Monday, October 19, 2009

The Writer Formerly Known as Dawn VanderMeer ;)

I've decided to write under a new name. Actually, it's an old one since it's my maiden name: Dawn Simon.

You likey? I hope so.

I'm still Dawn VanderMeer in "real life", and I'm still happily married. No need for Internet rumors! Hubby Jim fully supports this, if you're wondering.

Changing my writing name was a BIG decision. And a hard one--I like both names. The thing is, I've contemplated this quite a bit over the last few years. I finally made a pros & cons list, and each side had quite a few points on it. But the pros won.

One pro-change reason: Simon is easier to remember and spell, which is good for a business name. I get a lot of "Vander-something", VandeMeer, or Van Der Mere. You can't really mess up Simon without trying.

Also, I now get an extra link to my parents and my brothers. I haven't been Dawn Simon since Jim and I got married eighteen years ago. It might be fun to have one name in my personal world and one name in my writing world. A little like Miley and Hannah Montana, only I'm not a teenager, I can't sing well, I'm not famous, and I don't have a secret identity. I did say a little. You may even think I look like Miley Cyrus if you squint, tilt your head, and get your eyes dilated. We both have legs. And heads.

Once I knew I'd eventually change my name, sooner seemed wiser than later. Every year, I meet more writers, agents, and editors. And then there's the Internet presence we're all supposed to be building. Why build under one name and then switch?

At this point, I don't even want to switch blogspot addresses because I'm afraid I'll lose some followers. With "dawnvandermeer" still in the blogspot URL, I hope I don't confuse people. Jim set it up so if you type or, it will take you to my blog. He really is a computer guru.

Have you ever thought about writing under another name? If you did, what would you choose?


Lydia Sharp said...

I like the switch. As long as you keep "Dawn", I'm okay with it. Kind of partial to that because it's my middle name. ;)

Lydia Sharp is a pen name. Similar to my real married name (Olivia Sharpnack), but easier to write and easier to remember. It just has more POP. And fortunately, my husband matched his pen name to mine, so we still look like we're married to the public eye. He is Joe Sharp, which is very close to his real name (Joseph Sharpnack).

That's the name I use for sci-fi and fantasy. I actually have another pen name for my women's fiction, but I can't reveal that to the public just yet (sorry! some things are still in the works). It's completely different from my real name, but kind of takes me back to my Italian roots, and again, it has a nice ring to it. I think that's the most important thing when choosing a name. It has to be memorable and easy to publicize.

Natalie said...

I like Dawn Simon--it's a good writer's name. My maiden name was very ordinary so I'm pretty grateful that I married someone with an unusual last name.

Deb@RGRamblings said...

Hi Dawn Simon! I liked VanderMeer as well--I had to look to see how to spell it though, so you have a good point there.

Nice change! You're smart to change it early on so it becomes familiar. I'm still working on a pen name. I think I'll stick with family names too...

Susan R. Mills said...

Well, you know, I just had this same dilemma. I kept my real name and added my middle initial. I think you made the right choice. Simon is definitely easier to spell. How did your hubby set that computer thing up, though? I want to change my URL as well, but I have the same fear as you.

Dawn Simon said...

Thanks, Lydia with the beautiful middle name--hee! ;) I like both your real name and your pen name, but you're right--Lydia Sharp has more POP. That is so cool that you and your husband have matching pen names! Your women's fiction pen name has me curious--I look forward to learning it. It's nice that you're going back to your roots; that can make the name feel extra special. :)

Thanks, Natalie! I like Natalie Bahm too. It sounds classy and warm. Isn't it funny how we want the perfect amount of ordinary--not too much, not too little?

Hi, Deb! :) And thank you. Yeah, I thought it was good to do it sooner rather than later, once I decided I definitely wanted to make the change. I wonder what you'll pick!

Thanks, Susan. Isn't it funny that we were both thinking writing names at the same time? I'll come back this evening to tell you my husband's explanation of what he did. I know he got me both URL's. My understanding is he just has them point at my blog somehow--the blog has a different URL. But I'm far from tech savvy, as you know, so I'll come back later and tell you.

Travener said...

I have such a goofy surname that I have thought of writing under another, but in the end figured I should honor my ancestors (at least, the males ones responsible for the name).

Roni @ FictionGroupie said...

I like the change, definitely easier to spell. I'm going through the same dilemma, but more because of the fact that some of my writing is a little naughty, lol.

Also, people never know how to pronounce my name. It's spelled like Rice-a-Roni, but pronounced Ronnie. I've considered changing mine to Ronni. I've also thought about just coming up with a whole new name. I keep throwing contenders at my husband, lol. It's driving him crazy.

Dawn Simon said...

Travener, goofy isn't bad. :) One of the drawbacks of Dawn Simon is how many of us are out there. (As I said, both names have pros and cons.) Goofy can make you stand apart from the crowd.

Thanks, Roni. Maybe you'll write YA under one name and romance under another? I knew you were Roni (correct pronunciation), but adding one "n" isn't a bad idea. It'd be a heck of a lot easier than changing your name. BTW, I told my husband your comment and he said maybe he'll start a group called the S.O.W.S. - Spouses of Writers Support. ;)

Susan, my husband's answer to your question: "Linking both URLs ( and to her blog was fairly straight forward. I set up a re-direct for each of these domains to point to This can be done via the register who is hosting your domain (such as or - in other words, whichever one you used to register the domain. You can go to the URL profile and specify a re-direct domain to which you want to forward that specific domain."

Chelle Sandell said...

I considered a few options but eventually decided to use my married name. I know some authors are concerned with family privacy issues and prefer to use a pseudonym.

... Paige said...

I write online under a pen name, all my dear Internets know this, but they don’t know my “real” one. Long stalker story…any who I submit my work under a form of my real name for paper printing. The hard part is keeping myself in the right name of mind.

I say go for it, not that you need my permission. When I hear Vander-whatever I always think of Vandalay (sp?) Enterprises, from Seinfeld.

Stephanie Faris said...

When I was married, I wrote under my maiden name and I still do now that I'm divorced. I'll stick to that even if I get married, although my boyfriend has a very writer-friendly last name, Berry, that I think might work too!

Tamika: said...

Well, hello Dawn Simon. I like how that just rolls off the tongue!

Congratulations on the switch, it sounds like everyone agrees that it works well.

Looking forward to plenty of success for Dawn Simon!

Jennifer Shirk said...

I like both names, so I think you're covered either way. :)

I thought about changing my name, too, but I confuse mysef too easily. LOL!

Scott said...

Well... you know my story so I won't belabor the point. Sometimes, though, too familiar or 'vanilla' a name can be a hazard of its own kind.

Anyway, I think Simon's a great name for a YA author. Pleased to meetcha, Dawn Simon. A bold move!

Dawn Maria said...

I felt strongly that I wanted a pseudonym. Part of it was to protect my real life privacy and the other part had to do with writing being my dream, and I wanted the name on the byline to just represent me. I kept my first name, Dawn (which is a great name BTW) and Maria is what my grandpa used to call me when I was I trouble- "Dawn Maria!" Funny because my middle name is really Marie.

At times it's a pain, like when I apply to conferences and residencies- which name do I use? But overall I'm glad to have the separation between my personal life and my writer life.