An Author By Any Other Name

I need to decide on my byline.

Scott Shanks


R. Scott Shanks, Jr.

Is there any reason to prefer one over the other? I considered writing under the name “Roger Zelazny”, but a Google search showed that someone had taken it already.

16 thoughts on “An Author By Any Other Name”

  1. Coming at it from a stage perspective, ‘Scott Shanks’ is the far better choice. Flows better on the tongue, easier to remember, easier to file on the shelf.

  2. I tend to agree. Start with Scott Shanks. Then when your output is too excessive, or you want to change genres, switch to something else… like R.S. Scott.

  3. Go with what’s easy to remember and that’s only if you can get the dot com domain name for it. If not, make up something equally easy to remember that you *can* get the dot com domain name for. I’m not kidding.

    1. Only for dot coms? Not dot nets?

      I am, in fact, taking your advice seriously. Apparently some entrepreneur has gone out and purchased already, no doubt with an eye toward reselling it at ruinous rates later. Damn his eyes, anyway.

  4. ooh yeah. Hot Nekkid Author!
    (that would really work)

    I was going to suggest:
    Scott Shanks – easy to remember, quicker to write /say vs, “hey have you read the book by R. Scott Shanks, Jr.?” vs “Have you read Scott Shank’s new book?”

    1. In fact, I think that for common usage “R. Scott Shanks, Jr.” is pretty unwieldy…but when I sent out Sight Unseen last night, I did so under that byline. Apparently I have issues of identity wrapped up in this.

      Which, I feel, has very little to do with what is, in fact, a business decision. Happily, I don’t have to decide for good-and-all until I have offers or decide to purchase the domain name.

      Karen’s point is well taken; I need to buy a domain, even if I don’t have use for one as yet.

      1. Of course you must realize that if you post both forms of your name on the internet, your former classmates may be able to identify you pretty easily.

        How’ve you been, man?

        Mary from HPE 295

        1. I’m entirely happy to be identified, by classmates or otherwise.

          How’ve I been…I took a slow-motion stroll through several sorts of self-inflicted hell, and came back again with insights of the human condition that will, in due course, cause readers far and wide to feel their breath catch in their throats.

          How have you been? Has your expanded knowledge of Health and Fitness stood you in good stead?

          1. Still breathing, if that’s what you mean. I still remember that the fat soluable vitamins are D, E, K, and A and I still haven’t found a good use for that information.

            I’m back at CCC. I walk through buildings and wonder whatever happened to all those vociferous students I knew in the 90’s.

            I’d like to hear about your hell-tripping (I’m envious–I’ve had a very quiet decade) but don’t want to inquire in a public forum. I’ve browsed through your site a little. Do I understand this correctly? Your daughter (Stephanie?) is married? And you have a grandbaby now? A dozen+ years will give you these gifts, I suppose.

            Good to read that you’re alive and well.


            P.S. On the off chance that there are two Robert Scott Shanks Jr.’s and I’m writing to someone I never knew, I humbly apologize. In this circumstance, however, you should be advised that the coincidence in names is unremarkable when compared to the coincidence in lexicon. I would have bet hundreds that no one else would name his blog “Epinephrine and Sophistry.” šŸ™‚

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