Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Witness Protection

Just for kicks and giggles I posted the blurb for my novel on the Kindle Boards for feedback. I mean, I knew it needed serious work as I'm complete rubbish at blurbs, hence the feedback request. What I didn't expect was for one of the feedbackers (I don't think that's a word, but hey.) to point out that my protagonist had the same last name as the protag in a popular urban fantasy series by a well known author.

Now it wasn't like the last name was Frekkledink or Von Strottenheimer. It was Morgan. Morgan is a relatively common name, so I never really thought about it. Heck, I've never even read the series in question. Technically I named my character (Bailey Morgan) after Derek Morgan, Shemar Moore's character on Criminal Minds. Observe:

Yeah, yeah. I know. Cheap tricks. Haha. But come on. He's soooo pretty!

Ahem. Right. Back to the subject at hand.

Many people on KB suggested this wasn't a problem. The name is common. I didn't do it on purpose. Big whoop.

But the fact is that not only is it the same genre, but both Bailey and the character from the other series have red hair. They deal with supernatural creatures (Sort of a must for UF.). And both books are in first person. Superficial similarities, but similarities none the less.

It's stupid, I'll admit. Can you imagine if you had to go through every book in your genre to make sure you didn't use some other character's surname and thus be accused of "copying"? It could take decades.Unfortunately all it takes is one jackass to claim I'm "copying" and I'll end up spending the rest of my writing career trying to prove I didn't. Ain't worth it.

So, I've decided to do the last thing on earth I ever wanted to do: change Bailey's name. Enter Witness Protection. It wasn't easy, believe me. I've lived with her so long, but Bailey Morgan is now Morgan Bailey.

I just hope nobody famous wrote a series of books about someone with the surname Bailey. I might really throw a tantrum.


  1. I love the name Bailey. Did you ever see WKRP in Cincinnati? Formative years for me. I don't know what was formed exactly, but I love the name.

    But shoot! now that you've used it, I'll never be able to.

    From now on, all characters need to have completely original names. Too bad Kindle won't let you use dingbats like ex-Prince.

  2. Someone should make a crowd-sourced searchable database that lists all instances of a name being used.

    Anyone know a super-programmer?

  3. Gretchen - Hey, I'm in total agreement, but there were enough people thinking it might be a problem that I thought I'd avoid the issue. Especially as the series (and author) in question are extremely well known and popular in the same genre. It's hard, because I still think of her as Bailey, but Morgan really kicks ass, too.

    Someone else pointed out that "Bailey" wasn't a popular name until the 90s so it's too young for my character. Um, hello. WKRP Cininnati! lol

    Hektor - Now there's an idea! lol