Can two authors have the same name? 3 Answers as of October 15, 2015

My name is the same as a best selling author. I want to sell books under my name, but I don't know if the other author can sue me for writing books under my real name. I'm thinking of publishing with my middle name. Jane B Doe instead of just Jane Doe so readers won't be confused. Could I be sued for publishing under my real name?

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Law Office of Kirk Buhler
Law Office of Kirk Buhler | Kirk A Buhler
It is your real name. Two authors can and do have the same name. You might want to use your middle initial so your readers can find you and it will reduce the likelihood of confusion.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/15/2015
Sebby Law Office
Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
You can't be sued for using your own name. However, you could be liable if somehow you give readers the impression that your books were actually written by the other author with the same name. If you're each writing in a different literary genre, there shouldn't be a problem. However, if you're both writing romance novels, for example, the likelihood of readers getting the two of you confused grows significantly. If you don't want to write under a "nom de plume", consider using your first two initials and your last name. Or shorten or lengthen your last name. Several very famous authors use different names when they write in a new/different genre or try a new writing style or start a new series that they're not sure their current readers will like.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 10/15/2015
Banner & Witcoff, Ltd. | Ernie Linek
Yes - two authors can have the same name. But your solution is a very good idea - include your middle initial or middle name - so you stand out from the other author. Who knows - maybe your book will be a hit - and your full name will then be famous! GOOD LUCK.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 10/15/2015
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