What’s in a Name?


NameYesterday, I changed the title of my blog. I also changed the domain name of my blog. And lastly, but most importantly, I changed my name. Why, you ask?  Age bias.

My given name is Lois. My mom just always liked that name. Since I started writing seriously, I set up a Google Alert and receive an email every time Lois Hoffman is mentioned on the web. The problem lies in the fact that nearly every week I get an email with an obituary for Lois Hoffman. Lois is an old fashioned name and I’m not old.

Publishers and agents are looking for writers that have their careers ahead of them. If you are not famous now when writing your first book, the people in charge of your fate as an author want to make sure you have the time and the energy to promote your book and write that next one. When they open up my manuscript, do they look at the name Lois Hoffman and trash it? Has a judgement already been handed down before my work has ever been read?

So, as a person who looks at life as a glass half full, I have made a choice. It’s an experiment really. While I can’t erase all existence of Lois without starting from scratch, my writer self can become someone else. I thought about J.K. Hoffman, but ultimately decided against it. Instead, I’ve become Emily (my middle name) – the younger, more vibrant, most definitely alive Emily Hoffman.

It’s going to take some work. I still have to change my bio, my twitter account, and who knows what else. Will it be worth it? Only time will tell. Look for me soon @emilyhoffmanDE on Twitter.

What does your name say about you? Do you think you are prejudged by your name in this fiercely competitive business?


About Lois Hoffman

Juggling is not just a metaphor for my life. I write children's stories, poems, and articles about parenting and all things related to food. I am also a juggler and children's entertainer with my husband, Michael as The Juggling Hoffmans. I am the mother of 2 and live in Newark, Delaware, where I cheer and juggle for the University of Delaware Fighting Blue Hens.

4 responses »

  1. Your post today touches on a notion close to my heart: the idea of reinvention of the self. It seems a pronounced American notion and is full of energy. Two years ago my nephew was sitting in my kitchen about to go off to college for the first time. Scott, I said, do you ever thing about going to college and completely reinventing yourself? He looked at me, mouth open, Uncle Doug, I think about it all the time. I can’t believe you said that! (He thought he’d had an original idea. Poor child, not knowing how very rare they are!) The premise to your changes is quite interesting and I applaud you as Emily.

    BTW, my name, Doug, means Dweller by the dark river. I love that too much to change it.

    • Ooops. I commented before I logged in. I went from Lois to Emily to Anonymous. I don’t think I like that.

      Thanks for your comment, Doug. I like your name, too. I’ll have to see how well the experiment works. I’ll have to continue working hard on my writing and do Emily justice.

  2. What’s in a name? Try Finocchiaro on for size. It’s kind of like Pinocchio, only more complicated. People can’t pronounce it or spell it. I still have to make sure all the letters are there when I sign a check. I have grown to love it and of this week on google, I am the only Arlene Finocchiaro in the USA–unlike the Lois Hoffman problem.

    So I’m counting on the uniqueness of my name to be my saving grace!

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