Apparently, it’s the Macquarie Dictionary word of the year. They are, of course, people with the same name as you that appear in an internet search of your own name. Not, as in the photo, people who look scarily like you. And who knows, maybe it will need Andy Murray to wear a spidey-suit for him to win Wimbledon. No, googlegängers are name-only likenesses. It can be a fun activity, finding out that your googlegänger in Australia is a multimillionaire (if only that cheque might get misdirected in the post). Not so funny if he’s a convicted serial killer (I have my alibi ready).
Not so funny, too, if you’re an author and there are other guys/gals with exactly the same name. It’s a faff on Goodreads, but at least they recognise the problem:
“Occasionally you may come across an author profile that encompasses two or more authors of the same name. In order to separate these authors and their respective books you will need to identify which books belong to which author. Once you have, leave one author alone and for the second, go into the edit page of each of their books and add an additional space between their first and last name.
This will create a new author profile for the second author.
If by chance there is a third author of the same name (which has happened), simply add a third space between the author’s first and last name.
NOTE: The ^ = 1 space and is just used to demonstrate the number of spaces. Also please note that any new books by the authors of that name will be entered into the main profile by default. They will have to be edited once they are added to Goodreads to shift them to the right profile. ”
So there you go.
Or–you could just change your name and look for something a little more unique. Zidbod X Garblesplat did cross my mind for the briefest of milliseconds. But then I saw sense and realized that it was probably a character from a DC comic dredged up from my subconscious filing cabinet. Far better, if you’re set on changing, to not stray too far from the one you chose right at the start. For me, having found two other RA Joneses—both of whom, to make it worse, are genre linked to me–I just couldn’t get rid of the niggly itch. And so, I’ve done it. I am now no longer R A Jones, but Rhys A Jones. Of course, there must be other Rhys A Joneses out there, but hopefully not on Goodreads or Amazon. And by not changing the initials, my website and emails don’t need to be touched.
And Rhys? Well, it was my dad’s name and of course, in the UK, people can pronounce it because they know Griff Rhys Jones and elsewhere, now that he’s becoming Hollywood’s go to arch villain, Rhys Ifans probably has other people tell everyone how to properly pronounce his name. If you need any help–the ‘h’ is soft in Welsh and ‘y’ can be pronounced several ways—but for Rhys its pronounced ‘ee’. So think Reece Witherspoon, and why not?
- a Welsh given name (usually male), famous in Welsh history
- a surname of Welsh origin that means “Dragon“, “fervour”, “passion”, “ultimate strength”, “king” or “zeal”
- It’s also my dad’s name!
Not a lot of people know that.
Rhys A Jones