, only because I’ve been using that name over at Clarkesworld Magazine for all the podcasts I’ve done. However, and its a good point — more than one person has commented how close the name is to the late Kage Baker. The last thing I would want to do is create confusion or look like I’m attempting to ride on such a wonderful author’s reputation.

So below — I’ve created a poll. These are the names I’m considering.

Choice 1 – Kate Baker (Again — name I’ve been using for CW Podcasts but nothing writing related.)
Choice 2 – Kathryn E. Baker – This is the name I legally sign
Choice 3 – Kathryn Nerys Baker – A name I came up with to sound like a writer 😉
Choice 4 – Kathryn N. Baker – A variation of the writerly name
Choice 5 – Kathryn E. Wittmer – My maiden name
Choice 6 – Kathryn Baker (Suggested a few times, decided to add it)

If you have a choice that may sound better (serious names only, please) leave them in the comments.

14 thoughts on “Help Me Choose My Name

  1. I went with Kate Baker since you’re already using that for podcasts. But since I use my full name, Philip Edward Kaldon (or Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon), feel free to ignore that and go with a longer form. (grin)

    Dr. Phil

  2. I’m going with “Kate Baker” because it’s a name you’ve been using, one that has some recognition and will hopefully trigger a “that Kate Baker” reaction. But I think “Kathryn E. Baker” and “Kathryn E. Wittmer” would both look pretty classy in a TOC, so those are close second choices. Or on a cover–“New Fiction By Kathryn E. Baker,” f’r’instance, has a kind of old-school feel, like something that might appear on the cover of Analog or something.

    Nonetheless, first choice should probably be the name you’re most-widely-recognized under, lest you dilute your “brand” so to speak. (If you do go with a different literary name, should you also change your podcast name?)

    Hope that helps!

  3. As a friend and editor of the late Kage Baker, I can truly understand your concern. Many authors, once published, have changed to one that is more formal, so to speak. I agree with Nathan above: I would have selected “Kathryn Baker” (no middle initial) had it been an option.

    Marty Halpern

  4. Tania says:

    I went with Kathryn E. Baker. I like imagining it on a cover. Looks pretty, in my head.

    Yeah, not the most reasoned or rational decision process, but it is mine.

  5. As a creative artist, your name is your brand. You can have more than one brand, if you choose – look at Sheila Kelly (SL Viehl, Lynn Viehl, Rebecca Kelly, etc). Of course, she’s more prolific than five other average humans. 😀

    I like Kate Baker because it’s short and snappy, and because you have some brand recognition already. You could also choose to separate your podcasting/voice work brand from your writing brand – and may decide to, so that they stand on their own and succeed or fail separately.

    Personally I wouldn’t worry about the Kage/Kate bit, because hers is such a very unusual name.

    Kathryn sounds more formal but also slightly more antiquated – more a writer of literature or gothic fiction than a speculative fiction author. But that’s just me.

    Good luck – and I’m so happy you’re at a point in your career you get to MAKE this decision! 😀

    (Oh, you could go with something totally different too – like Katie Bravo or something… 😉 )

  6. I voted for Kathryn E. Baker mainly to avoid the potential confusion with Kage Baker.

    I have the same dilemma with my name. Andrew Taylor is a British mystery writer and Andy Taylor is well – do I even have explain that one? (Duran Duran / Sheriff of Mayberry)

    I have decided to use Andy W. Taylor (when I get published).

    Good luck. Does this mean you have impending professional publications coming?

  7. Congratulations on your published story! I like Kathryn Baker because it’s distinct from Kage Baker yet succinct. I think you have mostly good options there. Here’s to a lot more publications in the future!

  8. Jason says:

    I’m going with Kate Baker, predominantly because this is the name you are “social” under. I’m looking to save you work in the long run, here, Kate! Do you really want to have to make a separate Twitter/facebook account just so your legions of fans can find their favorite author?

    Also, Haley recommends, “Katercakes.” I think single-name authors could be the next big thing.

  9. Ugh, i want to vote twice! I like choices three and five. Nothing against Kate Baker, but I think as an author you’d want something a little less…common? popular? I don’t know what the exact word is I’m looking for, but it just seems like you need a more stand-out, original name. Does that make sense?

    (And what story did you sell?!?! And to where?!? And have you told Edwina?!?! She will be so proud!)

  10. I went with your “legal” name, but no matter what you choose, you’ll always be “R. Kate Baker” (our mispronounced) to me. The Kate Baker who is part of R leet group. 🙂

  11. I headed to Amazon to see if any of those names already had authors attached to them.

    Kate Baker – 1 book, non-fiction. You are already building name recognition with this.
    Kathryn E. Baker – no books. Looks good on paper and is close to your use name.
    Kathryn E. Wittmer – no books. Distinctive, but near the end of the alphabet
    Kathryn Nerys Baker – no books. Oddly, doesn’t look real to me.
    Kathryn N. Baker – no books. If your name ever appeared in all caps, the double N would look odd.
    Kathryn Baker – Several books. Too common.

    I’d stick with either Kate Baker because there’s not enough similarity to other writers. Your twitter stream also comes up #5 in the google search for Kate Baker. I do understand your worry about Kage Baker, but I think it’s really not an issue.

    However, I can also see an argument for picking a name that is clean on Google.

  12. I think that Jeri and Mary have a point about your existing brand. You are already known in the SFF community, and it’s good to build on the existing reputation.

    If you didn’t use the existing name, then Kathryn E. Baker or Kathryn N. Baker are strongest.

    You might want to ask Kris Rusch about this — she uses more names than anyone can remember, and she’s probably thought pretty hard about the issue.

  13. Scott says:

    Kate E. Baker was the alternative I thought of when I saw the choices. It reduces the possible confusion to Kage Baker and it is a play on Katey Baker. Of course, if you hate the moniker Katey…

    Congrats on getting published. I enjoy your readings at Clarkesworld and EP.

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