Sunday, February 13, 2011

I'm Not Michael J. Sullivan

When I first decided to publish The Crown Conspiracy, back around 2005--which at that time was actually entitled Heirs to the Throne--there arouse the question of what name to put on the book cover. My full name is Michael James Sullivan, and choosing "Michael Sullivan" seemed like a no-brainer. Then I did a Google search and discovered that Michael Sullivan is not a unique name. There's actually more than one. More than two even. In fact, "slew" doesn't quite describe it.

No problem, I thought. I'll add the middle initial--Michael J. Sullivan--and do another search.

There is a Mayor of the city of Lawrence, Mass.

Several US attorneys.

The General President of the Sheet Metal Workers' International Association.

A professional golfer.

A hand surgeon in Brunswick.

A general contractor in Pompano Beach.

And a St. Paul Police Officer who died on June 26, 1914 on duty, fatally injured by accidental electrocution.

The list goes on. I tried using "James" instead of "J" but by then I had a publisher and they balked saying the name was too long for the cover.

At least there were no writers with the same name, I thought...I was wrong. There's an author of stories for boys in Portsmouth, and an author of a stack of math books. Still it could be worse.

Then on March 30th 2010 Michael J. Sullivan published a book called Necessary Heartbreak through Gallery, an imprint of Simon and Schuster. And no I'm not him either.

I’ve received inquires and even fan mail for these other authors, which I respond to by providing links to their intended recipient. The most humorous is when those thinking I am the author of the math books question me. If you knew how awful I am at math, you’d get the joke. And of course, most recently as mentioned in the previous post, Laura Donoghue mistook me for the author of Necessary Heartbreak in her book on successful ebook authors.

It’s at times like these I almost wish I had been named Drinselteen Winterthistle--okay, maybe not.


  1. "These are not the Michael J. Sullivan's you are looking for..."

    I got an email in 2008 from one Lois McKendrick who was shocked to find that her name was a very popular hit on Google and how upset she was to learn that I had appropriated her name for my own purposes.

    Names are fun. :)

    I'm sharing mine with a golfer, a musician, and a baseball player. I may have to adopt the middle initial soon. I'm not sure.

    (Lois McKendrick is the name of a ship in my books, and Michael has painted her for me a few times now, for those who don't follow me.)

  2. Sorry Michael you are going through this. I do try to forward all emails and people interested in contacting you to your website. I've also tried to correct publications that make this mistake. It's been frustrating trying to convince them to make the changes.
    Michael J Sullivan/Necessary Heartbreak: A Novel of Faith and Forgiveness

  3. Lol - hello the other Michael J. Sullivan. If we don't have it already please forward your email to Michael so we can forward anything that comes along. We're still looking for the email for the "math" Michael. My Michael's email is

  4. Thanks. I will make sure to post this also on my website, if you don't mind. Let me know if it's okay. My email is

  5. LOL. I haven't gotten any math questions yet. Thank goodness. Because I am horrible with numbers.

  6. Hey! Wow, my alter ego! I must say your fans are very nice. One who mistook me for you, was so happy that I gave her your website address that she wrote back to say she also bought my book.

    We should get together with the math book author and go somewhere that requires full name tags.

    Thanks for stopping by again Nathan. Funny thing about your Lois. You should send her a coffee mug or t-shirt =)

  7. As a reader, I know when I first started reading the series I googled Michael and was surprised at how many Michaels I got! I went through the different sites trying to find the right Michael. :) It was interesting to see all the different sites though. lol. But I can see how other readers can get confused.

  8. I've given up googeling your name in order to find info. As you evidently are aware, Sullivan+author does not help much. Now I simply search for 'riyria con' - much more effective :P

  9. I have posted on this exact topic in the past. I absolutely feel your pain, as I happen to share the stage name of a prominent GSN game show host. I've even recently received talent agency invoices meant for him, but no fan mail as of yet.

    Still, I decided to go the simple route and not use my middle initial. I never use my middle name for anything; I basically treat it like an appendix as I wasn't "named for anyone special." Nor did I go with the two-initial "authornym," though I used it on Facebook for a while to some humorous results with my international friends.

    Names are funny things. I can't wait to begin the adventure of trying to name my children.

  10. I agree there should be a Michael Sulivans of the world unite meeting.

  11. LOL. I love all the comments Michael. Yes, we should get the math teacher together with us. But I'm a little intimidated by him since my math skills are bleak. I tried to correct on publication but they didn't believe. I even pointed out the differences in our bios.

  12. Correction. LOL. I tried to correct one publication

  13. When I married Michael Swore, I was teased terribly about how I "swore." I kept thinking, Oh, my poor kids.

    But now that I'm a writer, I think it's cool that when you google me, Wendy Swore, I'm the only one there...except for characters named Wendy who swore about something. Haha!

    Good luck finding your math guy Michael!

  14. Wendy, I'm jealous. :) Wishing you much success.

  15. I noticed the other MJS somewhat recently, and was mildly confused for a minute! LOL At least you're authors. There's a local woman with my name who isn't someone I appreciate being confused with ... and she used to give out MY phone number for things!

    Anyway, this was fun to read. Especially with the comments!

    Nice to meet you, other MJS! ;-)


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