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Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Advice wanted!

OK .. so here is the dilemma:

I am from three worlds. I guess that makes me into an alien or something, but this is what I mean...

As D.J. de Mattos, I am Managing Director of a Civil and Structural Engineering consultancy. As such I am a professional, a problem solver, a businessman. I am an employer and my aim is to be successful in order to provide stable employment, therefore I must win and keep the respect and trust of my clients

As Dom de Mattos I am a Reader in the Church of England (that is effectively a lay minister). I preach about once a month and often take part in leading the services. My focus is on people, on their needs and concerns. My aim is to understand, and help others to make sense of, the human world that we can see around us in the light of one we cannot see.

You are getting to know me as Dominic de Mattos, blogger and occasional tweeter. I also have a facebook presence (although not visited for quite some months). I also have a presence on a couple of forums (fora?), so I guess I can say that I am not a complete stranger to social media.

So far so good, but now I am developing as a writer with very serious ambitions of becoming published, I need to think carefully about my identity. My daughter told me that she had googled her name "to see what it's up to these days" - which made me laugh. I tried it myself, of course, and realised that my multiple identities are spread over a couple of pages of google, to be viewed by everyone, from clients, to parishioners, to potential readers.

So after all that ramble, the question - should I create a new name and social media presence as a writer? That way I can control what my clients are able to read about my creative side, whilst also controlling what readers can find out about me and my other lives. Part of me thinks it is a good idea, but my heart baulks. My name is an essential part of who I am, as is the writer within. To separate the two seems an alien concept. In fifty years time, if I am remembered at all, it is my writing that I would wish to be my legacy. My work in the church is not about me, or making my mark, my legacy there is the joy and peace that I see in the lives of others. My company is not about me, it is about each and every employee on whose hard work the company's success has been built.

Do I separate myself, or do I say I am who I am and all the parts of my life are what feeds my writing?
... or am I over-blowing my ego, because no-one is going to care one way or the other?

What do you think?


  1. I dont see any problem with being known as the 3 of u, that said i have heard clients can ask the weirdest questions when the hear you write.
    you could use your middle name or a variation of your last name if you still want to feel connected to your pen name.
    I just chose a pen name cos it was fun, even my artwork when I was 8 was signed with a pen name.

  2. Be yourself.
    I debated about using a nom de blog but, if I have readers, I want to be able to tell a publisher that "An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel" has readers.
    Any writing I have done for publication (spread over the past 50 years) has been done under my own name, except for a few things in my high school newspaper. I was the editor and chief reporter, so I by-lined some things "By Dizzy Davies" but of course everyone knew whodunnit, really.
    -- K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  3. I would not even consider you having three hats - your role is essentially empowering the people in all the three things you do, in my opinion. I wouldn't let that be a dilemma.

    A nom de plume isn't even necessary in your case - Dominic de Mattos is not a common or boring name. Stick to it!

  4. Hi Dom - Only three identities? I bet there are more. Off the top of my head I would add son and father. If you have siblings, you are a brother. Hobbies? Toss that in as well. Being multifaceted is what makes us interesting. :)

    Identities of famous authors: Stephen King worked in a doughnut shop. Tess Gerritsen was a physician. Lisa Scottoline was an attorney. Ernest Hemmingway drove an ambulance for the American Red Cross. You can see where I'm going with this. One day someone will be writing an article about the famous author, Dominic de Mattos, and your three identities will be mentioned, each of which play a role in who you are which, in turn, affects your writing. Be proud!

    If you suddenly decide to hit the porn circuit, well...okay, an alias might be a good idea. LOL

  5. I'm laughing at that last line of Lisa's comment. I agree with everyone that "Dominic de Mattos" is meant to be known as a writer with a full, rich, layered life. I think your readers want to know a bit about what makes you tick outside the writing world. The author becomes more concrete and accessible.

  6. Lovely to find out about all those identities. I would say that yes ou could change your ID for your writing if you wanted to keep them separate, but wouldn't that mean transfering to a new blog? BTW You can set up google alerts to tell you when someone searches for your name :O)

  7. LISA!! You made me spit tea!

    You are right of course. One day people will say "Dominic de Mattos? Isn't he the father of that amazing photographer Jessica de Mattos?" or as the credits roll after a blockbuster and they see Emma de Mattos Art Design, they will say, "wasn't her father a writer?"

    Joanna, good suggestion - I will have to think on it! Of course having a talking point with clients might not be a bad thing!

    Kay, you are right - followers are very important, to us as writers and to publishers as well.

    Grandpa, funnily enough my concern was quite the opposite. My name is so unusual that there could be no question that the person sitting in a meeting is the same as the person on the library shelf (maybe ... one day!).

    Kelly, thank you. My heart agrees with you!

    Madeleine - thanks for the advice - I'll go google it!

    Thank you for your advice everyone, I appreciate your comments.

  8. Hmm as another aspiring writer with a book looking for a publisher and a fairly distinctive name I have oft wondered whether my name would put people off as well as immediately identifying me as the author to anyone who knows me (and like you I have several personas). However, I rather like having a reasonably unforgettable name so have decided to stick with it.
    Good luck!

  9. So you want to strip back a few layers and be a naked onion? That would put the parishioners off.
    You are a complex person with a range of interests. Multiple personalities are might need to be contained, for everything else... let it spill.

  10. Thank you Gillian - love the look of your Mill by the way. I might be in touch!

    Elaine, I don't like the sound of being naked! (or an onion for that matter!) I am feeling reassured that I have no need to compartmentalise my life.

  11. This is such a personal sensitive topic that everyone has strong feelings about it.

    My advice is to go with your gut. If your instinct is telling you that you want to publish under a different name then do that. If you instinct is telling you, no, that you want to use your real name because that's how you want your reader to know you, then do that. It all depends on that.

    I published my first book under my father's name. My reasons were many but the main one was that it didn't seem appropriate to publish that book under my name, as if I owned it. I felt that this story belonged to the world, that it wasn't just mine alone and that's why I used my father's name instead. Even then, I just used his initials, J. A. Joshi. Then the publishing world came to know me as Jai and I've been Jai Joshi ever since. I guess I'll publish my next book as Jai Joshi although I've been thinking of publishing under my real name from now on. It depends on what feels right.

    Do what you think is right, Dominic. No one can tell you what's best.



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