I made a mistake calling myself James L. Rubart.
I should have never gone with the “L”, or “James” for my pen name.
I learned this the hard way. Here’s to hoping you can avoid my error.
The Backstory and the Why
In 2008 I signed my first book deal and my publisher asked what named I wanted on the cover.
I went with James L. Rubart. I thought James sounded more “authorly” than “Jim”, plus James L. Brooks was a well known director and screen writer so I figured I’d do a little associative branding and go with the L as well.
It turns out the “L” is often skipped over. When I’m introduced for a speaking gig, or being interviewed, or mentioned in a blog post, the “L” frequently is missed.
Even my publisher (from time to time) will leave off the “L” in promotional materials. It’s just hard to remember.
Then there’s the Jim part.
All of my friends and family know me as Jim and it’s the way I introduce myself to people I meet for the first time. And it’s how I set up my Facebook profile. (My Facebook page is James L. Rubart.)
The problem of Jim vs James really hit home when I happened to see a post on a Facebook reading group I was part of as Jim.
One of the members had posted, “Do you think Jim Rubart is in any way related to James L. Rubart?”
This lady wasn’t being ignorant in any way shape or form. I was sending a confusing message. I’d given her two separate names for the same person.
After that happened I realized what is obvious to us isn’t always obvious to others. While I know I’m both James L. Rubart and Jim Rubart (most of the time anyway) other people aren’t necessarily going to make the connection.
Once you decide on your author name, you have to be that to everyone. Everywhere. At parties, at the grocery store, online, in emails, with every new person you meet. Starting now. So take the time to seriously consider what you want to be called the rest of your career and life.
For me? I think I’ll start calling myself Jamie …