I fancy myself a writer.

What’s in a (my) name?

July 2013 picture of me wearing explorer hat

My ex-husband’s father’s girlfriend took this picture of me recently. Do I look like an Amanda or a Mandy to you?

When my mom was pregnant with me, she wanted to name me Mandy. I think this was around the time Barry Manilow’s song, Mandy came out. My dad said there was no way he was naming his kid Mandy. So they settled for Amanda, which happens to also be a family name.

Then I was born, and my dad was the first person to call me Mandy rather than Amanda. The nickname stuck, and I have been Mandy my whole life to everyone but my grandmothers, some schoolteachers, and an ex-boyfriend who insisted on calling me Amanda despite the fact that it irritated the hell out of me (only special people get to call me Amanda, and he just wasn’t that special.)

When I set up my online portfolio and blog a couple of years ago, I set it up using the name Mandy because that’s what everyone calls me. Now that I am seriously considering actually getting something published, I think I want to publish under the more formal name, Amanda L. Webster.

Here’s the problem: My portfolio website is registered under the URL mlwebster.com. When I do publish, if people want to find me, will the “ml” instead of “al” throw them off? I’ve also been building my brand under the name Mandy Webster for a couple of years now. Do Google and other search engines recognize Mandy as a synonym for Amanda? Will I lose those years of keyword building and have to start over?

I think if I am going to sell my writing under the name, “Amanda L. Webster,” I should probably start the re-branding process now. You all know me as Mandy. Would it bother you if I suddenly started signing off as Amanda? Does that seem unauthentic to you?

~Mandy (Amanda L.?) Webster

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4 responses

  1. I’m also a Mandy and an Amanda. My Dad actually wanted to call me Madeleine and called me Maddy. I think they chose Amanda because they were all Ms, and then I became known as Mandy anyway! I switched to Amanda after graduation, only because there was already a Mandy in the first office I worked in. It stuck and now I can date friendships as pre and post university depending whether they call me one or the other.

    I think people will recognise Mandy and Amanda as being the same person, although those keyword things are a pain. (I worry about all my social media being under writermummy rather than Amanda Martin)

    Why do you want to change? Is Mandy more common? I find that Amanda Martin is a terribly common name – there are loads if I google. I thought about using my maiden name but somehow never did.

    July 28, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    • Mandy seems to have a negative connotation, at least here in the U.S. I’ve seen it listed on top 10 white trash names lists more than once. I think people will be more likely to take me seriously as Amanda than as Mandy, at least in my home country.

      Also, there is a CSI: Crime Scene Investigation character named Mandy Webster who is darn near impossible to knock out of the top of Google search results. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to overtake her. At any rate, Mandy and Amanda Webster are both very common names, so it may be that the only way I’ll ever get first rank on either is if I can manage to write a blockbuster novel.

      July 28, 2013 at 1:57 pm

      • I’m sure if you change to Amanda now it won’t affect your ranking too much, and you might be able to get a domain with the A in and map them bith to the same place.

        July 28, 2013 at 2:04 pm

  2. Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular post!
    It’s the little changes that produce the largest changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!

    August 4, 2013 at 7:03 am

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